Federal charity drive launching 50th year

OPM aims to increases the amount of money raised and the number of feds who donate through the Combined Federal Campaign.

The Combined Federal Campaign is turning 50 this year and, despite a weak economy and federal pay freezes, will use technology and other incentives to increase charitable donations.

John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management, sent a memorandum to all department heads encouraging them to get federal employees involved.

CFC, created in 1961 by President Kennedy, is now the world's largest workplace giving campaign.

"It has been 50 years since he asked us to consider not what our country can do for us, but what we can do for our country," Berry said, citing Kennedy's famous inaugural address. "This year, I ask you, and every federal worker, to consider why we give."

In 2010, some 350,000 Washington-area employees donated a record $67 million to more than 4,000 charities.

Earlier this year, the CFC National Capital Area introduced an E-Giving Award for agencies that increased their paperless pledges by at least 10 percent. More than 30 agencies received the award at the end-of-campaign celebration in February.

Berry further encouraged online giving. He also touted CFC's automated system that works with payroll office systems to make electronic submissions easier and more secure.

OPM wants not only to increase the dollar amount contributed, but also the number of federal employees who participate in the program, Berry said, announcing a new award, which will go to the local campaigns that show the greatest increase in participation.

The Washington-area CFC chapter will hold its annual leadership conference Sept. 7 to kick off the new campaign season.

"We give because we go beyond the call of duty to serve and protect the American people," Berry said in the memorandum. "I don't have to tell you that the need is deep this year -- the news reflects it every day."

Clarification: Federal employees in 2010 donated a record $67 million to charities, according to Ann Canela, of CFC. The donations kept coming after the record figure of $66.7 was sent to OPM, she said.