Capital area charity drive falls slightly short of goal

Tallies are not final, but the fundraiser brought in about 95 percent of its target.

The Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area announced Tuesday that it had raised $64.3 million for 2011, missing its target by nearly $3 million despite extending the deadline for donations.

The campaign did reach 95 percent of its goal, according to a spokeswoman, who added the tally will not be final until audited numbers are available in April.

With more than 350,000 federal workers represented, the capital area drive is the largest chapter of the nationwide Combined Federal Campaign. Regional officials made an effort during this round of fundraising to boost participation by creating a Young Donor Advisory Council. For the second year running, they also stressed online donations, and continued the E-Giving Award for agencies that increased their paperless pledges by at least 10 percent.

The Energy Department garnered an award for obtaining more than 70 percent of its donations online. Other agencies, including the CIA, were lauded for their communications programs. CIA Director David Petraeus took on the role of chairman and motivated the agency to achieve 112 percent of its fundraising goal. The U.S. Coast Guard, which far exceeded its goals by raising 140 percent of its target, was recognized for leadership involvement.

The nationwide CFC celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. While the national total for 2011 has not been officially tallied, the fundraiser brought in about $280 million in 2010, and the sum raised since the charity drive’s founding is nearing $7 billion.

CFC representatives met last week in San Antonio for their annual meeting, where the focus was on improving the campaign.

“We're not just here to learn the hows, the whats and the whens,” Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry said. “We're not just here to take pride in the money raised and the job well done. For all the same reasons that the work we do matters, the way we do it matters too. Your business practices are important. OPM's regulations govern the conduct of the campaign, and are designed to safeguard its integrity and ensure that the moneys entrusted to our care by generous federal employees are well-spent.”

The San Antonio meeting marked the final session of the CFC at 50 advisory committee, formed to recommend ways to enhance the fundraiser.

During a December 2011 meeting, panel members determined the campaign should develop a unified Web presence to cut costs and to better coordinate regional drives. Other suggestions included targeting federal and military retirees and establishing stricter requirements for participating charities. Although 25,000 local and national organizations are represented, 80 percent of donations go to 20 percent of the charities.

The commission will submit final recommendations to Berry by March 31.

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