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Many CFCs optimistic despite financial hardships

Oct. 6, 2013 - 03:28PM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments

Local Combined Federal Campaign officials are optimistic that despite continuing pay freezes and possible furloughs they will be able to hit their targets for the 2013 season.

Scott Organ, chair of the CFC for the Gateway region, which covers dozens of counties around St. Louis, said his campaign has upped its goal from $2.9 million in 2012 to $3 million this year.

“The issues of pay raises, furloughs and the budget sequester haven’t affected people’s attitudes about giving as much as one might think,” Organ said. “Folks who want to give because it’s important to them will still give,” he added.

He said the campaign already has seen a great turnout of volunteers for training and information, and expects to meet a goal of informing all employees in the CFC area of their giving options.

New tools to encourage giving will help the CFC raise money and make it easier for feds to donate, he said, such as a feature that allows Defense Department employees and others to donate with the same Web page employees use to track their benefits.

The MyPay tool is being rolled out to more than 90 CFC campaigns and will be added to more CFCs as time goes on, according to the Defense Department.

Anthony DeCristofaro, assistant director of the DoD Voluntary Campaign Management Office, said in a press release that donors only have to input their information once and the whole process will take about 10 minutes, he said.

Employees at the Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs and Energy departments, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, will also have access to the MyPay system, he said.

DeCristofaro said the new giving method is strictly voluntary and anyone who still wants to make a one-time gift or use a paper CFC pledge form still can do so.

Eriabee Chiles, the CFC director for the Chicago CFC, said that while people may give a little less individually, employees will still donate to the campaign.

The CFC will also push online giving as a way to expand the number of donors and reach more employees.

In 2012, Chicago-area feds raised about $3.1 million. Their goal for 2013 is $3.5 million.

“It is early in the season, but I do not foresee sequestration affecting our plans for a successful CFC season,” Chiles said.

Chiles said that with the addition of MyPay, all the agencies in the local campaign have access to some form of online giving, making it easier than ever to donate.

Susy Himelhoch, the executive director of the Miami Valley CFC, which serves the Dayton, Ohio, region, said that while her campaign has no monetary goal, it hopes to grow the number of feds using electronic giving methods.

She said she does not expect the budget situation to hurt their CFC season. Employees who don’t donate still gain by learning about charities in their area, she said.

“CFC isn’t just about giving the money, it’s about raising awareness so that people know the programs and services in the community,” she said.

Diane Wyatt, the chair of the South Central Kansas CFC, said that while the Postal Service has suffered from downsizing and federal employees have not received pay raises in years, the campaign uses that as a way to show charitable giving is still important.

“We use it to point out that people need help now more than ever,” she said.

She said the CFC is “cautiously optimistic” that it can make up for smaller donations by encouraging greater participation.

“We are just trying to be encouraging and asking people, if they can’t give much, [then] just give a little bit,” she said.

Terry Butler, the chair of the Tennessee Valley CFC, said his campaign has maintained a positive outlook. His campaign’s goal of $2 million for this year takes into account sequestration, furloughs and a shutdown’s effects on employees and their charitable giving.

“Federal employees, military and civilian alike, understand what it means to help others in and outside our community ... be it monetarily or with their sweat equity,” Butler said.

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