U.S. Naval Academy mascot Bill the Goat spins a prize wheel at an anti-hunger charity booth during the Department of the Navy Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) kickoff ceremony at the Pentagon. CFC gives federal workers the opportunity to donate to any of more than 4,000 pre-screened charities. This year's CFC season runs through Dec. 15. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brett Cote/Released) (MC1 Brett Cote / Navy)
Combined Federal Campaign donations plunged 19 percent about $49 million from fiscal 2012 to 2013, according to numbers reported to the Office of Personnel Management by local campaigns.
The donation totals were compiled by the Workplace Giving Alliance, a collaboration of national and local federations and show federal employees and service members donated about $209 million in 2013 down from $258.3 million in 2012.
That would be the lowest level in 15 years, when the CFC raised $206.4 million in 1998.
Marshall Strauss, CEO workplace giving alliance, said a combination of sequestration, pay freezes and the partial government shutdown put a financial strain on federal workers and pushed down charitable giving.
I think we are experience a perfect storm of difficulties experienced by the federal workforce, Strauss said. Its a great surprise that so many federal employees still pledged.
He added he does not know whether the campaign will remain at this level in future years or will bounce back to previous totals.
Some of the areas that saw drops in donations include:
■The Central Ohio and West Virginia CFC, which saw pledges drop 60 percent from $1,469,693 in 2012 to $582,938 in 2013.
■The Texas Gulf Coast CFC, which saw pledges drop almost 19 percent from $2,759,872 in 2012 to $2,230,875 in 2013.
■The National Capital Area, where donations fell from $61 million in 2012 to $51 million in 2013.
The total donations may change slightly as local campaigns double check contribution numbers.
The drop in pledges comes as OPM is working on final regulations that would drastically overhaul the CFC, including adding application and listing fees for charities, centralizing campaign activities and phasing out paper pledges, according to a draft obtained by Federal Times earlier this year.
The recommended changes came after the publication in 2012 of the CFC-50 Commission report, an OPM advisory panel assembled to examine the campaign's operations a half century after its creation. They will take effect for the 2015 season, the draft says.