The Combined Federal Campaign began its 2016 giving season with a simple message: "Show Some Love."
The 2016 charity campaign's slogan may be new, but its feeling is earnest.
After hitting a decade peak of $282.6 million in donations in 2009, the federal government's annual charity drive has slipped each of the past seasons, with some estimates placing last year's giving at $177 million.
So when Local Federal Coordination Committee chairman Vince Micone spoke at the National Capital Area kickoff on Sept. 1, it was to remind them of the impact federal employees can provide for some 18,000 charities in the CFC program.
"As federal employees, all of us have a commitment to public service," he said. "We have a commitment to promoting the general welfare of the communities that we live in. We not only endeavor to do this in our professional lives, but our personal lives as well."
Micone joked with the crowd that CFC’s season coincided particularly well with President Obama’s Aug. 31 announcement of a 1.6 percent raise for federal employees before announcing the National Capital Region’s giving goal of $47 million, $1 million above its 2015 donation mark.
To aid in next year’s campaign, CFC has partnered with GiveBack.org, 501(c)(3) donor-advised fund run by Stephen Paletta, to manage its online platform in a way that centralizes CFC giving through individual donations.
"[Paletta’s] whole goal, his whole passion is to revolutionize how we pivot towards individual donors," said Keith Willingham, the Office of Personnel Management ‘s director of CFC.
"There are a lot of folks that are really focused on large donors, corporate donors, folks who have all of the money to try and make a difference. That’s important, but what’s really inspiring about a workplace giving program like this is that you empower individual donors to make a difference in their community, and Stephen Paletta has committed his resources and his life to doing that."
Paletta, who began his foundation after winning Oprah Winfrey’s contest show, The Big Give, said GiveBack.org is structured in a way to make it easier for individual donors — whom he calls "everyday philanthropists" — to contribute to workplace charity campaigns like CFC.
"We’ve been working now with Keith’s team to develop a whole new platform that will be a universal platform for CFC employees where each and every employee is a philanthropist," he said.
Paletta said the new platform will offer federal employees individual accounts to manage their donations and gives charities the chance sign up through a charity application portal, providing direct access to the federal government’s 4.2 million employees.
The hope is that with the GiveBack.org platform, employees will find it easier to make their donations during the campaign.
"This is all about people getting connected to a cause that they care about," Paletta said.
CFC officials said that they will also coordinate social media days on Sept. 21, Oct. 11 and Nov. 1 and 21 to remind employees to "Show Some Love" and spread awareness of the campaign.
The CFC campaign begins this month and runs through December.