CFC Norcal

Frequently Asked Questions

faqsThe mission of the NorCal CFC is to promote and support philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.

For CFC Regulatory Guidelines and Memos, visit the OPM/CFC website.


What is the CFC?

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the only authorized solicitation of Federal employees in their workplaces on behalf of approved charitable organizations.

The NorCal CFC starts October 1st and Ends December 15th.

The CFC began in the early 1960’s to coordinate the fundraising efforts of various charitable organizations so that the Federal donor would only be solicited once in the workplace and have the opportunity to make charitable contributions through payroll deduction.

Federal employees continue to make the CFC the largest and most successful workplace philanthropic fundraiser in the world. Continuing a long-standing tradition of selfless giving, in 2014, NorCal CFC Federal employees raised over $3.1 million dollars for charitable causes around the world.

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Who Sets the Standard of Public Accountability?

OPM is accountable for assuring Federal employees that their designations are honored and distributed to the charitable organizations of their choice. OPM achieves this in several ways.

OPM maintains strict eligibility and public accountability criteria that all participating CFC charities must meet. For details, see CFC Regulations in 5 CFR Part 950 at

OPM annually makes admission decisions for all national and international charity applicants and it resolves local charity admission appeals. OPM sets strict requirements and provides on-going guidance for the activities and conduct of the LFCC and the PCFO. The fiscal integrity of the campaign is verified by OPM compliance audits and the annual review of local campaign audits that PCFOs are required to have completed by an independent CPA.
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What is the Structure of the CFC

The CFC is made up of local campaigns that organize the annual fund raising effort in Federal workplaces in the United States and abroad.

Each local campaign is managed by a Local Federal Coordinating Committee (LFCC), which serves as a “Board of Directors” for the local campaign. The LFCC is comprised of Federal employees and representatives of labor unions with Federal employees as members. The LFCC is responsible for the oversight of the local CFC. In conformance with CFC regulations and policies, the LFCC makes admission determinations for local charities and selects a Principal Combined Fund Organization (PCFO) to administer the day-to-day operations of the campaign and to serve as its fiscal agent.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulates the CFC and provides guidance and oversight to the local campaigns (LFCCs and PCFOs).
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What is the CFC Charity List? (formerly Donor's Brochure)

The Charity List is a paper or web-based display of national, international, and local organizations that have met CFC eligibility requirements. A sample charity listing is shown below with key elements shown in italics. Key elements include: the organization’s new five-digit CFC code, the legal name in parentheses shown if it is “doing business as” under another name, the employer identification number (EIN), a 25-word statement of purpose (except in abbreviated listings), its administrative and fundraising expense rate (AFR), and its Service Categories (Taxonomy Codes).

Sample Charity Listing

11405 ABC Charity (Alpha-Charity) (800) 555-5555 EIN#12-3456789 ABC Charity attacks the causes of hunger and poverty by promoting effective and innovative community-based solutions that create self-reliance, economic justice, and food security. 15.8% P,S,K
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How Do I Make An Informed Giving Decision?

The EIN, AFR, and the Service Categories are included to help donors identify organizations that meet their interests and performance standards.

The EIN is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It can be used for obtaining additional information about an organization from the IRS (877-829-5500). Please Note: Some organizations may be covered under an umbrella organization’s tax exemption status and EIN or may not be required to have an EIN.

The AFR represents the percentage of dollars spent on administering the charity. It is calculated as a percentage of the organization’s total support and revenue. OPM, as well as the philanthropic community at large, remains concerned about excessive AFR levels. The philanthropic community generally considers an AFR in excess of 35 percent to be problematic. Potential CFC donors should carefully review the circumstances applicable to the potential charities of their choice to be certain they fully understand and accept the AFR situations for such charities before donating to them. Each situation is unique. Donors may contact the charity directly and/or industry oversight organizations in order to better to understand the financial status, service delivery record, and governance policies of the charity before donating. A listing of oversight organizations is available at

The Service Categories (Taxonomy Codes) categorize the types of services that most charitable organizations offer. Charities self-select up to three alpha-codes (shown below) for inclusion in the CFC charity list. Charities that did not select at least one category are assigned “Z” for the “Other” category.

The 26 service categories are derived from the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) classification system. This system, developed by the National Center for Charitable Statistics, is widely used in the non-profit community.


What Are Service Categories? (Taxonomy)

A -- Arts, Culture, and Humanities

B -- Educational Institutions & Related Activities

C -- Envir. Quality, Protection & Beautification

D -- Animal Related

E -- Health – General and Rehabilitative

F -- Mental Health, Crisis Intervention

G -- Disease, Disorders, Medicinal Disciplines

H -- Medical Research

I -- Crime, Legal Related

J -- Employment, Job Related

K -- Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition

L -- Housing, Shelter

M -- Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness & Relief

N -- Recreation, Sports, Leisure, Athletics

O -- Youth Development

P -- Human Services – Multipurpose and Other

Q -- International, Foreign Affairs, National Security

R -- Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy

S -- Community Improvement, Capacity Building

T -- Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Foundations

U -- Science & Technology Research Institutes, Services

V -- Social Science Research Institutes, Services

W -- Public, Social Benefit: Multipurpose, Other

X -- Religion Related, Spiritual Development

Y -- Mutual/Membership Benefit Orgs., Other

Z -- Other

For additional guidance on selecting charities, visit the CFC

website at
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What are Affiliated, Independent Organizations and Federations?

Affiliated organizations receive services from a Federation that supplies common fundraising, administrative, and management services to its member organizations. Charitable organizations participating in the CFC as a member of a federation may pay dues or fees to that federation as a service charge. Independent organizations are not members of a federation and participate in the CFC on their own.

For additional information on a particular federation and any dues/fees paid by its members, either contact the federation, its members, or review the federation’s annual report.
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How Do I Designate Organizations to Receive My Contribution?

If you wish to designate all or some portion of your contribution to a federation, please record that federation’s corresponding code number on your pledge form. The federation name will be listed at the top of the list of the federation’s member organizations. Contributions designated to a federation will be shared in accordance with the federation’s policy. If you wish to designate all or some portion of your contribution to an affiliated federation member organization, please record that organization’s corresponding code number on your pledge form.

How Do I Designate An Independent Organization To Receive My Contribution?

You may wish to designate to an independent organization that is not affiliated with a Federation. Simply enter that organization’s five-digit code number on your pledge form.

What If I Choose Not To Specify An Organization Or Federation To Receive My CFC Contribution?

All funds contributed to the CFC that are not designated to a specific organization or federation will be treated as undesignated funds and distributed to all organizations listed in the CFC Charity List in the same proportion as they received designations. Organizations that do not receive designated dollars cannot receive any portion of the undesignated distribution.

What Is The International General Designation Option?

If you wish to have your contribution distributed proportionately among all international organizations that received designated gifts, you may do so by entering five number ones: 11111 on your pledge form.
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Will I receive a receipt for my contribution?

Donors should keep a copy of their pledge form, as well as their pay statements, as a receipt of their pledge. A Federal employee who makes a one-time (cash, check, or money order) contribution must maintain a bank record or a written communication from the local campaign showing the name of the organizations contributed to, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution. Every effort will be made by the local campaign to provide a receipt to donors, but it is the responsibility of the donor to request such a receipt from the local campaign. Donors that do not receive a receipt should contact the local campaign to obtain one. Local campaigns can be found using the Campaign Locater search feature on the CFC website at Donors should consult a tax adviser to determine if additional verification of the donation is required by the IRS.
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What is the cost of the campaign?

Historically, campaign costs nation-wide have averaged ten percent. These funds were spent on printing materials, training volunteers, auditing contributions, and other administrative expenses. All local campaign costs are reviewed and approved by the LFCC governing the local campaign. On average, this cost is low compared with other fundraising campaigns; therefore, every dollar you pledge goes a very long way toward helping others.

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