Expectations are not high for this year’s Combined Federal Campaign, given problems with the economy and the federal budget woes that have affected some government employees.
That includes six days of unpaid furlough this summer for most Defense Department workers.
And officials are not optimistic about donations for military charities in the CFC, which have been on the decline.
The Defense Department goal in the National Capital Region CFC has been reduced by about 18 percent from the amount raised last year, $15.2 million. This year the goal is $12.5 million, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said at a CFC kickoff event at the Pentagon on Sept. 5. Different campaigns start at different times over the course of the fall.
The average gift last year was more than $515, Carter said. This year’s lower goal, he said, reflects “the financial challenges that you have all had to face and the uncertainty of the months ahead.” Although officials hope to exceed the goal, they are being realistic, he said.
The overall CFC in 2012 saw a decrease in donations of about 5.2 percent compared to the previous year.
Worldwide, donations in 2012 for the Military Family and Veterans Service Organizations of America, a military-related charity federation in the CFC, were down by about $2.3 million, or 16.6 percent from the previous year, said Mike May of Maguire/Maguire Inc., a firm that provides support services for independent charitable federations.
Charities providing services to deployed troops have seen a “very substantial decrease” in donations over the last two to three years, May said.
May said he is “not optimistic” about the levels of donations to military charities this year.
The other military-related charities federation, Military Support Groups of America, received $1.5 million in pledges last year, the first year of its existence. MSGA now has 51 charities; the MFSOA federation has 72 charities.
This year, DoD employees in 90 of the 160 local CFC areas will be able to pledge online through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service’s myPay website, according to DoD. Officials said the online option is more confidential and secure because no paper changes hands, and it’s less prone to error. It’s also available at any time, from any computer.
Federal civilian employees in a number of agencies have been able to donate online through the Employee Express payroll system for several years. Generally, employees who choose the online option contribute more, said Patrick Maguire of Maguire/Maguire Inc..
“So, if myPay has the same experience as Employee Express, that can only be good [for] all the CFC participating charities, including but not limited to the military charities,” he said.