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'Universal Giving Program' opens CFC contribution options

In an effort to bring new and younger donors into the fold, regional Combined Federal Charity campaigns are reaching out on social media and making new contribution options available that take into account the broader global world in which we live.

Along with traditional payroll deductions, CFCs nationwide are adopting a Universal Giving Program that opens up donations to 24,000 charities across the country, not just organizations in the local regions.

"Previously, employees could give only to national charities or to charities in their CFC region," National Director Keith Willingham said. "Universal giving allows federal employees to give to charitable organizations in their local community, as well as to charities in other parts of the country."

In California, this Universal Giving Program has been of particular interest to active military.

"This option is especially beneficial for our military personnel who are usually far from their home and would like to support charities that they know and love 'back home,' " said Central California Executive Director Susan Ground.

In the capital region, Executive Director Lou Nistler's campaign is reaching out to younger federal employees who are more likely to use technology and give of their time rather than their money.

"Younger and newer federal employees represent the future of the campaign and it is essential that we make them part of the CFC family," Nistler said. Along with social-media marketing, "We are also creating an innovative volunteer bulletin board that will provide federal workers with special volunteer opportunities. Research tells us that younger donors often give their time before they give financial contributions, so we think this volunteer bulletin board will serve as a great introduction to the campaign for millennials."

"We are going to emphasize the small changes that can make a big difference in someone's life," said Lisa Makosewski, executive director of the Eastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey CFC. "Giving up one latte a week from the local coffee shop and donating the cost to the CFC instead will provide meals for 10 people for a day for every skipped latte. It doesn't create a hardship for the donor and can mean everything to the recipient."

In central California, Regional CFC Chairman James Fish and crew are encouraging federal employees to "Make it possible ... be the one," this year's slogan.

"We are encouraging our employees to 'be the one' to continue the tradition of generosity in the federal workplace," he said. "Even the smallest donation through payroll deductions will help charities throughout the year. With one simple pledge form, a federal employee can give to multiple charities and 'make it possible.' "

The theme for the National Capital Area CFC — the nation's largest regional group — is similar: "I make it possible."

"It hammers home the very real truth that federal employees make so much possible through their Combined Federal Campaign contributions," Nistler said. "Our posters, campaign cards, training materials and videos feature federal works from the D.C. metro area and what each of them makes possible through the CFC."

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