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Processing Special Solicitations for Victims of the Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster

CFC Memorandum 2005-1

January 6, 2005


As you are aware, the recent earthquake and resulting tsunami in South Asia had devastating effects in many countries in that area. On December 30, 2004, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kay Coles James issued a Memorandum to heads of executive departments and agencies authorizing a government-wide special solicitation to assist in the relief effort (see attached). This special solicitation will allow Federal employees to assist the ongoing relief efforts in South Asia with a one-time cash or check donation, outside the normal CFC procedures.

Local campaigns that were not approved for extensions cannot re-open the CFC solicitations. This is because donations to organizations made through the CFC process cannot be earmarked for South Asian tsunami relief. They will be distributed to the organization for use at its discretion. Therefore, it is not possible to provide donors assurance that contributions will be used for disaster relief.

Although a special solicitation is outside the CFC process, the CFC infrastructure can provide invaluable support in this solicitation process. There are two basic options available for Federal employees for managing these special solicitations:

A. The Local Federal Coordinating Committees (LFCC) can collaborate with their Principal Combined Fund Organization (PCFO) and offer assistance to Federal agencies in their area in the implementation of these special solicitations. PCFOs can help by receiving the funds from the local agencies, tracking the receipts by agency, and distributing them promptly to the selected charities. LFCCs can assist by coordinating contacts between Federal agencies and the PCFO and assisting with the tracking of each special solicitation. In addition, LFCCs should provide a minimal level of oversight of the contributions by obtaining an understanding of how the PCFO will receive, process, and disburse funds from Federal agencies and ensure that funds are disbursed in a timely manner.

Methods for Federal agencies include:

  1. Designating employees, similar to keyworkers in the CFC, to collect donations from fellow employees;
  2. Using Federal agency union representatives to perform donation collection services;
  3. Arranging for the designated disaster relief recipient charity to perform donation collection; and
  4. Arranging for the CFC Principal Combined Fund Organization (the charitable organization that administers the CFC locally) to assist in collecting and processing donations. However, this option may incur a minimal cost for the PCFO's services.

Please note that the CFC of the National Capital Area has designed a suggested process (reviewed by OPM) for implementing special solicitations which we are including for your reference, along with the Memorandum they issued to LEs locally.

B. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) works regularly with international relief organizations. USAID, which has authority to accept gifts for organizations involved in disaster relief, has agreed to accept single, consolidated payments from executive departments and agencies. Departments and agencies may collect funds from their employees and arrange for consolidated electronic payments to USAID via standard Inter-Agency Payment and Collection (IPAC) processes to Agency Location Code (ALC): 72-00-0001. Funds received by USAID will be apportioned as available gifts and provided to one or more reputable relief organizations. USAID will determine which relief organization will receive these funds and the amount to be allocated to each organization. Employees who make contributions through this method will not be able to designate their contribution for any particular organization. Federal agency representatives interested in this option who may have questions concerning the transfer of funds may contact: Mr. David Ostermeyer, Deputy Chief Financial Officer at 202-712-0988 or email

Because of the magnitude of this catastrophe and the importance of working together towards the relief efforts we also request that PCFOs help OPM track the total amount of funds raised in the Federal workplace your respective areas. To facilitate this reporting, we are adding a line on the 2004 OPM Form 1417 for entry of the total proceeds collected from the special solicitations.

In addition, we are providing sample forms for recording and tracking contributions. The attached special solicitation gift form is for use by donors. The special solicitation tracking forms are for tracking receipts and for reporting back to OPM. Please send electronically to OPM only the summary report on the totals collected when all activity has been completed.

We understand that this special solicitation is during a time when most campaigns have concluded. We also believe that this represents a very special opportunity for the CFC network of volunteers and nonprofit partners to make available its resources to help those affected by this global emergency. As always, we deeply appreciate your consideration and support.

For more details regarding special solicitations, please see the attached Frequently Asked Questions or contact our office at 202-606-2564 or at

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