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Training and Marketing to Introduce the New Five-Digit Charity Codes in the 2007 CFC Campaign and Related Administrative Issues


April 26, 2007


The Fall 2007 campaign marks the introduction of the new five-digit coding system to the Combined Federal Campaign. Critical to achieving an efficient and minimally disruptive change-over to the new system is the training that Principal Combined Fund Organizations (PCFOs) will provide to the campaign front-line: the Federal Agency/Department key-workers, loaned executives and coordinators. PCFOs must make certain that these individuals are provided adequate training and resources to inform donors of the new five-digit coding system. To ensure the successful implementation of the new five-digit coding system, the Office of CFC Operations (OCFCO) is issuing the following guidance to assist local campaigns in the development of their training programs and marketing materials.


Donors should be informed of the change at every appropriate opportunity. When donors receive the charity list and pledge form from campaign key-workers, donors must be informed that CFC codes have been changed from a four-digit to a new five-digit code. Donors should be directed not to rely on prior-year pledge forms or lists but to consult the new charity list for the appropriate charity code. Donors should also be advised they must use the new five-digit code in order to ensure their pledge is given to the charity they have designated. PCFO training materials that cover these and other points of information on the reasons for the recoding and how the recoding works are provided below.

Pledge Form Reviews

It is imperative training programs emphasize the importance of pledge form reviews. Campaign staff is the first and main line of defense against invalid charity codes that could impede the processing of donor pledges. It is important for all persons handling pledge cards to review each pledge card as soon as it is received for incorrect or invalid codes and to contact the donor as soon as possible if incorrect or invalid codes are identified.

Incorrect or invalid codes include:
- codes that are not exactly five digits,
- codes that are alpha-numeric, and
- codes that begin with the number zero.

The second line of defense is the pledge processing software used by each campaign. Most software programs provide system edits as a standard feature that identify and notify users of invalid or incorrect entries (codes). Each campaign should check with their software vendor or in-house information technology staff to ensure that such system edits are available and incorporated to eliminate processing of invalid codes.

Benefits of Recoding

The assignment of unique CFC codes to each charity and the storage of that charity data in the CFC National Charity Registy will enable OPM to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the CFC through the use of electronic giving technologies that can enable:

  1. out of area giving in the event of emergencies or disasters;
  2. automation of the campaign;
  3. donors to make designations to the charities of their choosing, even those that are located outside their duty-station; and
  4. enhanced regulatory oversight of campaign and charity activity.

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Reasons for Recoding

The codes available in the prior four-digit local assignment system have been depleted and used repetitively for several years. The decision to use five-digit randomly assigned numeric codes:

  1. provides a vastly larger supply of codes, with provisions for expansion when needed;
  2. eliminates the need for OPM to reclaim codes from local campaigns to make them available for federation series assignment;
  3. eliminates the simultaneous use of duplicate codes by different local campaigns;
  4. minimizes donor and data-entry error because the new code is neither large (it consists of only five digits) nor complicated (it avoids incorporating letters) and it will not be cumbersome to donors or pledge processors, and
  5. treats all charities equally.

General Recoding Process Facts

The following statements are facts that every campaign worker should know.

  1. Every charity will have only one five-digit, numeric CFC code.
  2. The new five-digit code is assigned to the charity for the life of that charity. Another code will not be assigned to the charity nor will that code be assigned to a different charity.
  3. A five-digit code assignment does not mean that the charity is eligible to participate in the campaign. Charities must be reviewed annually by their campaigns for eligibility.
  4. The Undesignated category code is assigned five nines: 99999
  5. The International Quad I code is assigned five number ones: 11111
  6. Incorrect CFC charity codes are those that are a) not exactly five digits in length, b) contain a letter or other symbol, or c) begin with the number zero.
  7. Designations made with incorrect CFC codes which cannot be resolved or corrected cannot be honored and will become undesignated contributions according to 5 CFR § 950.402(c) and 5 CFR § 950.501.

Campaigns are encouraged to address donor questions locally but should also feel free to refer or forward questions or comments to OCFCO at

Marketing Materials

To further promote donor awareness of the recoding, the following statements are approved for use as specified below.

The Basic Message:

The basic message to be communicated is:

New 5-Digit Codes For All CFC Charities.

That basic message may be expanded upon with the approval of the Local Federal Coordinating Committee (LFCC). Displaying the message in print, web-based and video formats, and in various marketing venues or events is encouraged to the extent that doing so is deemed appropriate by the LFCC.

The Model Pledge Form Notice:

The 2007 model pledge form (See CFC Memorandum 2007-2) is revised to reflect the new five-digit codes. Campaigns may use color, bold or other printing styles; cover pages; and inserts that are suitable to conveying the message according to local needs and CFC regulations.

All charity codes must be maintained and processed by local campaigns as five numbers without hyphens or spaces. Other modifications to the pledge form will require review and approval by OCFCO as outlined in CFC Memorandum 2007-2.

Charity List (formerly known as Charity Brochure) Preface Notice:

The following notice will be included in the 2007 Charity List preface and introduction. It is provided in advance of the final Charity List to assist campaigns in their training plans. (Please note that the Charity List preface and introduction may also have other modifications in its final form.)


Beginning with the 2007 Combined Federal Campaign, each participating charity will now use a new five-digit CFC code assigned by OPM.

Optional Cross-reference Tables:

OCFCO will provide a cross-reference table for the National/International List that shows the former CFC code and the new five-digit code assigned to national/international charities that were determined eligible to participate in the 2007 campaign. This table will be issued to local campaigns and will be available on the OCFCO website at for use at the discretion of the LFCC.

Local cross-reference tables for donors and pledge processors may also be created, at the discretion of the LFCC. Additional charity information may be provided in the local table with LFCC approval, but additional information is not required. Web-based cross-reference tables should conform to the Guidelines for the Use of E-Technology in the CFC and also located within CFC Memorandum 2006-4.

A Sample Cross-Reference Table

Former CodeCharity NameNew 5-Digit Code
2565 Local Charity ABC 15555
4436 Local Charity Service 13333

Related Administrative Matters


Costs incurred for conveying the recoding message may be legitimate campaign expenses when authorized or approved by the LFCC. Campaigns will be asked to identify documented and approved recoding costs in the 2007 annual CFC Results 1417 Report in both dollar terms and as a percent of total administrative costs.

Handling Incorrect CFC Charity Codes:

In the event that a pledge form with an incorrect code has arrived at the pledge processing stage, CFC regulations do not allow PCFOs to contact donors directly to correct these errors. See 5 CFR § 950.105(d)(4). Some campaigns and charitable organizations have requested OPM to relax the applicable CFC regulations and allow PCFOs to directly contact the donor in this new code implementation year.

OPM believes the protection of the donor provided by the CFC regulations is fundamental to the success of the campaign and therefore does not believe it will be in the best interest of the campaign to relax this requirement. However, we will consider requests from LFCCs to allow the PCFO to directly contact donors due to extraordinary circumstances. The LFCC should email the OCFCO at and demonstrate the extraordinary circumstances. OPM reserves the right to deny the requests. As such, campaigns should focus on the education of donors and training of campaign staff to minimize the risk of incorrect or invalid codes.

Questions and comments on this guidance should be directed to Cherlynn Stevens, Operations Specialist at casteven@opm>.

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