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Frequently Asked Questions Combined Federal Campaign

Charity Eligibility & Participation

  • Donors can designate any amount they wish to a charitable organization. There is no limit to the amount a charitable organization can receive.
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  • The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) does not require that participating organizations be in existence for a minimum of three years. Organizations that apply to participate as national/international charities may submit examples of services provided within the previous three years to demonstrate a national or international presence. There is no requirement that services were provided in each of those years, however.
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  • To be eligible to participate in the CFC, a charitable organization must be recognized as a tax-exempt non-profit organization under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. An application to participate in the CFC must provide specific information about the organization's accounting, governance, and program functions, as specified in the CFC regulations at 5 CFR §950. The organization must also provide a completed and signed copy of its IRS Form 990 for the most recent fiscal year.

    Organizations must demonstrate that they provide services in the service area to which they are applying:

    • National/International organizations provide services in 15 different U.S. states and/or one foreign country over the three year period immediately preceding the start of the campaign’s application year.
    • International organizations are defined in regulation as charitable organizations that provide services either exclusively or in a substantial preponderance to persons in areas outside of the United States. These organizations must provide evidence of services in at least one foreign country over the three year period immediately preceding the start of the campaign’s application year.
    • Local organizations are those that (1) have a substantial local presence in; and (2) provide services in the local campaign zone to which they apply. The services must be provided during the calendar year immediately preceding the start of the campaign’s application year.
    Charities may apply to participate in the CFC individually (as an unaffiliated, or "independent", organization) or they may be represented by a federation. A federation is a coalition of individual charities that align to minimize administrative costs and to coordinate activities. All CFC application and participation requirements that apply to individual charities also apply to federations. In addition, federations must demonstrate that they have no fewer than 15 CFC member organizations that meet the CFC eligibility criteria.

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  • Organizations that are not required to file IRS Form 990 with the IRS or that file some other form—such as the IRS Forms 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF—must submit a pro forma IRS Form 990. This includes subordinates to group exemptions and bonafide chapters or affiliates, which are required to submit pro forma IRS Forms 990 specific to the entity and service location named in the CFC application.

    The pro forma IRS Form 990 is not a separate form. Rather it is a partially completed IRS Form 990 that is used for CFC purposes only. The following items must be completed on the pro forma IRS Form 990:

    • Page 1, Items A-M
    • Part I, Summary, Lines 1-4 only
    • Part II, Signature Block
    • Part VII, Compensation –Section A only
    • Part VIII, Statement of Revenues
    • Part IX, Statement of Functional Expenses
    • Part XII, Financial Statements and Reporting

    Please note that the CFC cannot accept other forms, such as IRS Forms 990-EZ, 990-N, 990-PF, or other comparable forms.

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  • In accordance with 5 CFR §950.601(a)(1), the application period is during a period between December and January, as determined by the Director. Please look at the CFC Calendar of Events.
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  • The fee structure is based on tiers for different types of organizations. Tiers refer to the size of the applicant organization in terms of total revenue as reported on the submitted IRS Form 990 or the pro forma IRS Form 990. Total revenue may be found on page 9, line 12, column A of the required IRS forms.

    The CFC rules, as noted in 5 CFR §950.107, allow for upfront application fees and listing fees as well as distribution fees to be assessed against pledges received. Listing fees are paid only by organizations approved to participate in the campaign.

    Tier I Organizations are those that report $1 million or more in revenue.

    Tier II Organizations are those that report $250 thousand or more in revenue, but less than $1 million.

    Tier III Organizations are those that report less than $250 thousand in revenue.

     

    APPLICATION FEES

    Nat'l/Int'l Federation $1,575 Nat'l/Int'l Federation Member Org. $400 Nat'l/Int'l Independent Org. $570 Local Federation $630 Local Federation Member Org. $255 Local Independent Org. $340

     

    LISTING FEES

    Tier I Nat'l/Int'l Organizations $2,270 Tier II Nat'l/Int'l Organizations $555 Tier III Nat'l/Int'l Organizations $370 Tier I Local Organizations $635 Tier II Local Organizations $135 Tier III Local Organizations $20
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  • Organizations receiving designations in the 2015 and 2016 CFCs will continue to receive disbursements in the same way they do currently. Beginning with the 2017 CFC, the CCA will send payments via EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer). EFT disbursements are required for participating charitable organizations.
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  • Members of federations must submit their applications as instructed by the federation. Federations and independent organizations submit their applications directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management through the CFC application module at CFCcharities.opm.gov.
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  • It is the responsibility of the Central Campaign Administrator (CCA) to provide the names, home addresses, and personal (i.e. not federal) email addresses of donors who wish to have their names and contact information released to the designated charitable organizations or their federations, where applicable. The CCA and the federation may not make any other use of donors' names and contact information.
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  • Contributions are administered by the Central Campaign Administrator (CCA). The CCA will disburse funds on a monthly starting April 1 immediately following the campaign period.
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