A federation is a group of charitable organizations that join together to supply common fundraising, administrative, and management services to its members. There are very few limits on the kinds of services a federation can provide to its members. A federation’s members can participate in some of the services/ benefits offered by a federation – and not avail themselves of others. However, every member of the federation shares at least one common goal with other members and participates in at least one joint effort or venture.
The CFC is the Federal government’s annual workplace giving campaign. It is the largest workplace giving campaign in the world. In 2008, the CFC raised more than $270 million on behalf of U.S. charities throughout the country and abroad. Contributions were solicited from approximately four million federal civilian and postal employees and military personnel during the charity drive, which runs annually from September 1 through December 15. The CFC is the only campaign authorized to solicit and collect contributions from federal employees in their workplace.
No. Eligibility standards for CFC participants are some of the most rigorous in the charitable-giving community. Because the CFC is a government-wide program, its rules are written in the form of Federal regulations. All CFC participants must conform to these rules and meet their eligibility requirements. The CFC has a staff within the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) which monitors the CFC program and makes decisions about which charities may participate in the national campaign. The CFC’s eligibility standards are intended to provide a high level of assurance to Federal employees that their contributions will be directed only to legitimate charities that meet widely-accepted financial, accountability and governance standards. As a result, acceptance into the CFC campaign is often viewed in other giving environments as a “seal of approval” that the participating charity meets acceptable nonprofit accountability standards. More information about the CFC is available on OPM’s website at www.opm.gov/cfc.
Yes. The core of the Federation’s eligibility standards are those established by the CFC. In addition, however, all MHANe members must demonstrate that they are actively involved in providing assistance in the field of mental health. There are no minimum eligibility requirements about the size of these programs – either by dollar amount or number of people served. In fact, smaller charities often find the economies of scale associated with federation membership a significant incentive to join.
Yes. Eligible charities may participate in the CFC either as a member of a federation or as an unaffiliated organization. As long as you do not have a legally binding commitment to another federation, you may make a choice about how to participate each year. However, every new member of MHANe makes a 2-year commitment to participate in CFC as a member of the federation.
You have to provide information about your programs and also submit complete copies of the following three documents:
MHANe’s Board Chair will review each application for federation membership and make a recommendation to the Board about admission. Final admission decisions are made by MHANe’s Board. Applicants are informed about these decisions in writing. For more information about eligibility requirements, see How to Join.
Each Fall, the CFC provides federal employees and military personnel with a comprehensive directory, listing and describing every eligible charity. When you apply to MHANe, you will be asked to provide contact information for your organization as well as a 25-word description. This information will be printed in the directory – and some donors may actually call you to learn more about your group. Many will certainly visit your website. The 25-word statement is obviously another important means by which donors will come to understand your work. Given this significance, federation staff will review it with you during the admissions process.
A key strength of the CFC is that Federal donors decide not only how much money they will give but also which charities they wish to receive their support. Thus, it is not possible to know in advance how well any single charity will do. Some charities appeal strongly to a wide range of individuals and attract substantial support. Other charities are of interest to only a limited number of donors, and their total pledges will be commensurately smaller.
MHANe, as a CFC federation, raises roughly $500,000 annually and represents roughly 30 national charities. Our individual charity members typically raise between $1,000 and $60,000 each year, depending on their appeal to federal donors. One important feature of CFC donations is that they are unrestricted funds available for your organization to put toward its most pressing priorities.
We aim to be entirely transparent about our fee structure and how funds flow from donors through the CFC and to our member charities (see FAQ #10 below). Among the motivations to launch MHANe back in 2005 was our concern about how some workplace giving federations are unwilling to share this kind of information with the charities they serve. In our minds, if a federation cannot provide a crystal clear accounting of this cash flow, it suggests inefficient and undocumented internal processes, or worse, processes and internal costs that would embarrass that federation's leaders were the actual figures to become public.
There is no issue more important for federation members than understanding how money is processed – passing from donors to them. The answer lies in the very nature of the CFC itself.
The Combined Federal Campaign is actually an effort involving roughly 200 local campaigns. As a member of MHANe, your organization will be placed before donors in every one of these locally administered fundraising drives. While donors make their pledges in the Fall, local CFC administrators generally report the results of the fundraising effort no earlier than March of the following year. Along with these reports will come initial funds.
For example, if your organization was admitted to the CFC in 2007 as a member of MHANe, your would have received both an indication of the amount pledged to you and the first installment of these funds by June 2008. Keep in mind, though, that most federal employees contribute through payroll deduction - so the full amount of pledged support will take a full year to reach the federation and you. Indeed, for the 2007 CFC we were still receiving funds on your behalf into early 2009, reflecting funds withheld the previous December. By then, of course, the initial results of the next CFC (2008) were also known and funds had started to arrive from this second year's effort.
MHANe will, of course, report to you as soon as we have sufficient information from the local CFC administrators. As noted, we expect this to be by the end of May in any given campaign year. At that time, we will pass along the information we have received and a distribution schedule indicating when your funds will be sent to your organization. We typically distribute funds to our members four times each year in July, October, January and April.
A nonprofit organization itself, MHANe assesses its members a percentage based fee reflecting how well each charity does in the CFC and related workplace giving campaigns. We do not otherwise charge dues or fees for applying or for processing your funds, and we do not ask for any money in advance.
For the fall 2013 CFC MHANe has set a fee of 3 percent of an organization's CFC funds raised.
Historically, since its founding in 2005, MHANe has never charged more than 3 percent of CFC funds raised. Some years MHANe has had no fee at all for its services. Our goal is to funnel as much funding as possible to our member charities.
MHANe's accounts are audited annually by an independent Certified Public Accountant. This audit report is available for inspection by all federation members and donors upon request. Our tax returns are available on Guidestar. www.guidestar.org.