Both the number of donors and the amount contributed in the government’s internal charity drive decreased in 2012, continuing a pattern of decline in recent years.
Office of Personnel Management data show that 848,150 federal employees and military personnel contributed $258.3 million to the Combined Federal Campaign in 2012, down from 959,210 and $272.7 million in 2011.
Both figures have fallen each year since reaching $282.6 million in 2009 and 1,120,828 donors in 2008.
“As the CFC is a voluntary activity, OPM does not track the reasons why individuals contribute or do not contribute to the program,” an OPM spokesperson said in an e-mail, adding that despite the decline, 2012 was among the top 10 years of giving in the campaign.
Federal employee salary rates have been frozen since the last general raise was paid in January 2010; while some employees have not received any increase in salary since then, some have received raises for promotion, merit increases, or have advanced up the steps of their pay grades. Military personnel continued receiving annual raises during that period. The spokesperson said the agency does not break down the trends between the two groups.
CFC donations support charities working on a wide range of causes such as disaster relief, libraries, medical research and the arts, among many others.
OPM recently proposed numerous policy changes for the program, largely reflecting recommendations of an outside study in 2012. Those include managing the program on a regional rather than localized basis; having certain overhead costs paid from the charities’ application fees rather than from donor contributions; requiring that contributions be made electronically; allowing newly hired employees to begin participating immediately instead of waiting until the next solicitation period begins; and streamlining the application and auditing processes for some charities.