As you can tell by the 500% increase in star related paraphanelia adorning government cubicles, the Combined Federal Campaign has arrived. I am a big fan of the CFC as the marquis charity event on the Federal calendar (and by event I mean 4 month long philanthropalooza.)
I love the CFC because it shines the spotlight on people who already give back (YOU!) giving back some more. We YGLers take public service as a core value; however we also recognize that the public service is not solely the domain of civil servants. The CFC is a unique opportunity for the public sector show its support for the work of our peers in the non-profit “third sector”. Non-profit work is an increasingly attractive avenue for aspiring young world changers, and many of us have friends and colleagues that work there. The CFC is an exceptional opportunity for us to back their work and foster greater appreciation and collaboration with our non-profit compatriots.
Deciding to give is just the beginning though; one of my favorite parts of the CFC is deciding which charities and causes to support. There are myriad ways to decide how to obligate your funds to worthy causes. I typically pay for services I use (like public radio) and support causes of special interest to me; however lately I’ve grown increasingly interested in investing in causes that generate a good return on investment. I don’t want my deduction coming back to me in the form of logo laden return address labels and 3.5 trees worth of additional solicitations for money.
In order to build my portfolio, I use Charity Navigator to verify my choices and help find new charities to give to. Charity Navigator evaluates charities on things like ratio of funds spent on program vs. administrative overhead, organizational capacity, even CEO compensation. Best of all, it’s advanced search function has a checkbox specifically for CFC charities, making it easier then ever to invest wisely.
Of course not everyone will give through my uber geek methodology, and the truth is that part matters least. What’s most important is that you consider investing in causes you believe in. An investment through CFC is sure to generate a positive return, and I guarantee you’ll feel better about it than your TSP statement. So make a statement and submit your pledge card today!
I agree with you…this is my first year as the office Key Worker for CFC, and I am hoping that people will
be generous despite the uncertain economics times; this is a great opportunity, even a dollar a pay period makes a difference (about $26 a year!). And that’s the great thing about the CFC, you don’t have to pay right away if you can’t/or prefer not to, it can be deducted from your pay, so I encourage you all out there to participate, it is a wonderful opportunity we have, to be able to help another human being, a cause we feel passionate about, it is indeed a beautiful thing.
I use a hybrid methodology. I just left the Charity Navigator site. Will give it a try. I do care that the contributions are being spent on the program and people vs. overhead.