Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The CFC - A Few Things to Know

Normally, I write with everyone in mind, but today I write for my brothers and sisters in the military. The subject? The Combined Federal Campaign, or "CFC." You know, that group that comes around to your bases once a year and your whole unit gets called down to some auditorium or gymnasium to listen to and then donate money to.

Now, I don't know how every unit conducts this event, but I do know how my unit did it:

(1) We got word we had to go to the gymnasium for the CFC drive;
(2) We filled out an envelope with our names;
(3) It was suggested we bring a few bucks to donate;
(4) If you did not donate something, the First Sergeant, (1stSgt), would probably call you down to his office so he could find out if you had financial problems;
(5) The unit wanted 100% accountability.

While the CFC catalogue is a great way to find organizations to donate to, (I always donated to a multiple sclerosis foundation), the whole "1stSgt is going to ask about your finances if you do not donate," is bullshit. The whole "100% unit accountability" is bullshit, and when you read the fine print in the catalogue - I find the CFC in general to be bullshit. Take a look at the picture at the top, (click on it to make the words bigger), and you will see what I never recall any CFC representative standing in front of my unit ever say; the CFC takes a cut of the donations and it is about 10%, but they elude to the fact it could be more. I know charitable organizations have overhead, and for some it can be quite high, especially those who need to buy medical equipment, however, I find it repulsive that the CFC gets a cut, and again, I never heard any volunteer say the organization takes one. This feeling is further burned into my being because I am sure my unit leaders were not the only ones who wanted 100% participation from their Marines.

I really wish I had read the small print while still on active duty. I would have had no problem telling my 1stSgt I didn't give because I am not paying the CFC to train their volunteers, pay for their paper, or fund other "administrative duties." Then, I would have made a direct donation to an organization listed in the CFC catalogue.

Hopefully all you military people reading this haven't sat through your unit's CFC presentation yet. When you do, keep the aforementioned, (that's "previous," for all my Marine friends), information in the back of your mind and use the catalogue to identify possible charities to donate to and research them on the web. Don't do something because you think you have to, because you don't.


  1. You know what cracked me up? Every unit I was in had "goals." Then, one year, I decided to volunteer, and at a meeting we were told the CFC doesn't like units to set goals and they never suggest it. One hundred percent compliance and goals was just a way for commanders to make themselves look good and feel good.

    1. Dear Mr. Anonymous,

      James is happy, (or really sad), his unit wasn't the only one to work this way.

      While the CFC cannot control unit commanders, it is too bad they cannot do more to prevent it, especially when in some cases the CFC "volunteers" are the spouses of the unit leaders.

      Telling service members about the "average" 10% CFC cut should be added to the list of things to say too.