Fiscal Management of the Combined Federal Campaign

GGD-85-69: Published: Jul 29, 1985. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 1985.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) fiscal control of the Combined Federal Campaign.

A review of random samples of pledge cards received by 16 local campaigns in 1984 showed that at least 97 percent of all contributions in each campaign were recorded and distributed in accordance with OPM regulations. However, when federal personnel wanted to designate their contributions but did not complete their pledge cards properly, the managing charity in 7 of 20 local campaigns studied did not contact the contributors to clarify information. Absent an OPM regulation regarding the correct handling of improperly completed pledge cards, such contributions in those campaigns were retained for distribution by the charity managing the campaigns rather than being forwarded to the charities that had actually been designated by the contributors. According to the managing charities, three of these campaigns changed their follow-up procedures in 1985, while four continued to treat improperly prepared pledge cards as designations to themselves. In addition, GAO found that fund-raising costs have increased in recent years because: (1) the charities that managed each local campaign have begun to charge for indirect services they previously had provided without charge; (2) the administrative responsibilities of managing charities have increased because of changes in OPM regulations; and (3) of inflation. GAO found that some of the increase in fund-raising costs could have been offset in three of the campaigns if idle campaign funds had been placed in interest-bearing accounts.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPM agreed with the recommendation and has established controls to prevent employee contributions from being paid to the wrong charities and to reduce campaign fund-raising costs.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should require principle combined fund organizations to contact all federal personnel who submit improperly completed pledge cards for clarifying instructions. If the organization is unable to contact the contributor, the federal coordinating committee in each campaign should decide how the designated funds will be distributed. In addition, the Director should require the organizations to either: (1) earn interest on idle campaign funds to offset administrative costs; or (2) receive services from the financial institutions holding the funds comparable in value to the amount of the interest that could be earned.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management


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