1. What is Aid for Africa?
Founded in 2004, Aid for Africa is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization that brings together U.S.-registered charities working with their partners in Africa focused on health and nutrition, education, sustainable development, food and agriculture, the environment, wildlife conservation and arts and culture in Sub-Saharan Africa. As an alliance or federation of organizations, Aid for Africa supplies common fundraising, administrative, and management services to our members.
Aid for Africa participates in workplace, internet, and other public fundraising programs. Participation in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is a priority for Aid for Africa. As part of its service to members, Aid for Africa works with eligible charities to ensure that they meet the CFC’s fiscal accountability, governance, and programmatic impact standards. These standards are some of the most rigorous in the giving community and thus provide the basis for admission to the federation. Aid for Africa also educates the American public about the complex and broad nature of Africa’s challenges and the diversity of organizations helping to meet these challenges. It also builds understanding and appreciation for the art and cultures of Africa, which underpin its past, present, and future.
2. What is the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)?
The CFC is the Federal government’s annual workplace giving campaign. It is the largest workplace giving campaign in the world. In 2015 the CFC raised almost $178 million in pledges on behalf of U.S. charities throughout the country and abroad. Contributions were solicited from approximately 4 million federal civilian and postal employees and military personnel during the charity drive, which runs annually from September through December. The CFC is the only campaign authorized to solicit and collect contributions from federal employees in their workplace.
3. Can my organization join Aid for Africa?
Participation in the CFC is the core of Aid for Africa’s fundraising activities, thus any organization that seeks membership in Aid for Africa, must be eligible to participate in the CFC. In addition, all members of Aid for Africa must demonstrate that they are actively involved in providing assistance to Africans in and from Sub Saharan Africa. Aid for Africa’s financial requirements for organizations exceed those of the CFC. Aid for Africa’s eligibility standards are intended to provide a high level of assurance to all donors, including federal employees, that their contributions will be directed only to legitimate charities that meet widely-accepted financial, accountability, and governance standards.
Currently, to be eligible Aid for Africa, an organization must:
- be an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization;
- provide services in at least 15 different states or at least one foreign country over the three-year period immediately preceding the application;
- account for funds in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), which requires an accrual-based accounting system;
- commission an annual audit by an independent certified public accountant that is prepared using generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS);
- provide a signed copy of the most recently completed IRS 990 form;
- be governed by an independent board of directors, the majority of whom serve without compensation, and
- clearly demonstrate that it has provided real services, benefits, assistance, or other program activities in Sub Saharan Africa, and, in some cases, for African refugees and emigrants.
4. Can any charity participate in CFC?
No. Participation is linked to a fee structure introduced in 2017 and eligibility standards. 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) that monitors the CFC program and makes decisions about which charities may participate in the national campaign.
Fee Structure: The CFC requires that each organization applying to participate in the program as a member of an alliance or federation (Aid for Africa) pay an application fee of $400. Once accepted, the CFC requires each organization pay a listing fee, which varies based on the revenue of the organization. Listing fees are $2,270 for organizations with total revenue of $1 million or higher, $555 for organizations with revenue of $250,000 and higher and less than $1 million, and $370 for organizations with revenue below $250,000. Revenue refers to the amount listed on the organization’s IRS Form 990, Part 1, Line 12.
To compensate participating organizations for these up-front costs, the CFC ensures that 100 percent of the amount donated by a federal employee is passed on to the designated organization. (In the past, administrative fees were subtracted from donations by campaign offices prior to disbursement of donations.)
Please note that these fees are NOT imposed by Aid for Africa, which acts only as a pass-through organization. The fees are imposed by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which administers the CFC.
Eligibility Standards: If an organization meets Aid for Africa’s eligibility standards (see Question 3), it also meets the eligibility standards of the CFC.
More information about the CFC is available on OPM’s website at www.opm.gov/cfc.
- most recent IRS Form 990;
- most recent financial statements; and
- the IRS letter granting your organization nonprofit status. Applicants also need to submit by email a summary of your organization’s program activities during the last three years.
Applicants should also send a copy of the most recent annual report, newsletters, and brochure, if available.
6. My organization has participated in the CFC previously as an unaffiliated organization or as a member of another federation. Can we still join Aid for Africa?
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 the Aid for Africa is asked to make a 2-year commitment to participate in CFC as a member of the federation. This is primarily due to the long lag time between submission of the application to CFC and the receipt of donations (up to 18 months). As a result, if accepted as a member of Aid for Africa for the 2018 CFC, the next time you will have an opportunity to participate in the CFC as an unaffiliated organization or as a member of another federation would be for CFC 2020.
7. How do internet and workplace donors learn about my organization?
Aid for Africa maintains a website that highlights the activities its members. Part of Aid for Africa’s education strategy is to employ a variety of methods to bring people interested in Africa, who may also be potential donors, to its site. This site is also available to all federal employees and military personnel. In addition, each fall the CFC provides federal donors with a comprehensive website, listing and providing a brief description of every eligible charity. Aid for Africa staff will work with charities to develop the description at the time of application preparation. Aid for Africa’s staff and members participate in a variety of workplace giving functions. And, during the course of the campaign, Aid for Africa undertakes informal public education through radio, newspaper, and transit posters.
8. How are the donations monitored and how does my charity learn of and receive donations?
There is no issue more important for Aid for Africa’s members than understanding how money is processed—that is, transferred from individual donors to them. All donations to member organizations made through our website are credited to each member’s account. These figures are posted by our bookkeeper, double checked by our accountant, and audited annually by an independent certified public accountant.
The Combined Federal Campaign is an effort involving local campaigns thoughout the United States. As a member of Aid for Africa, 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. Funds from the previous year’s campaign begin arriving in April. Thus, for the 2017 CFC, Aid for Africa will receive an indication of the amount pledged and the first installment of these funds by April 2018. Most federal employees contribute through payroll deduction, therefore the donations will take a full year to reach Aid for Africa and your organization. For the 2017 CFC, we will still be receiving funds on an organization’s behalf into early 2019, reflecting funds withheld the previous December. By then, of course, the initial results of the next CFC (2018) will also be known and funds will have started to arrive from this second year’s effort.
Aid for Africa issues quarterly reports of all funds received on a member organization’s behalf and quarterly checks to participating organizations.
Aid for Africa’s accounts are audited annually by an independent Certified Public Accountant. The audit report and IRS Form 990 are available on the About Us page of this website.
9. What is the cost to my organization to be a member of Aid for Africa?
A nonprofit organization itself, Aid for Africa does not assess it members application fees, service charges or membership dues. It does, however, invoice members for 6 percent of the funds it receives on a member’s behalf. These funds help support some of the costs for our accounting, outreach activities and other member services. As a result, Aid for Africa distributes 100 percent of the money it receives and has been designated to members.