About the Campaign

Watch: See how investing in your favorite causes through the UW Combined Fund Drive impacts nonprofits in our community and around the globe.

What is the CFD?

The Combined Fund Drive (CFD) is the state’s workplace giving campaign which provides faculty, staff, and retirees the opportunity to give to their favorite charities through payroll deduction or a one-time gift. Established in 1984, the CFD offers convenience, choice, and confidentiality.

UW employees generously contributed $2.2 million last year to local, national, and international charities supporting programs in the arts, environment, health, education, disaster relief, and human services. Employees can support the causes they are most passionate about by choosing from over 5,000 charities in the official state charity guide or by suggesting their own.

The CFD is allowed by state law to deduct reasonable administrative costs* from the campaign contributions to run the campaign (WAC 357-55). Administrative costs pay for:

  • Volunteer coordinator training and recognition.
  • Printing of campaign materials, development of the CFD video, postage, supplies.
  • Technology support.
  • Staff salaries and travel.
  • Contracted professional support.

Administrative costs are critical because they provide the support needed to coordinate a large campaign like the CFD. Millions are raised every year for thousands of charities. Administrative work ensures the money goes to the appropriate charity. Please read an important letter from the presidents of three leading sources of information on nonprofits—GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and BBB Wise Giving Alliance.

Each of the charities share in the administrative expenses proportionate to the funds raised for their organization during the campaign. Charities participate in the Combined Fund Drive and other workplace giving programs because it is one of the most inexpensive forms of fundraising for charities. It lowers their own administrative costs because they receive one consolidated check from the CFD each quarter which reduces their accounting expenses.

How Funds Are Collected and Distributed

Contributions are collected from employees each pay period and deposited to the CFD account with the State Treasurer to earn interest. Employees have the choice of giving directly to a specific charity and/or to the CFD’s “non-specified” Friends of CFD fund. Before each quarterly distribution of donations, the CFD deducts administrative expenses from the total of the specified and Friends of CFD fund plus any corporate donations and interest. The remaining total is sent to the charities.

Donations to Specific Charities + Donations to the “Non-specified” Friends of CFD Fund + Corporate Donations + Interest – Administrative Costs = Charity Distribution

Example: 2015 CFD campaign

Administrative expenses for 2015 were 14.7%*

Donations to Specific Charities $4,377,689
Donations to non-specified Friends of CFD fund** $375,579
Corporate Donations $2,500
Interest Earned $4,688
Total Income $4,760,456
Less Admin Costs – $ 700,520
Total Distributed to Charities $4,059,936

See fund distributions from previous years.

* National studies show that fundraising costs less than 25% are considered to be “reasonable.” Source: Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, The American Institute of Philanthropy, The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

** Donations made to this fund are distributed to all charities receiving donations, disbursed on a pro rata basis, and help offset administrative overhead.