What is the Colorado Combined Campaign?
The Colorado Combined Campaign (CCC) is the annual charitable workplace giving campaign of Colorado state government employees. The state established the campaign in 1987 as a beneficial way for employees to easily and efficiently donate to a wide array of nonprofits and support their communities. Since then, state employees through the CCC have raised nearly $35 million for Colorado charities. In 2018, state employees made 5,500 donations totaling $860,000. The average donation was $368, or about $30 per paycheck.
How does donating through the CCC work?
As a state employee, you’re in charge of your giving. Each year, you can choose from around 500 Colorado nonprofits that represent more than 20 different causes and every corner of the state. You also decide how to give. Most employees do so through payroll contribution (a few dollars each pay period), a longstanding tradition. But you can also make a recurring donation with a credit/debit card or bank payment, or a one-time donation with cash, check or credit/debit card. There is no minimum donation. Signing up is easy, either online or with a paper form.
What is the benefit of making a donation through the CCC versus giving directly to my favorite charity?
The CCC enables you to donate directly out of your paycheck, in whatever amount you like. This automatic, incremental giving allows most people to give more overall. Additionally, nonprofits can keep their administrative costs lower if they’re processing a single, large payment from the CCC versus multiple, smaller payments from individual donors. Your contribution through the CCC has a greater impact when it’s combined with the generosity of your coworkers.
Who can participate?
The CCC is a benefit of employment for all state workers. It was created by executive order in 1987 and has been endorsed by Colorado governors ever since. Nearly 60 state agencies and state colleges and universities - and thousands of state-employee donors - participate each year.
Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes. Every agency listed in the CCC Resource Guide & Directory is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Donations to these groups are eligible for tax deduction on your annual income tax form. You will need to retain a copy of your pledge form and (if giving through payroll contribution) a copy of your final pay stub showing the total amount withheld during the calendar year in order to claim your deduction. CCC donations are post-tax, per IRS guidelines.
If I currently give through payroll contribution, do I have to sign up again when there’s a new campaign?
Yes. Participation in the CCC is voluntary. Therefore, no one assumes because you gave one year that you’ll give the next. It’s easy, though, to replicate your online pledge from year to year. Just look for the prompt when you visit your account at www.ipledgeonline.org/_coloradocombinedcampaign.
Since we pledge in the fall, when does my donation actually take place?
It depends on how you give. Recurring payroll gifts start in January and end in December. One-time payroll gifts come out of the first paycheck of the year, in January. One-time credit card and check donations are processed once they are received by the CCC (unless we receive different instructions). Similarly, recurring card and e-check donations are set up as soon as the CCC gets the donation via a paper pledge form or through the online iPledge system.
Can I continue to participate when I retire?
Yes. The CCC now offers a retiree giving program that enables employees to continue their philanthropic commitment to their charity, cause, community and state after they retire. Visit the special page at www.coloradocombinedcampaign.org to learn more and make your gift.
Can new employees sign up between campaigns?
Yes. New employees can donate quickly and easily through credit/debit card, e-check, check and cash at www.ipledgeonline.org/_coloradocombinedcampaign. If you want to give through a payroll contribution, call (720-420-3210) or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for help. Once the next campaign begins, you can renew your pledge through the standard process.
Do I get a receipt for my donation?
Your completed and signed pledge form serves as proof of your gift, if you're giving on paper. If you give online, the iPledge giving system will automatically email you a confirmation of your donation.
How can I be sure that my donation goes to the nonprofit I support?
When you designate your gift, your contribution (less the CCC campaign expense), will go to the nonprofit(s) of your choice. You may request that your charity send you a letter of acknowledgement and details about their work. You may also choose to remain anonymous, in which case your information will be not shared with anyone aside from CCC staff.
What if I don’t have a favorite charity?
You can still participate. Simply choose the CCC Charities Fund (use charity code number 99999 on your pledge form or enter it online). Your gift will be distributed proportionately to all the campaign’s nonprofits.
Why should I support a campaign that includes organizations that I don’t like?
State employees have diverse interests when it comes to charitable giving. By supporting hundreds of nonprofits, the CCC ensures that all employees are able to give to causes that they find personally meaningful. Because of the structure of the campaign, your donation supports your charity, the one you have designated.
What if I make a mistake and want to change my gift?
No problem. Just contact the CCC at 720-420-3210 or email@example.com for help.
Who manages the CCC?
The CCC is managed by Community Shares of Colorado, an expert in workplace giving campaigns. Community Shares was awarded a contract with the state to run the campaign and works closely with the all-employee CCC Advisory Committee to plan and manage operations. The CCC also partners with volunteers from across state government to run the campaign.
How is the CCC held accountable?
The campaign’s activities are overseen by a committee of state employees (the CCC Advisory Committee), which meets nearly every month to set policy, approve plans and guide direction. The CCC Advisory Committee approves the annual budget and monitors expenses each month. In addition, the CCC is audited yearly and is a registered nonprofit with the Colorado Secretary of State.
How is the CCC financed?
The CCC’s annual budget is determined based on the amount of the previous year’s donations. To encourage, process and distribute donations, the CCC incurs operational costs such as rent, phones, computers, staff, printing, bookkeeping, meetings, events and a yearly audit. No campaign expense is born by the state. Rather, the CCC uses a cost-sharing model. To finance their participation, nonprofits allow the CCC to keep 15¢ for every dollar raised to cover essential administrative/management costs. This amount has been constant for many years and has not increased. Nonprofits apply to be part of the CCC acknowledging the cost-sharing model because it’s an economical way for them to reach a large audience of potential donors.
Is the CCC cost effective?
Yes. In comparison to other forms of fundraising such as grant writing (20¢ for every dollar raised), events (50¢), and, direct mail ($1), workplace giving (15¢) is among the most cost-effective. The current campaign manager, Community Shares of Colorado, has consistently been under budget in managing the CCC for the last five years. Also, the CCC raises funds for more than 500 charities, versus just one.
Why should I give if a portion of my donation doesn’t go to my nonprofit?
Because no state funds can be used to cover the cost of reaching Colorado’s 50,000+ state employees, the state partners with a nonprofit to help manage the campaign for a low cost. Further, Colorado nonprofits like participating in workplace giving campaigns because the costs are lower than other types of fundraising, the reach is much greater and the contributions are consistent.
Why are only some Colorado nonprofits listed in the CCC Resource Guide & Directory?
The roughly 500 nonprofits listed have applied to be part of the CCC and have undergone a rigorous vetting process. The CCC Advisory Committee (composed of state employees) reviews all applications and makes acceptance decisions based on compliance with CCC bylaws. The campaign welcomes new nonprofits every year. Nonprofits interested in applying may contact the CCC to learn more. CCC bylaws, nonprofit criteria and application forms may be found at www.coloradocombinedcampaign.org/nonprofit-applications.
What are some of the criteria for nonprofits applying to the CCC?
Applying is mandatory for all interested nonprofits, who must provide items such as an IRS 501(c)(3) letter of determination, an IRS form 990, filings from the Colorado Secretary of State, a budget, a board of directors list, a narrative that discusses program activities, a local presence form and a non-discrimination policy. There are two application forms, depending on the type of nonprofit: a giving federation (such as a local United Way, which has member nonprofits it represents in workplace giving campaigns) and a CUSSO (which stands for state college/university foundation and state service organization. The latter are small, independent nonprofits which don’t belong to a giving federation.) The requirements between the two application forms are similar and all applicants are held to the same standards of review. That CCC nonprofits are vetted by the campaign is an advantage for donors.
Who can I call if I have questions about the CCC?
CCC staff members are available to answer your questions any time. Call us at 720-420-3210 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.