Welcome to the world of the CFC federation.
We recently compiled and analyzed the fees that national CFC federations charge their member charities. As far as we know, no one, including the government, has tried to amass and understand the information. As we tackled our task, we asked ourselves a simple question:
Can charities figure out what they will be charged when they consider joining a federation?
For the most part, the answer is No.
Most federations place some language about fees in their annual reports. It is in that location not because charities would naturally expect to find it there, but because that is where OPM asks that it be placed. That is where we looked, finding these annual reports on most of the federation websites.
Some federations are clear about what they have charged and will charge. Here at the Workplace Giving Alliance, our federations try to meet that test of simplicity and clarity.
Other federations obscure their fees, making it hard to find their descriptions or hard to understand their language, or both.
We invite you to read our report (PDF, 7.2MB) and decide how well or poorly federations are describing their fees.
To be kind, what we found when we went looking for federation fees was inconsistent. To be honest, what we found raised the thought that federations are often trying to hide their fees, hoping that their customers will pay attention to the services on display.
We are pleased that OPM is apparently tackling the challenge of federation fees in their new draft regs. We are pleased that journalists are also beginning to pay attention.
We wonder how you have experienced federation fees and what suggestions you might have for fixing this critical problem.