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Volunteers are about to start knocking on doors and calling meetings. It’s time again for the annual Combined Federal Campaign.

The campaign, which begins today and ends Dec. 1, solicits donations from federal employees, who in turn can name their charity or cause of choice. About 1,600 charities are registered recipients of the campaign, which began in 1961.

Last year’s campaign in Europe raised $6.9 million, and $16.1 million overall overseas, according to Greg Sassman, director of CFC-Overseas in Kaiserslautern. The key to a successful campaign, he said, is that everyone eligible to donate gets a pitch from one of the volunteers.

“We stress 100 percent personal contact,” Sassman said. “How they do that is up to them. Some people prefer one-on-one solicitation, some prefer to do it in a group.”

Most volunteers will find it’s not a hard sell, according to Air Force Lt. Col. David E. Johnson, who is running the local campaign for the U.S. European Command headquarters in Stuttgart.

“For most people it’s not new,” Johnson said. “Many people already know and understand how to donate, particularly that they can name the particular charity that would be the recipient of their donation.”

Last year, 60 percent of the employees at EUCOM’s headquarters donated to CFC, Johnson said. He wasn’t concerned about topping that figure as much as making sure that everyone was given the campaign information and asked to pledge.

“We want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to give,” he said.

People can pay by cash or check, but about 75 percent of donors have chosen to have donations taken out of their paychecks every pay period, Sassman said. For active-duty troops, it would be once per month; for civilians it would be once per pay period, or 26 times a year.

Donations can be directed to specific charities such as American Red Cross, or to charitable causes such as the environment, health or religion, Sassman said. Money can also be directed back into the military community from which it came.

The charities that receive money from the CFC are recognized by the Internal Revenue Service and approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Info: www.cfcoverseas.org

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