New rules for the Combined Federal Campaign, scheduled to take effect January 1, 2016, have been pushed back a year, according to the Office of Personnel Management.
The delay until the 2017 campaign is not related to the recently disclosed hack of the office’s database of federal employees’ personal information, said OPM public-affairs specialist Lindsay Haake.
"The new effective date for the CFC regulations will ensure that the tools needed to put these reforms in place — including the pivotal online charity-application and donor-pledging systems — are thoroughly tested and fully operational before being made available to charities and donors," OPM press secretary Sam Schumach said in a statement.
The new rules, finalized in April 2014, will prohibit federal workers from making donations in cash, consolidate local drives into larger regional drives, and charge participating nonprofits an application fee to pay for campaign costs instead of taking a portion of their donations. Many nonprofits, including United Way Worldwide and YMCA of USA, opposed these rules when they were proposed.
The process of selecting a nonprofit to serve as the "central campaign administrator" that would build and oversee the new website for charities to apply and donors to make charitable gifts was supposed to start in April. But as of July 21, the administrator had not been named. OPM declined to comment on the selection process for the administrator, citing federal regulations on government contracts.
"The delay of the new rule will provide these [campaign administrator] organizations with additional time to develop and test the online charity application and donor pledging systems," said an OPM spokesman in an email. "OPM wants to ensure there is sufficient testing of the system, that it is fully functional and secure, and that the necessary system accreditations are obtained prior to allowing charities and donors to access it."
The new rules state that without a qualified central campaign administrator, the campaign cannot take place. Delaying the changes until 2017 prevents the campaign from skipping a year.
"It’s actually probably good news that there’s going to be stability in the campaign until there are new systems built," said Anthony DeCristofaro, director of the Department of Defense Voluntary Campaign Management Office. "This allows us to ensure we have a successful campaign in 2015 and in 2016."
An OPM spokesperson said that the new online system will not store donors’ personally identifiable information.