I am proud of the commitment made by California State Employees to build stronger communities not only through your work at the state, but also by your charitable contributions to the Our Promise initiative.
How Do I Decline or Indicate I Do Not Wish to Participate?
If you choose not to participate in Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work, you may simply put a slash through your form and return it to the appropriate contact within your department.
What is a PCFD?
A Principal Combined Fund Drive (PCFD) is the entity responsible for managing the Our Promise initative for a specific geographic region in the state of California. Your local PCFD coordinates the annual workplace giving campaign for your region. Our Promise donors must select a PCFD to manage their donations. The PCFD you select receives your donation and distributes your gift to your designated nonprofit(s).
Although the Our Promise is commonly referred to as if it were a single entity, it actually encompasses 29 separate geographic campaigns throughout the state. Each individual campaign is managed by a local PCFD, typically the local United Way, for that region. PCFDs are approved annually by the State of California Department of General Services.
How do I confirm the amount of my current Our Promise deduction and which nonprofit organization(s) I’ve chosen?
The vast majority of state employees with questions about their current deduction and/or designation(s) should call our toll-free Donor Hotline 1-(888) TO-DO-GOOD, 1-(888) 863-6466. Please be prepared to provide your name and Social Security Number.
United Way California Capital Region processes for all of the United Ways listed in the brochure.
Why should I participate as a payroll deduction donor through Our Promise?
Our Promise is an employee benefit, allowing those who choose to participate the convenience of payroll deduction to fund the nonprofit(s) they feel passionate about. State employees can participate as payroll deduction donors for as little as $5 per month. Although this may appear to be a nominal figure, these donations result in significant investments in our communities. Many of the nonprofits have the ability to leverage your gift in ways most people cannot.
This past year, participating State employees pledged more than $6.4 million statewide for charitable organizations. It all adds up.
One reason for participating in payroll deduction is for financial planning purposes. Imagine if your employer paid your entire salary to you, one time a year. As you know, many people would be challenged to make it last the entire year until their next annual pay day.
The nonprofits, which are very appreciative of the donations, are still challenged with a consistent cash flow. Participating through payroll deduction provides the nonprofits you feel passionate about a consistent cash flow throughout the year, easing their ability to operate and provide their services. Also, statistics show that on average, payroll deduction gifts added up at the end of the year are approximately six times greater than one-time donations.
Participation in Our Promise through payroll deduction is convenient and efficient, promotes a healthy cash flow for the nonprofit(s) of YOUR choice, enables you to give more than you might with a one-time annual gift, promotes teamwork and esprit de corps in the workplace and is one of the few bills you’ll actually feel good about paying. Last, but certainly not least…. it’s tax-deductible.
Where does my money go?
When approving each Principal Combined Fund Drive (PCFD) to administer the Our Promise initiative, the Department of General Services (DGS) authorizes the PCFD to deduct an administrative fee, which covers administrative and fundraising costs incurred while running the campaign. The fee is deducted from payments to Affiliates (member agencies of the PCFD) and Non-Affiliates (other Federations, their member agencies, and independent charitable organizations).
The State Controller’s Office as well as the DGS also have an administrative fee.The total combined administrative fees for the 2016 Our Promise initiative is 14% with an SCO processing fee of $.39 per transaction.
The campaign administrative fee is annually approved by the State of California Department of General Services for each PCFD and is published in the Our Promise Donor Resource Guide. This administrative fee supports Our Promise activities conducted by the local PCFD, DGS and the State Controller’s Office.
PCFD costs include, but are not limited to: Our Promise staff and associated resources, campaign materials, fundraising activities, pledge form printing, distribution and collection, pledge processing and fund distribution.
The Department of General Services campaign-related activities include, but are not limited to: overall campaign oversight, review of charitable organizations for listing in the Donor Resource Guide and review of PCFDs.
The State Controller’s Office campaign-related activities include, but are not limited to: personalization of pledge forms for distribution, processing the payroll deduction portion of the Our Promise pledge form, collecting approved deductions, and distributing these deductions to PCFDs for payout to the individual nonprofits.
Please consider that administrative costs are a reality of fundraising for any nonprofit organization. Our Promise allows nonprofits to use more of their resources for providing services rather than conducting fundraising campaigns.
How do I donate to my favorite nonprofit if it is not listed in the Our Promise Donor Resource Guide?
Through Our Promise, you can donate to any 501(c)(3) nonprofit. If the nonprofit of your choice is not listed in the Donor Resource Guide, you may utilize the “Write in Organization” section of the pledge form. Required information includes the nonprofit’s name, tax ID number, and address.
Each donor is encouraged to independently review nonprofit information. The Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board has found the nonprofits listed in the Donor Resource Guide eligible to receive designated deductions based on certifications that the nonprofits comply with statutory requirements. The Board does not independently investigate the nonprofits other than to verify their Federal tax-exempt status and review their self-certifications of compliance with applicable California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Regulations. The Board’s determination is not an endorsement of any particular charity.
What options can a donor use to substantiate the charitable donation?
Donors have two options to substantiate charitable contributions for tax purposes:
Both a Form W-2 or official employer document showing the charitable withholding AND one of these: an original pledge form, carbon copy of a pledge form, photocopy of a pledge form, tear-off receipt from a pledge form, or official letter acknowledging the donation from or by the direction of a charitable organization. The amount acknowledged from the charity must be identical to the amount deducted on the employee’s Form W-2 OR
A cancelled check or other official bank record. If donors follow IRS Notice 2006-110 and provide the above documentation, they will definitely be complying with the law (considered “safe harbor”). If the above is not followed, donors still may be able to deduct their charitable contributions but should consult their tax advisor.
What about special event fundraisers (collecting cash for jeans day, office drawings, bazaar purchases, auctions, bake sales, etc. to fundraise for charity)?
Drawings have never been tax deductible. Additionally, many common fundraising activities (see IR 88-120) are questionable and only borderline acceptable since they do not qualify for the “No goods or services were provided in exchange for this contribution” stipulation. If employees want a tax deduction, they must have a receipt. A company can provide a receipt stating what the employee paid for and the date; however, the onus is on employees to determine tax deductibility with their tax advisor (issues: substantial value, intangible benefits, gift, fair market value, etc.)
How does a nonprofit apply to participate in the Our Promise Donor Resource Guide?
Nonprofits apply on an annual basis to have an opportunity to be listed in the Our Promise Donor Resource Guide. They can find more information here on how to get started, or can sign up to receive notification on when the application process will become available.
The Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board has found the nonprofits listed in the Donor Resource Guide eligible to receive designated deductions based on certifications that the nonprofits comply with statutory requirements. The Board does not independently investigate the nonprofits other than to verify their Federal tax-exempt status and review their self-certifications of compliance with applicable California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Regulations. The Board’s determination is not an endorsement of any particular charity.
Why is a Social Security Number (SSN) required for participation in Our Promise and how can a donor feel safe about providing this sensitive information?
Payroll deduction donations are processed through the State Controller’s Office. Your SSN is the unique identifier required to ensure your payroll deduction is applied to the correct pay warrant.
Donors should feel confident that their SSN is safe and secure for Our Promise. All campaign team members are required to sign a confidentiality agreement which includes amongst many things, the security of a donor’s SSN.
How do I continue my Our Promise payroll deduction when I retire?
By participating in Our Promise through payroll deduction, you have authorized the State Controller’s Office to deduct a set amount from each pay warrant. Retirees from state service no longer receive a pay warrant from the State Controller’s Office; therefore, their deduction terminates.
Retirees can have their contribution deducted monthly from their retirement check. Those who wish to participate, retirees and potential retirees, can download the Our Promise pledge form here and fill out the retiree section in box 7. The minimum donation for retired employees is $5/month.
How do I cancel my deduction?
A donor may delete their deduction to Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work at any time. Typically this occurs during the campaign when a donor completes a pledge form and checks box 5 to “Delete” their deduction. A Social Security Number and signature are required to authorize the State Controller’s Office to delete the deduction.
Once the campaign is complete, a donor may delete their deduction by sending a letter to the State Controller’s Office, including Social Security Number and signature authorizing the deletion. A template of this letter, including the State Controller’s Office address, is available in the Donor Resource section here .
Letters received by the State Controller’s Office before the 15th of the month will delete the deduction for that month’s pay warrant. Letters received after the 15th of the month will not be processed until the following month’s pay warrant.
Often during the campaign a current payroll deduction contributor will complete a pledge form by checking “Decline Not Interested at this Time”. This does not delete your deduction. Only forms checked as “Delete” and including an authorized signature will delete a current deduction.
How often are payments made by United Way to the designated nonprofits?
United Way makes payments to nonprofits donated to on a quarterly basis.
Are contributions through Our Promise pre or post tax?
Contributions made through payroll deduction are post tax. The donation is taken from the net pay, after the state takes out all required taxes, then the charitable contribution is deducted.
Can I donate to both international and national nonprofits through Our Promise?
Through the Our Promise campaign, donors are able to donate to national certified 501c3 nonprofits as well as one international option, 501c3 nonprofits in Canada. No other international nonprofits are able to be donated to through this campaign.
What happens if my donated to nonprofit is not a 501c3, or becomes ineligible to receive my donations (going out of business, losing their 501c3 status, etc.)?
When Our Promise pledge processing determines that a write-in organization does not have the required IRS 501c3 filing to receive charitable donations, they will contact the donor to determine what to do with their donation.
If a donor is contacted via email or phone, informing them of the organizations ineligible status, they are given the choice to redirect their funds to their PCFD, a different non-profit of their choice, or refunded their collected contribution amount. The donor is given one week to respond. If the donor does not respond, the designation is changed to the donor’s local United Way (PCFD).
If no email or phone number is available for the donor, a redirect letter is sent to the donor via USPS. The donor is given 2 weeks to respond. If the donor does not respond, the designation is changed to the donor’s local United Way (PCFD).
If the donor has no contact information or does not respond to the re-direct email/letter, than the portion designated to the ineligible organization is designated to the donor’s local United Way (PCFD).
How do I receive a tax letter from Our Promise?
Tax letters are provided on a request only basis. You can make a request to receive a tax letter by calling our toll-free Donor Hotline at 1-(888) TO-DO-GOOD, 1-(888) 863-6466 or by emailing email@example.com
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