Fundraising for Your Favorite Cause? Know the Ethics Rules Before You Do

Picture of table of items sold at a bake sale
9/22/2021
Last edited 9/22/2021

With the new school year starting combined with recent disaster relief efforts, many Department of the Interior employees might be inclined to engage in fundraising for a favorite school or charity, and such fundraising activities may include raffles, lotteries, bake sales and hoagie sales.  Before engaging in these activities, please be aware of the ethics rules concerning fundraising in the Federal workplace.

First of all, please know that the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) and special disaster relief solicitations approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management are generally the only authorized solicitation of employees for charitable fundraising in the Federal workplace.  The CFC rules governing acceptable fundraising activities by Federal employees are set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Beyond the CFC and approved disaster relief efforts, Federal employees who wish to engage in fundraising in a personal capacity in the Federal workplace must comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct, which state:

  1. Federal employees may not solicit funds or other support from a subordinate or prohibited source of his or her agency at any time for a favorite charity or organization;
  2. Federal employees also may not use or permit the use of their official title, position or authority to further any fundraising effort; and
  3. Employees may not use Government resources such as email and photocopier equipment, or Government time, in support of a private fundraising effort.

Additionally, please know that all forms of gambling activities, which includes raffles and lotteries, are prohibited at all times in facilities owned or leased by the Government, unless authorized by statute or regulation.  Also, Federal employees may not engage in gambling activities while on duty, even if they are off premises teleworking.

If you have any questions concerning this guidance or any other ethics topic, you are encouraged to contact an ethics counselor.  Contact information for the Department of the Interior’s Departmental Ethics Office and bureau ethics counselors is available at https://www.doi.gov/ethics/bureau-office-contacts.

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