5 CFR § 2635.808 - Fundraising activities.

§ 2635.808 Fundraising activities.

An employee may engage in fundraising only in accordance with the restrictions in part 950 of this title on the conduct of charitable fundraising in the Federal workplace and in accordance with paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.

(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section: (1) Fundraising means the raising of funds for a nonprofit organization, other than a political organization as defined in 26 U.S.C. 527(e), through:

(i) Solicitation of funds or sale of items; or

(ii) Participation in the conduct of an event by an employee where any portion of the cost of attendance or participation may be taken as a charitable tax deduction by a person incurring that cost.

(2) Participation in the conduct of an event means active and visible participation in the promotion, production, or presentation of the event and includes serving as honorary chairperson, sitting at a head table during the event, and standing in a reception line. The term does not include mere attendance at an event provided that, to the employee's knowledge, his attendance is not used by the nonprofit organization to promote the event. While the term generally includes any public speaking during the event, it does not include the delivery of an official speech as defined in paragraph (a)(3) of this section or any seating or other participation appropriate to the delivery of such a speech. Waiver of a fee for attendance at an event by a participant in the conduct of that event does not constitute a gift for purposes of subpart B of this part.


This section does not prohibit fundraising for a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group. However, there are statutory restrictions that apply to political fundraising. For example, under the Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1993, at 5 U.S.C. 7323(a), employees may not knowingly solicit, accept, or receive a political contribution from any person, except under limited circumstances. In addition, employees are prohibited by 18 U.S.C. 607 from soliciting or receiving political contributions in Federal offices, and, except as permitted by the Hatch Act Reform Amendments, are prohibited by 18 U.S.C. 602 from knowingly soliciting political contributions from other employees.

Example 1:
The Secretary of Transportation has been asked to serve as master of ceremonies for an All-Star Gala. Tickets to the event cost $150 and are tax deductible as a charitable donation, with proceeds to be donated to a local hospital. By serving as master of ceremonies, the Secretary would be participating in fundraising.

(3) Official speech means a speech given by an employee in his official capacity on a subject matter that relates to his official duties, provided that the employee's agency has determined that the event at which the speech is to be given provides an appropriate forum for the dissemination of the information to be presented and provided that the employee does not request donations or other support for the nonprofit organization. Subject matter relates to an employee's official duties if it focuses specifically on the employee's official duties, on the responsibilities, programs, or operations of the employee's agency as described in § 2635.807(a)(2)(i)(E), or on matters of Administration policy on which the employee has been authorized to speak.

Example 1:
The Secretary of Labor is invited to speak at a banquet honoring a distinguished labor leader, the proceeds of which will benefit a nonprofit organization that assists homeless families. She devotes a major portion of her speech to the Administration's Points of Light initiative, an effort to encourage citizens to volunteer their time to help solve serious social problems. Because she is authorized to speak on Administration policy, her remarks at the banquet are an official speech. However, the Secretary would be engaged in fundraising if she were to conclude her official speech with a request for donations to the nonprofit organization.
Example 2:
A charitable organization is sponsoring a two-day tennis tournament at a country club in the Washington, DC area to raise funds for recreational programs for learning disabled children. The organization has invited the Secretary of Education to give a speech on federally funded special education programs at the awards dinner to be held at the conclusion of the tournament and a determination has been made that the dinner is an appropriate forum for the particular speech. The Secretary may speak at the dinner and, under § 2635.204(g)(1), he may partake of the meal provided to him at the dinner.

(4) Personally solicit means to request or otherwise encourage donations or other support either through person-to-person contact or through the use of one's name or identity in correspondence or by permitting its use by others. It does not include the solicitation of funds through the media or through either oral remarks, or the contemporaneous dispatch of like items of mass-produced correspondence, if such remarks or correspondence are addressed to a group consisting of many persons, unless it is known to the employee that the solicitation is targeted at subordinates or at persons who are prohibited sources within the meaning of § 2635.203(d). It does not include behind-the-scenes assistance in the solicitation of funds, such as drafting correspondence, stuffing envelopes, or accounting for contributions.

Example 1:
An employee of the Department of Energy who signs a letter soliciting funds for a local private school does not “personally solicit” funds when 500 copies of the letter, which makes no mention of his DOE position and title, are mailed to members of the local community, even though some individuals who are employed by Department of Energy contractors may receive the letter.

(b) Fundraising in an official capacity. An employee may participate in fundraising in an official capacity if, in accordance with a statute, Executive order, regulation or otherwise as determined by the agency, he is authorized to engage in the fundraising activity as part of his official duties. When authorized to participate in an official capacity, an employee may use his official title, position and authority.

Example 1:
Because participation in his official capacity is authorized under part 950 of this title, the Secretary of the Army may sign a memorandum to all Army personnel encouraging them to donate to the Combined Federal Campaign.

(c) Fundraising in a personal capacity. An employee may engage in fundraising in his personal capacity provided that he does not:

(1) Personally solicit funds or other support from a subordinate or from any person:

(i) Known to the employee, if the employee is other than a special Government employee, to be a prohibited source within the meaning of § 2635.203(d); or

(ii) Known to the employee, if the employee is a special Government employee, to be a prohibited source within the meaning of § 2635.203(d)(4) that is a person whose interests may be substantially affected by performance or nonperformance of his official duties;

(2) Use or permit the use of his official title, position or any authority associated with his public office to further the fundraising effort, except that an employee who is ordinarily addressed using a general term of address, such “The Honorable,” or a rank, such as a military or ambassadorial rank, may use or permit the use of that term of address or rank for such purposes; or

(3) Engage in any action that would otherwise violate this part.

Example 1:
A nonprofit organization is sponsoring a golf tournament to raise funds for underprivileged children. The Secretary of the Navy may not enter the tournament with the understanding that the organization intends to attract participants by offering other entrants the opportunity, in exchange for a donation in the form of an entry fee, to spend the day playing 18 holes of golf in a foursome with the Secretary of the Navy.
Example 2:
An employee of the Merit Systems Protection Board may not use the agency's photocopier to reproduce fundraising literature for her son's private school. Such use of the photocopier would violate the standards at § 2635.704 regarding use of Government property.
Example 3:
An Assistant Attorney General may not sign a letter soliciting funds for a homeless shelter as “John Doe, Assistant Attorney General.” He also may not sign a letter with just his signature, “John Doe,” soliciting funds from a prohibited source, unless the letter is one of many identical, mass-produced letters addressed to a large group where the solicitation is not known to him to be targeted at persons who are either prohibited sources or subordinates.
[57 FR 35041, Aug. 7, 1992; 57 FR 48557, Oct. 27, 1992; 61 FR 50691, Sept. 27, 1996]