By Shawn Williams
The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent transition to telework introduced rapid and unexpected variables to how the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) participated in and contributed to the 2020 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). The shift from in-person events to virtual meeting spaces fostered a reimagining of how OBO could present the CFC message bureau-wide. By embracing virtual fundraising and strategic event planning, OBO significantly contributed to the Department of State’s total donations for the 2020 campaign.
Virtual events—such as OBO’s Adapted Reading of “A Christmas Carol” and “Lunchtime Trivia”—formed the core of the bureau’s CFC fundraising strategy and proved to be an effective alternative to in-person engagement. Advertisements were also published in OBO’s bi-weekly “Telework Times” newsletter, where employees were encouraged to participate in #GivingTuesday and other initiatives such as the CFC National Capital Area “Lemon Face Challenge.” Messages from the bureau’s director emphasized the importance of CFC and served as reminders to donate.
OBO also created a 2020 CFC Events Stream Channel which was shared with all Department employees and was instrumental in spreading awareness of the different initiatives underway within the bureau. As a reminder of the many causes that the CFC contributes to, OBO spearheaded a “CFC Cause of the Week,” published in their daily “OBO Broadcast” email. These initiatives ultimately allowed OBO to overcome challenges posed by increased telework and helped the Department raise more than $1 million for the 2020 CFC.
Shawn Williams is an information technology project manager in the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations.