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Friday - 11/12/2010, 10:41am EST

Linda Washington, chair, Combined Federal Campaign for the National Capitol Area

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

Federal employees in the national capital area have donated more than $17 million so far with a month to go in this year's Combined Federal Campaign.

Agencies and organizers are trying a lot of new techniques in order to meet the year-end goal of $67 million by December 15th.

There are, of course, the usual pot luck meals, chili cookoffs, tailgate parties, and even at least one happy hour held to raise funds, but this year may be best remembered as the Year of the Theme.

The Transportation Department's Linda Washington, who is also the chair of the Combined Federal Campaign for the National Capitol Area, told Federal News Radio that Housing and Urban Development is using a cruising theme, while the FCC and Energy Department are focusing on football. The EPA "went to the Oscars," said Washington, and the Farm Credit Administration's effort has a Mister Rogers theme.

Themes aside, said Washington, "individuals give when they're asked by individuals that they know, and so it's everybody's responsibility to really ask."

Even agency leaderships are bringing the campaign down to a more personal level, said Washington, by sharing personal stories about how charities have helped them. "We're seeing a more personal touch to the campaign this year," she said.

Overall, Washington said "we're feeling very good about the progress," towards the overall goal even in a tough economy.

"The present economic climate hasn't really stopped our federal workers from helping those in need," said Washington. After going to most agencies, she said she has "seen the compassion and the caring of federal workers and I've also come face to face with charities who are helping as well, and when you take that combination together, it is just a powerful, powerful community of giving."

If you'd like to join that community, Washington recommends donating online." It's cheaper, greener, and it's easy, she said.