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(Enlarge) "Good economy, bad economy, the needs don't stop. In fact, they're greater than ever." - Sgt. 1st Class Bryant Maude, Fort Meade CFC coordinator

After three months of campaigning, Fort Meade's Combined Federal Campaign coordinators can boast a successful year of fundraising for the world's largest workplace-giving campaign.

With donations still trickling in, installation coordinator Sgt. 1st Class Bryant Maude said the final count will be around $525,000 -- achieving 131 percent of its goal determined at the campaign's launch in October.

Through the annual campaign, federal employees and service members can donate to more than 4,000 international, national and local charities through one-time donations and payroll deductions.

While Fort Meade's stated goal was $400,000 -- $50,000 more than last year -- Maude expected to exceed that amount from the start.

"I believed that Fort Meade should do more than that," he said "On my tracker, I was always tracking half a million dollars ... I always believed we could."

Amy Bahel, Fort Meade's loaned executive from the Chesapeake Bay Area CFC, said she initially didn't think $500,000 was attainable, but Maude's "energy, enthusiasm and passion for the CFC" spurred the outpouring of donations.

"Over the past four months, I patiently watched the cards to play out right. Around the middle of December I knew that Sergeant First Class Maude was going to deliver on his goal," Bahel said. "He was going to prove me wrong."

With the campaign over but final donations still coming in, Maude said around 1,700 people donated to the 2011 CFC, with pledges ranging from $1 to thousands.

Maude credits the campaign's success to the motivation of the units and their coordinators. With the exception of the new Defense Media Activity, Maude said, all 90 units who participated this year also contributed last year. But this year, several units drastically increased their donations, including Navy Information Operations Command Maryland, which donated $40,000 after contributing $8,900 in 2010.

"Our goal from the onset was to engage as many individual units as we could and to train them in a way to expect to increase numbers," Maude said.

During this year's campaign, Maude heavily pushed the use of online pledges, which he said could have had an impact on the increase in contributions. An average paper pledge is around $167, he said, while online pledges are typically more than $400.

In addition, units sponsored creative events to raise funds and awareness of the campaign. DMA held a chili cook-off to raise more than $600 while the leaders of the Defense Security Service raced on tricycles to raise more then $400.

Installation CFC coordinators also sponsored a bowling tournament and a pumpkin carving contest.

"From a money perspective, it isn't a lot of money but it builds excitement," Maude said. "Every one will ultimately walk away and say, 'Hey, that pledge slip is on my desk. I better get that done.' "

Bahel attributed Fort Meade's success to Maude; Capt. David Blumenthal, Headquarters Command Battalion CFC representative; and Team Meade for their commitment and "for having the courage to run crazy events like tricycle races and pumpkin carving contests, and for making the campaign personal and fun."

Fort Meade's CFC contribution will be combined with several other government agencies in the CBACFC territory. For the past five years, the CBACFC has raised more than $6 million annually.

So far this year, the organization has raised a total of $6,591,755, or 98 percent of its goal. Bahel said the campaign has never been this close to its goal at this point in the campaign and predicts the CBACFC will surpass its $6.7 million goal.

"Good economy, bad economy, the needs don't stop. In fact, they're greater than ever," Maude said. "There's a lot of charities that will be happy next year to receive that extra money."

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