Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Colorado Gives Day Q&A

By Angela Bevacqua

We hope that many of you have heard about Colorado Gives Day—a new initiative we launched in May. As the name implies, Colorado Gives Day is a specific day of the year—December 8—that we will be asking residents to support the work of Colorado nonprofits that is so important to our quality of life.

Here’s more about Colorado Gives Day directly from our president and CEO, Kenneth Eggeman, Ph.D.

AB: Why does Colorado need a special “giving day”?
KE: To spur interest, to spur excitement, to really help people become aware of the condition of philanthropy in Colorado. A “giving” day creates an opportunity for as many people as possible to become aware of the situation and do something about it.

AB: What is the condition of giving in our state?
KE: Based on the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s State of Giving study, Colorado ranks 38th in charitable contributions compared to other states. I know we can do better, especially given the fact that we have high earning power in this state.

AB: Where did the concept of a “giving day” come from?
KE: Our staff discussed what would be the best medium to help improve giving in Colorado. The concept of a “giving day” took on the most energy. A number of other states have attempted something similar. Each had its own unique characteristics and circumstances. One in particular was Minnesota who took this on and had a resounding response. Minnesota has always been recognized as a very philanthropic state.

AB: How will focusing on one day a year help Colorado nonprofits?
KE: It allows us to create awareness of giving in Colorado and encourage people to respond quickly. One “giving day” focuses on intention. It’s like having the fireworks so you can announce the parade.

AB: How are you asking people to donate on December 8, Colorado Gives Day?
KE: Through GivingFirst.org—our online giving website. It is important to provide an easy medium for giving. Using your credit card and going online is about as easy as you can make it. The expenses associated with online giving are significantly reduced compared to annual fund drives, capital campaigns and the kinds of fundraising that are typical for nonprofits. Community First Foundation and FirstBank are covering credit card fees so that100% of donations will go to the nonprofits.

AB: How much are you expecting to raise on December 8?
KE: One million dollars in one day. I believe very firmly that we can achieve that.

AB: Who else is supporting this event?
KE: We locked arms and became partners with FirstBank. They put $250,000 on the table to supplement gifts and another $50,000 to help cover credit card expenses on December 8. Comcast is also engaged in the community and wanted to help change the face of philanthropy in Colorado and become a media partner. Other partnerships are in development.

AB: December 8 is a long way off. What is happening in the next six months?
KE: We’re asking the nonprofits that now participate with GivingFirst.org to work with their donors to inspire interest and commitment to participate on Colorado Gives Day. We’re inviting more nonprofits to join GivingFirst.org. We’re also engaging the business world and asking for their endorsement or financial support. We’ll also be offering some informative online activities for both nonprofits and donors. Overall, we’re working on a buildup to December 8 when we’re going to have a lot of excitement and a very successful experience.

Angela Bevacqua is a communications specialist at Community First Foundation.

Click here to learn more about Colorado Gives Day.

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