Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Who Will You Donate To on Colorado Gives Day?

By Dana Rinderknecht, GivingFirst Manager

I can’t believe that it is almost here. After over a year of planning, we are working on reviewing new participant profiles and ensuring that current participant profiles are up to date for Colorado Gives Day. What an amazing, amazing group of nonprofits we have on GivingFirst.org.

As I have been reviewing and updating profiles, I have started the thought process on how I will donate on Colorado Gives Day. First, of course, I will donate to the three main nonprofits who I give to on at least an annual basis. My old favorites! These are the ones that have impacted my life and I will always love and support.

But who else can I support? This is a great time to look at the impact of other nonprofits  in our community. Who else speaks to my heart but whom I have not personally been involved?

Since I have the unique pleasure of reviewing nonprofit information for my job, I always start with looking at their mission. What do they do in the community? Then of course, as a well trained donor, I look at their financials. It has been tough for our sector, as it has for so many others. I look to see their solvency numbers and in general where they receive their revenue dollars. For me, I like the organizations that have high foundation and corporation support but low individual donors. That’s because I view them as a well vetted program -- hence their funder support -- but the smaller revenue from individuals indicates they are most likely a well kept secret in our community, and so they are using GivingFirst.org as one of their ways to get their message to the general public.

Then I move into programs to see how they do their work in their specific community. I love it when they put in budget amounts because I love to see what each program costs and how well they plan their money, but not all groups do so; this is just a nice to know for me. My favorite part of the programs is the evidence of success because this is where a nonprofit can tell a story about someone impacted by this program. I love to read the stories.

Finally, I look at their Needs Statement to see what the agencies top 5 needs are. This is a great place to learn what they see as necessary for their agency. It is not always just dollar related. Sometimes I see food and clothing donations or volunteer projects or other ways they need our help.

GivingFirst.org is a wealth of great information. It is all there for each of us to look at in our own individual ways. Now I am biased, but I think this is one of the absolutely coolest tools in Colorado to learn about our nonprofit community.

Off to see who else I will donate to on Colorado Gives Day!  DECEMBER 8th!

2 comments:

  1. Dana, I LOVE this post! As someone who both works with nonprofits and their funders/investors every day, and who also tries to be strategic about my donations, I love reading about how others think through how and where to invest. Thanks for sharing your story. I can't wait until December 8 to watch Colorado give $1 million. Janine Vanderburg

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  2. Very Nice Article.
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