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Showing posts from 2011

What a Difference a Day Makes!

By Marla J. Williams, president and CEO of Community First Foundation

Community First Foundation, FirstBank, media sponsors, and hundreds of nonprofits work all year to pull off a giving day that makes a difference.
In the months leading up to Colorado Gives Day, we’ve been awed by the current of energy building in Colorado. In the last few weeks, who could go a day—an hour--without hearing something about December 6?
A year ago, when we launched the concept, we wanted to enhance giving in Colorado. What we got—what we all got—was so much more than that: community engagement and spirit; nonprofit collaboration; people wanting to be a part of something bigger; and a unified, singular drive to help each other by giving.
And the donors were unstoppable.Despite some website glitches, donors were determined to make their gifts – lots of gifts!More than 52,000 donations flooded GivingFirst.org to the tune of $12 million. That’s an increase of 150 percent over last year’s 20,000 donations.
Th…

CiviCore Gets GivingFirst.org Ready for Colorado Gives Day

Recently we met up with Charles “Chic” Naumer, co-founder of CiviCore, the company that programs the online giving technology for GivingFirst.org. We appreciate the ideas they share to help us enhance the site. Their work and dedication to GivingFirst is indispensable, and we are grateful to them for being the technology sponsor of Colorado Gives Day this year.

What is CiviCore? Our company builds web-based database applications for the social sector. This includes databases for managing volunteers, donors and client outcomes. Our products are customized for each client’s particular need.

When did CiviCore start and where are you located? My business partner, Rich Rainaldi, and I co-founded CiviCore in 2000. Our office is in the heart of downtown Denver and we have over 350 clients in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America and Australia.

How did you get involved with Community First Foundation? Community First Foundation hired us four years ago to build the GivingFirst platform. It h…

Support Local Through a Community Foundation!

This week is Community Foundations week, and we met up with Marla J. Williams, president and CEO of Community First Foundation, to tell us about the value of these organizations.


Marla, this week the country is celebrating community foundations. Can you tell us what a community foundation is? A foundation like Community First Foundation is the vehicle through which a community can come together to create and pool charitable resources and address needs in a specific geographic area.
What region does Community First Foundation serve? We make grants to 501(c)(3) organizations in the 7-county Metro Denver area.
What is its mission? To improve quality of life by increasing community generosity and involvement.
How many grants did the Foundation award last year? Last year we granted $13.4 million to nonprofits in the Denver area. Recently we’ve granted to organizations such as the Denver Office of Drug Strategy to reduce substance abuse, the Jefferson County Department of Health to fund cervical c…

GivingFirst.org: Fast and Furious Growth

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist
We are just under one month away until Colorado Gives Day, and the energy at Community First Foundation is frenetic!
Dana, our GivingFirst manager, has been sequestered in her office, reviewing and approving hundreds of nonprofits who are joining the site since September. She juggles approving the profiles while answering lots of calls and emails each day. (Stay tuned to this blog for the final number of nonprofits participating in CO Gives Day!)
Bryce, our project coordinator, is pouring over nonprofit documents that need to be in order before a new profile goes live.



Caitlin, our new communications manager, is a blur as she darts through the office, getting incredible media coverage lined up for the weeks leading up to the big day.

I am fielding numerous emails about marketing tools and planning for a January Colorado Gives Day celebration for nonprofit participants (details TBA)-- where High Five prize winners will be announced. Our …

Why I get excited about GivingFirst

By Dana Rinderknecht, GivingFirst Manager I wanted to title this “Why I love GivingFirst.org.” But then I wondered if it is wrong for the person responsible for the website to tell you why she loves it.
This time of year, for the second year in a row, is just crazy at Community First Foundation. Things are extremely exciting as we get everything ready for December 6, our second Colorado Gives Day. My main job right now is to review all of the newly submitted profiles for those who would like to become GivingFirst participants. For those of you who have no idea what that means, let me give you a quick overview. Each nonprofit that you find on GivingFirst.org has gone through a process of entering information about what exactly they do. This information includes who sits on their board of directors and then statistics about that board, such as what percent support the organization financially. It also includes information on each of their programs, including how they measure success and w…

High-Five Prizes for Nonprofits: Earn Your Way to the Top

By Angela Bevacqua, Communications Specialist
In our last blog we talked about Bonus Bucks—$1,000 prizes that will be awarded on Colorado Gives Day from a random drawing of donor names.
But we’re also offering another kind of prize. Prizes nonprofits can earn—and use as goals for their organization.
These little windfalls of cash—worth $5,000 each--are called High-Five prizesand are generously funded by corporate partner FirstBank. 12 prizes will be awarded, adding $60,000 more to the pot of Colorado Gives Day prize money.
So how can a nonprofit win one of these prizes?
First you need to know that there are four categoriesof prizes. Within each category there will be three winners.
The Prize Categories are: Most Donors on Colorado Gives Day (3 winners)Most Dollars Raised on Colorado Gives Day (3 winners)Largest Percent Increase in Dollars over CO Gives Day 2010 (3 winners)Most Dollars Raised Through GivingFirst Fundraising Pages on Colorado Gives Day (3 winners) To select the winners, C…

Get Lucky with Bonus Bucks

By Angela Bevacqua, Communications Specialist

Who doesn't like prizes--especially when they're cash?
For the second annual Colorado Gives Day—Tuesday, December 6—we’re sweetening the pie. Not only will we continue the Incentive Fund ($300,000 fully funded by FirstBank), but we’re adding lots of $1,000 and $5,000 cash prizes to help Colorado nonprofits.

Some of these prizes are earned and some are the luck of the draw. Here’s what you need to know about the “lucky” prizes:

Bonus Bucks
Bonus Bucks are $1,000 cash prizes that give donors a chance to win money for the nonprofits they love. At least once per hour over the 24-hour course of Colorado Gives Day we will randomly draw a donor’s name. The nonprofit this person donated to in that hour will receive the cash prize. Our goal is to award at least 24 of these $1,000 prizes.

What if a donor supports multiple organizations in one transaction? We can isolate each donation for the drawing.

How can a donor win? If she’s up at odd ti…

Denver Kids, Inc. Heats Up Fundraising Pages

Are you ready to put on your fundraising hat and really work it?

In our last blog, Dana Rinderknecht, manager of GivingFirst.org, introduced Fundraising Pages. These are customizable web pages available on GivingFirst.org that help individuals raise money for the nonprofits they believe in.
I met up with Michelle Maldonado, the development coordinator at Denver Kids, Inc., a nonprofit that helps Denver Public School students who live in higher risk environments to successfully complete high school, pursue post-secondary options and become contributing members of the community. Michelle shared with me how Fundraising Pages work for them.
Denver Kids, Inc. is involved in a few big events a year to raise money for their mission—the Kaiser Permanente Colfax Marathon and Summer Solstice Golf Marathon. Staff and other supporters run the race and golf for donations that go to Denver Kids, Inc. Until this year they have used paper letters to get donations and sorted through manual checks.

Thi…

Fundraising Pages put the FUN in raising money for your favorite nonprofit!

By Dana Rinderknecht, GivingFirst Manager
Have you ever been so touched by a nonprofit organization that you wanted to tell everyone you know about their amazing work? Have you ever wondered how you could impact the nonprofit that is closest to your heart? Well, have I got an idea for you!
Recently we introduced Fundraising Pages on GivingFirst.org. What is a Fundraising Page, you ask? This is an opportunity for you to raise money for your favorite charity. Sometimes there's only so much good you can do by yourself. That's why we've made it easy for you to raise money for your favorite charity. By creating a personalized fundraising page on GivingFirst, you can enlist all of the people you're connected with to support your cause.

The example I always give is let’s suppose I decide to run a marathon – such as the Colfax Marathon in Denver. Since this is a huge commitment for me and something I would want everyone I know to know about and to support me in my endeavor, I wo…

Colorado Gives Day Report: What Does the Data Tell Us?

By Angela Bevacqua, Communications Specialist

98% of nonprofits received a donation.
That’s my favorite statistic from the Colorado Gives Day 2010 Giving Report we released today. It tells me that virtually all of the 539 nonprofits participating in the initiative got something out of it. The nonprofits averaged more than $15,000 in donations, with the median amount more than $4,500 per organization.
I also like the statistic that 83% of nonprofits reported that they acquired new donors. We’ve been told by organizations such as Boulder County Aids project that 45% of their donors on CO Gives Day were new. Women’s Bean Project reported 58% new.
The number of website visits to GivingFirst.org on Colorado Gives Day –nearly 24,000—is impressive, too. It shows us that GivingFirst.org is a growing resource for people who want to learn about local charities.

And although there is a concentration of both nonprofits and people in the Denver metro area, people from 75% of the counties in Colorado…

Arvada Residents Support Favorite Causes Online

Chris and Paul Duncan are longtime residents of Arvada who donated to their favorite charities online this past December. Paul works in a forensic engineering business and Chris is a personal trainer. They have four children, and strong commitment to philanthropy. Here’s what they told us about their experience with Colorado Gives Day:

How did you learn about Colorado Gives Day?
We learned about it through the informative flyers from Work Options for Women.

How do you typically make your donations?
We make numerous year-end donations, with about half of them online and half via check. There are advantages to both, but donating online is certainly quick and efficient. It’s a simple process that saves us a lot of time making donations to multiple organizations.

What organizations have you supported recently?
We donated to a number of organizations on Colorado Gives Day. A few of these were:

Work Options for Women because they assist women in helping themselves. They use the philosophy that “te…

Colorado Gives Day: Reflections from Nonprofits

By Angela Bevacqua, Communications Specialist

Two months later and we’re still learning from Colorado Gives Day 2010. As we pour through data and listen to the experiences of our nonprofit friends and donors, we gain new insights about fundraising and philanthropy in Colorado.

At a recent gathering of our Nonprofit Advisory Committee—a varied group of GivingFirst nonprofits that help us improve the program—we heard these reflections about The Day:

Dan Hanley, director of development for Boulder County AIDS Project, said that 45% of their donations on Dec. 8 were from new donors. The agency raised more than $20,000 from 178 donations after a whirlwind of events. Dan said there are limitless ways in which you can promote your agency for Colorado Gives Day. They began soliciting support in the late-night hours of Dec. 7 at a bar in Denver, then moved on to the Denver Diner in the a.m., then several coffee shops in Boulder, and ended with a standing-room-only concert at the Boulder Draft …

Colorado Gives Day: A Stunning Success! $8.4 Million Raised in One Day

By Dana Rinderknecht, GivingFirst Manager

WOW! How time flies when it is the Giving Season! We are just now coming down from an amazing high, and I thought it would be fun to share some of the information we have gathered and open up a forum where others might share their experiences.
For me, Colorado Gives Day was a renewal in faith in the people of Colorado. For the past three years, I have been talking about the statistics that Colorado Nonprofit Association’s Generosity Project brought to light that said Coloradoans do not give like the average American gives, ranking 38th in overall giving. I have spoken about how I believed GivingFirst.org can change this statistic by giving the people of Colorado a place to learn about the phenomenal nonprofits operating in their neighborhoods.
On December 8th, you stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the ball park! 8.4 million dollars! Unbelievable!

For me, it was an amazing 24 hours. Yes, I was up from midnight until midnight. The fir…