Friday, October 14, 2011

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 what are their short and long term goals. It is a great process for nonprofits to go through to evaluate themselves. I hear from those working through the process that it has been a great way for them to reflect on where they are. From new employees, I hear it is a great way for them to learn about the organization.

Once a nonprofit has entered all their information they click on a button that says ”Submit for Review.” Then it becomes my job to look at this information and ensure that it is complete. I also pull information from up to three years of 990s so that donors can get a complete picture of their financials.
This is why I love GivingFirst.  We have created a site where nonprofits can enter information about what they do and then donors can go in and review it. We are not judging the nonprofits. We want the donors to make up their own minds. We want donors to go in and learn as much as they can about the nonprofits in their community doing the work that fuels their passion.

Every day I get to do that. I get to review the information that nonprofits put into their profiles, see that is it complete but also see what really amazing things are happening in communities around the state. Now, I am the first to say that there are nonprofits on our site that don’t match my passions. But I love reading and learning about the work they do, putting them out there for donors to learn more about what they do.
I also am excited with the tools we have created to give donors more ways to give to the nonprofits. Do they know that they can make a recurring donation? That means that they can come onto the site and chose a favorite nonprofit(s) and give to them weekly, monthly or whatever works into their budget.

We have also created fundraising pages. I call these the “I’m going to run a marathon" pages. This is a way for me to raise money for my favorite charity from my friends and family. I can do this if I do actually run a marathon or if it is my birthday or because it is Colorado Gives Day! Finally, I can also purchase a gift card for a friend, family member or business associate. This allows them to choose their favorite nonprofit. What a great way to thank those who support you in what you do while being philanthropic.
So that is why I love GivingFirst.org. What a great resource! If I do say so my biased self!

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