Tuesday, January 25, 2011

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 first call came in at 4:30 in the morning and the last call at 10:30 p.m. There were calls from donors wanting to participate, to help, to be a part of something. We took calls from donors who had never used the Internet to purchase something, but they were going to donate on Dec 8th. One of my co-workers helped a woman who was 84, her husband was 90, and they wanted to support their charity.

It was so much fun to watch the dollars coming in. Mid-morning the website slowed down because there were so many people accessing it. Our amazing partner, CiviCore, monitored traffic to minimize any issues before or as they happened. We wanted to ensure that the donor experience was the best possible and so prior to the day we tested to see potential strains on the system as the load increased. CiviCore told me that with all this testing we would be able to easily do $8 million. They were right!

I loved watching social media – Twitter and Facebook were flying with nonprofits telling their stories. We saw several donors who gave to multiple organizations – one donor tweeted, “It was fun 2. I went with intention of giving to 1 place, just kept adding to my cart!”

The impact on nonprofits has been great to hear – one agency saw 44% new donors, still another had 70% first-time online donors, several witnessed their biggest single fundraising event, and over and over again I heard nonprofits say they met their goal for the year so the rest of the year will be a great start for a new year.

I wish I could say we were still basking in the glow but there is still work to be done. It is a new year and there are many amazing nonprofits that need to become participants on GivingFirst.org!