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With Sincere Thanks

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

You rock, Colorado! I am overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends and neighbors who opened their hearts and made Colorado Gives Day a record-breaking success!
In just 24-hours, 1,442 nonprofits raised more than $20 million dollars through nearly 88,000 donations. Yes, that’s right – more than $20 million! Much as I loved watching the ticker on the website whir with generosity (and I did love it), the real success of Colorado Gives Day is not the big dollars, but the big impact those dollars will have when 1,442 organizations put them to work!
I am a believer in the adage that the scent of the rose lingers on the hand that gives it. It gives me a sense of well-being that goes beyond the numbers of the day when I think of the hope, the compassion and the joy that motivated those 88,000 donations. It tells me that, as a community, we’re going to be okay because we care.

So thank you, Colorado.

Thank you, everyone w…

Ho! Ho! Ho! Be Santa for a Day

By Dana Rinderknecht, Director of Online Giving

It’s that time of year again! Time to think like Santa and check the list! Not the naughty or nice list, but the Colorado Gives Day Nonprofit list. Have you thought about who you will give to this year? We have over 1,400 nonprofits to choose from this year on ColoradoGives.org and they are doing amazing work.

I always start my list with my favorites – the nonprofits I have given to every year since the beginning of Colorado Gives Day. I check to make sure they are still participating (if I haven’t gotten a zillion emails from them reminding me to schedule my donation!). I get on ColoradoGives.org and do a quick check of their profiles, looking specifically at what’s new – just to checking to see if I missed anything they are doing. Also, I do like to check their financials – the graphs on their Overview Tab and then the details on their Financials Tab. Then I will do a quick check on their Programs and Management Tab. I do like to see w…

Colorado Gives Day & Social Media – Quick Tips for Your Nonprofit

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator, Community First Foundation
December 10, 2013 marks the fourth annual Colorado Gives Day! As always, our goal is not only to help raise millions of dollars for fabulous Colorado nonprofits, but to help you engage with donors via social media (last year, Facebook was the #1 referring site to ColoradoGives.org).

Here are a few tips to help your social media on Colorado Gives Day be a success:

Begin byliking our ColoradoGives Facebook page and/or following us on Twitter – not only will you be privy to great inside information, but you’ll also be part of a larger conversation involving over 1,400 nonprofits throughout the state and thousands of donors.Be sure to check out our Social Media Guidelines & Sample Copy for Colorado Gives Day 2013 for tips, tools and suggested copy to use before and on the big day.Tag ColoradoGives.org on your Facebook and Twitter pages by using the @ symbol in front of the name in your post. By typing@ColoradoGives, a…

New Communications Director Offers Media Tips

By Kayla Arnesen, APR, Director of Strategic Communications, Community First Foundation
I am pleased to have joined Community First Foundation in October as director of strategic communications. In this role, I am responsible for the Foundation’s marketing, branding and public relations activities. I couldn’t be happier to be part of such a wonderful organization dedicated to strengthening Colorado nonprofits and inspiring philanthropy.
Tips for working with the media
Nonprofit organizations are all about people and providing services to help improve lives. Therefore, the nonprofit community is in a great position to feed the media’s need for human interest stories.  The key to success is knowing when your ideas are newsworthy. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you approach the media:
Is my idea really newsworthy? If you saw the same story about another agency, would it grab your attention?  Does my idea have drama or solve a dilemma? The media loves stories about people …

FirstBank sets $100,000 aside for Nonprofit Prizes: CO Gives Day "Ups" its Giving Game

By Jamie Tafoya, FirstBank

FirstBank has been a major sponsor of Colorado Gives Day, the 24-hour online fundraising initiative created by Community First Foundation, since its inception. It’s an important program and it’s raised more than $37 million ($37 MILLION!) for thousands of nonprofits in Colorado since 2010. But even though Colorado Gives Day is about increasing philanthropy and giving back, we recognize that people want to give to causes they’re passionate about. That’s why we need as many nonprofits, across many different categories and industries, to participate.

As a special incentive for nonprofits to get involved and become a part of the Colorado Gives Day festivities, FirstBank has included—in its $600,000 sponsorship— a $100,000 in cash prizes to be awarded to nonprofit organizations. Pretty cool, huh?

The prizes will consist of ten $1,000 prizes and 18 prizes worth $5,000 each.
Here’s the fun part: The $1,000 prizes will be awarded via online trivia questions on FirstB…

Align Your Business with Colorado Gives Day & Become a Sponsor!

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation
So many people come together to make Colorado Gives Day happen each year. At Community First Foundation we are delighted to see more and more people and organizations become involved with this initiative to increase philanthropy throughout our state. Colorado Gives Day is a true community effort and the numbers show it is working. Did you know that local businesses can align themselves with the event, too? We offer local businesses an opportunity to encourage the philanthropic spirit in Colorado and involve employees and customers in a cause that benefits the people they serve.
Sponsorship Levels & Benefits A business can become a sponsor and reap the benefits starting at $1,000. Depending on the level of financial support, benefits range from a presence on the Colorado Gives Day website and other materials, recognition in the news, all the way up to a custom “badge” (digital graphic) that can be used …

GivingFirst Is ColoradoGives: Reflections on Impermanence

By Bryce Wilkinson, Senior Online Giving Specialist,
Community First Foundation

History
Impermanence. Everything we encounter is subject to change. It’s one common aspect of conditioned existence and our site is no exception. When Community First Foundation launched an online giving tool in May 2007, we decided to call it GivingFirst.org. The site was initially focused on nonprofits in the seven county Denver metro area, and by December 2007 it had 173 nonprofits listed on it. As more nonprofits expressed an interest in joining, we started to expand our geographic eligibility requirements, and by the end of 2012 GivingFirst.org featured 1,258 nonprofits from across Colorado. Since the site had expanded well beyond its initial stages in many ways, we started to reflect on the site’s name and whether it still represented what the site had become and was continuing to evolve into; namely, a place for all Coloradans to learn about and support the local nonprofits they loved.

GivingFirst.org …

Fundraising Pages: A Tool for Success

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator, Community First Foundation

Did you know that you can maximize your success on Colorado Gives Day or any day with our ColoradoGives Fundraising Pages campaign tool?
Fundraising Pages can be used by your supporters to raise money for your organization by creating their own fundraising page and sending it out to their network.
Take, for example, Beka Wilson who recently shared her organization’s (Conservation Colorado) success on Colorado Gives Day in our most recent webinar, Maximizing Success with Fundraising Pages. Of the many tips Beka shared, here are some of the highlights:
Make it easy for your supporters to fundraise for your organization by creating templates for them to use (such as letters, emails and posts for social media) to promote their page.Ask a volunteer or intern to create Fundraising Pages for board or staff members who would like to support your organization but may not have the time to create a page themselves. Be sure to us…

Community First Foundation Named Outstanding Foundation

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation

It was a big “gong” moment at our office when we learned that we were named Outstanding Foundation this year for National Philanthropy Day - Colorado. We keep a large gong in the center of our office which is used to gather the troops for exciting announcements. We drop everything and run towards the sound of the gong.

National Philanthropy Day is a special day set aside nationwide each November to recognize the people and organizations who donate their time, talent, and financial resources to worthy causes. Twelve individuals and organizations will be honored this November in Denver, including FirstBank—our Colorado Gives Day corporate partner. We are in great company.

 And the honorees are:
• Outstanding Large Business: FirstBank Holding Company (Lakewood)
• Outstanding Small Business: Snooze, An A.M. Eatery (Denver)
• Outstanding Foundation: Community First Foundation (Arvada)
• Outstanding Philanthrop…

Lifespan of a Facebook Post…and More!

By Angela Bevacqua
Senior Communications Specialist
Community First Foundation

Did you know that the average lifespan of a Facebook post is 3 hours? Julie Urlaub, a social media enthusiast at Taiga Company, shared this and other interesting stats during our recent Social Media for Social Good webinar for Colorado Gives Day.
Julie was recently voted the 10th most influential sustainability voice on Twitter by The Guardian Sustainable Business, and she has a lot to share about the value and techniques for using social media to raise awareness and build a brand.
Here are some quick takeaways from the webinar:
Twitter The average tweet has a lifespan of 2 hoursPosts with links increase engagement by as much as 92%Using hashtags like #cogivesday are a great way to see ALL the conversations about a specific topic—not just the ones posted on your own feed.
Facebook The engagement ratio or “talking about this” metric is more important than your number of “Likes” because it shows that people are actua…

The Colorado Gives Day Nonprofit Toolkit

By Angela Bevacqua, Sr. Communications Specialist
Colorado Gives Day is approaching. Don’t know where to start? Want to make a great impression? Need a helping hand?

These are some of the reasons every nonprofit participating in Colorado Gives Day should check out the Nonprofit Toolkit.
Linked through the Colorado Gives Day landing page, the Toolkit has great resources to get your nonprofit up and running for the big day on December 10. Anyone can access the page—such as staff, volunteers, board members, vendors—who is working on the event. Make sure they know about it!
Here are highlights of tools you should know about.
Learn the Basics Intro VideosEveryone working on this event should watch the short Colorado Gives Day Key Facts video and read the FAQs for Nonprofits. Share with staff and board so they have a solid overview of Colorado Gives Day. Coming soon are videos on Best Practices and Fundraising Pages.FAQs for NonprofitsThe FAQs provide in-depth det…

How a Bill Becomes a Law

By Dana Rinderknecht, Director of Online Giving, Community First Foundation
I admit it. I loved School House Rock as a kid, especially the one where a bill becomes a law (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nKyihoV9z8). This year, thanks to the work of the Colorado Nonprofit Association and in collaboration with Mile High United Way, Community First Foundation was a part of passing a bill into a law. HB1190 became a law on May 3rd, when Governor Hickenlooper signed it.
What is HB1190? Well, according to the legislative website: …allowing a taxpayer to make a donation to an intermediary nonprofit organization for the Enterprise Zone Contribution Tax Credit
What this means is that donors can make donations via a nonprofit such as Mile High United Way or ColoradoGives.org to pre-approved Enterprise Zone organizations.  Donors then receive the additional tax credit available.
The process to pass a bill was almost exactly like they talk about in the video. It started as an idea after we worked wit…

Your ColoradoGives.org Profile: Look & Sound Great Online

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation

Time to Update
During open enrollment each year—from March to August—we remind nonprofits featured on ColoradoGives.org (formerly GivingFirst.org) that it’s time to update their profiles. We ask you to do this annually so donors know that the info shared on the site is current and reliable. And we have a handy dandy guide to help you know what to update, along with suggestions on when to do it. Required updates include noting changes to your management, financials, and programs.

Content & Presentation: Both are Important
Content is the meat-and-potatoes of your ColoradoGives profile, but presentation is important, too. Many people come to ColoradoGives.org to “shop” for a nonprofit to support, especially on Colorado Gives Day. Your profile is like a digital brochure; you need to give it the same amount of attention you’d give a printed piece. Here are some tips for both sounding good and looking good on…

Eating the Elephant – Tips for Updating Your ColoradoGives Profile Effectively and Efficiently

We are happy to introduce our new Online Giving Coordinator, Lisa Lujan. Lisa joins us after working in development at Firefly Autism, an organization featured on ColoradoGives.org. She brings a perspective from the other side of the fence as a nonprofit—helping us understand the needs of nonprofits even better.  Community First Foundation and the ColoradoGives Team
Updating a profile can seem like a daunting task, but here are just a few tips to help make the process easier in order for you to create a stellar ColoradoGives.org profile in a reasonable amount of time.
Use the Profile Update Schedule (http://goo.gl/kV2S6) – A high level overview of ColoradoGives.org profiles, this document gives a summary of the most important aspects of your profile to update as well as a suggested timeline of when to update each section.How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Rather than try to do the entire profile in one rushed day, split it up. Carve out a little time regularly. Whether th…

GivingFirst Becomes ColoradoGives

By Dana Rinderknecht, Director of Online Giving

 What’s in a name? Is it reflective of what we do? Does the name GivingFirst.org really fit our program and all that this program has become to Colorado?
These are questions we at Community First Foundation started thinking about over a year ago as we prepared to refresh and update our website.

We have been slowly expanding our program across the state, but still have a reputation as a Denver-focused program. So, we stepped back and looked at how everything fit together and how it represented what we are doing.

Friday, March 1st, it is with great excitement that we formally announce that we are changing the name of our amazing online giving program to ColoradoGives.org!

ColoradoGives.org truly reflects the local identity of the people served by and engaged with the website. Promoting the charitable opportunities in our state, ColoradoGives.org celebrates the people who have made a difference to the tune of more than $50 million in online …

Colorado Gives Day Report: Two Key Findings Your Nonprofit Needs to Know

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation

Each year, after Colorado Gives Day, we compile a very comprehensive Report to measure results and learn about Colorado’s online giving patterns. In addition to basic results--like # of donations, donors and participating nonprofits--we measure year-to-year growth, results according to organization type, and more.

Findings from our Report can help you build your online giving strategy. Here are two that should mean something to every nonprofit involved with GivingFirst and Colorado Gives Day:

Key Finding #1:
91% of nonprofits participating in Colorado Gives Day 2012 reported at least one new donor. (According to 84% of surveyed nonprofits.) This means that not only is Colorado Gives Day a way to draw in brand new supporters, but you also need to think about how to retain them.

Draw them in: We know that many people come to GivingFirst.org to learn about nonprofits that align with their interests. Have you lo…

Pulling it All Together: Calculating the Impact of GivingFirst.org and Colorado Gives Day

By Bryce Wilkinson, Senior Online Giving Specialist

Another Colorado Gives Day is behind us! Thank you for all your hard work that made the day so successful. Now that Colorado Gives Day has passed and 2012 has come to a close, it’s time to start assessing the results. In addition to the data we collect and analyze, we also require feedback from you, the nonprofits, to help us answer questions that we cannot determine from our data and to provide us with a better understanding of the impact of GivingFirst and Colorado Gives Day.

Online Survey
This information is gathered from GivingFirst participants through an online survey emailed to each GivingFirst contact on Tuesday, January 8. We consider this survey to be your grant report to Community First Foundation about your use of GivingFirst, so please keep an eye out for it and make sure it is completed by the January 15 deadline.

Video: How to Answer Survey Questions
Since some of the questions on this survey require you to do a few calc…