Thursday, December 12, 2013

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 who donated so generously. May the scent of the rose linger long on your hand.

Urban Peak Highlights Homeless Youth
Thank you, nonprofits. I know your efforts began well in advance of the day, generating excitement and devising strategic and creative ways to tell your stories and highlight your work. From the folks at Urban Peak who assembled people in the cold and dark of morning to represent the 921 homeless youth who spend the night on Denver’s streets, to the “Doggie Picasso” painting event for Freedom Service Dogs, you have embraced Colorado Gives Day and made it yours.

Thank you, FirstBank. You have been by our side since the beginning and we thank you not only for your $600,000 donation, but for your encouragement, enthusiasm and great ideas. We couldn’t ask for a better corporate partner.

Thank you, Boettcher Foundation and El Pomar Foundation for your two-year, $150,000 grant to help us expand Colorado Gives Day throughout the state.

Thank you, Community Foundation Serving Boulder County, Adolph Coors Foundation, The Colorado Trust, EideBailly LLP, Innovest Portfolio Solutions, RE/MAX World Headquarters, EKS & H, The Piton Foundation, Bryan Cave LLP, and Tuthill & Hughes LLP. Your commitment reflects the broad community support that fuels Colorado Gives Day and helped us underwrite hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card fees.

Thank you, 9NEWS, Comcast, Entravision Communications, Clear Channel, Rocky Mountain PBS, Colorado Public Television (CPT12-Channel 12), and 5280 Magazine, for generously donating air time and print space to help us get the word out and promote online giving.

Thank you Community First Foundation board of directors for your leadership and support. We are so lucky to have you.

And last but not least, thank you my fabulous team at Community First Foundation. You worked together with professionalism and grace, never losing sight of our key values of integrity, service, innovation and stewardship. I know how hard you work to make fundraising just a tad easier for the nonprofits and donating just a tad easier for the community. And, yes, that ticker really was fun.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

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 who is currently sitting on their board, where they come from, and what is their expertise.

"Widgets"
Then I start searching for newbies. Can I find a nonprofit that is doing good work but I might never have heard about them? What about something new that I have read about recently that is a need in my community? Once I entered my search criteria, I look at the widgets (pictured) and open profiles to learn more.

First, I do a quick check of their Overview Tab. Where exactly are they located? If they have a video, I will watch it to learn more about what they are doing. The mission statement is right there as well so I can see the organization’s focus. At this point, I will do a quick check of the Financials Graphs to see if there is anything that concerns me. If this is an organization I still am interested in supporting, I move to the Programs Tab.

Now my insider knowledge tells me that some nonprofits will only highlight key programs they are focusing on raising money through Colorado Gives Day. Others will show all. Personally I like to see all the programs but I understand the desire to only highlight key ones. I like to see what impact these are making and how the nonprofit is measuring it. Then again, if I am still interested, I move on to the management section to see if I know anyone associated with this program (and why haven’t they told me about it!).

One of my favorite things about ColoradoGives.org is that what is important to me is not necessarily what is important to you or another donor. We each have our passions and the things that are important to us. What ColoradoGives.org does is present organizations’ information so that we can become educated donors. Then it is your decision as to if you want to give to that organization or another one.

So who is on your list?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

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:

  1. Begin by liking 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 hyperlink to the ColoradoGives.org Facebook page will be created automatically. 
  4.  Use the hashtag #CoGivesDay on both Twitter and Facebook; this helps consolidate all conversations specifically about the big day.
  5. What should you post about? Share your goals, successes and key messages. And be sure to thank your donors. You can never thank them too much and they love hearing about your success on the big day, such as how much you raised or how many people came to your event. Examples:
    • “Help us raise $X on #CoGivesDay to build a house for a family in need!” 
    • “100% of your donation comes to us on #CoGivesDay!”
    • “Thank you to everyone who supported us on #CoGivesDay!
    • We raised enough to pay for over XXX nutritious meals for XX people @ColoradoGives”)
Encourage donors to post this badge on Facebook!


  Finally, post the "I Gave" on Colorado Gives Day graphic to your Facebook page and encourage donors to share it on their own pages.

For additional tips and information, check out the Nonprofit Toolkit or feel free to contact us at 720-898-5900 or email us at cogives@communityfirstfoundation.org

Monday, November 18, 2013

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:
 
  1. Is my idea really newsworthy? If you saw the same story about another agency, would it grab your attention? 
  2. Does my idea have drama or solve a dilemma? The media loves stories about people making a unique difference, people assisting others in times of crisis, and people helping children, rescuing animals, caring for the elderly, employing the physically challenged, and saving the environment. 
  3. Does my story idea have a bit of uniqueness and emotional appeal? Always develop your story around people and the exceptional things they are doing. Provide access to the local hero who saved the day and to those who have been helped. 
 
Do not be discouraged if your idea is rejected. Many great stories simply are not told due to staffing, timing and travel limitations. Continue to periodically present newsworthy, well-crafted, and thoughtful stories to the media. You will build credibility and tip the scales in favor of your nonprofit.
 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

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

Jamie Tafoya
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 FirstBank’s Facebook page. The trivia questions will be posted starting Dec. 2 – Dec. 6 and out of all the correct respondents, one randomly selected trivia winner will get to choose a nonprofit profiled on  ColoradoGives.org to receive the money. The nonprofit winners will then be announced on FirstBank’s social media pages and Colorado Gives Facebook and Twitter pages. 

What about the $5,000 prizes, you ask? Well, to be eligible, nonprofits must receive at least 30 donations on Colorado Gives Day. The nonprofits that achieve 30+ donations will be pulled together and randomly selected. The winners will be announced in January.

For more information about the prizes and eligibility, check out https://www.coloradogives.org/cogivesday/prizes.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

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 to toot your horn on your website and social media. The largest contributors also receive name recognition on the donation checkout page viewed by tens of thousands of donors on Colorado Gives Day.
Don't you want this on your business' website?
Sponsor at a higher level for a custom version!
Making the Most of a Business Sponsorship
When a business becomes a sponsor, we share ways you can build energy, excitement and awareness about your workplace. It's a way to build morale and bring people together for the common good.

Some sample ideas include:
  • Bring snacks and set aside a time on Colorado Gives Day (Dec. 10) for staff to donate online together. Set up laptops or iPads in the lunchroom for a mini donation party. Is there a nonprofit in your immediate community that does work you admire?
  •  Offer a special perk for employees who donate.
  •  Set up department challenges based on numbers of nonprofits they support or total dollar amount donated.
There are endless ideas to make your sponsorship fun and rewarding.

Contact Angela at abevacqua@CommunityFirstFoundation.org or 720.898.5909 for more information.

Friday, October 11, 2013

GivingFirst Is ColoradoGives: Reflections on Impermanence

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

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 Becomes ColoradoGives.org
Given all the changes coupled with the huge success of Colorado Gives Day, we decided it was time to more closely align the site’s statewide appeal with its name. So, in March 2013 we officially changed the name from GivingFirst.org to ColoradoGives.org. We continued to redirect traffic that was still going to GivingFirst.org to accommodate people and nonprofits that had not yet had a chance to update their bookmarks, links, or donate buttons.  There are various costs associated with maintaining redirects, especially for secure sites like GivingFirst.org, and so it is not feasible for us to continue redirecting traffic forever (Community First Foundation is a nonprofit itself and, as a nonprofit, is vigilant about watching its expenses).






Check Your "Donate Now" Button

Change is inevitable. Suffering is not. Make sure your "donate now" button is working properly. If it is, your donors’ desire to give will not be disrupted by the change. If it’s not working, the likelihood of frustration is great, so please finish reading this blog post to learn how to remedy that. Stop reading right now and check (seriously!).    

How to Update Your "Donate Now" Button
To get the current donate button:
  1. Log into ColoradoGives.org as a nonprofit.
  2. Go to Menu/Nonprofit Resources
  3. Click on the "DONATE NOW" button link
  4. Copy the HTML code provided
  5. Paste the HTML code into the HTML of your website where you want the button to appear.

Alternatively, you can insert an image into a webpage and link it to your donation page on ColoradoGives.org.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 use their actual email addresses, to share the log-in information with them and the specifics of the donor account you created for them (including the Donor Terms of Service).
  3. Create a Google Doc (or some other easily accessible document) that shows everyone who’s created a page for your organization, what donors gave, and how much they gave so that those who haven’t given yet can be easily contacted by the individual they are networked with.
  4. Individually meet with staff to help them set up their personal fundraising goal.
  5. Secure and advertise prizes for staff as early as possible to encourage engagement and get them excited about fundraising on your behalf.
To learn more about how to create ColoradoGives Fundraising Pages as a donor, click here.


Super Campaigns
We also offer super campaigns which allow you to group donor fundraising pages onto a single page with all of their goals and amounts displayed together as an overall goal and amount. You can then share the URL for the super campaign to promote a larger event/activity.

Super campaigns provide people with one spot where they can see all of the donor fundraising pages associated with that campaign and choose the ones they would like to give through. An example of what this could look like might be that the board is running in the same marathon to support your organization. To learn more about super campaigns, click here.

As always, do contact us if you have any questions at cogives@communityfirstfoundation.org and good luck!

Sample Fundraising Page



Thursday, August 29, 2013

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 Philanthropist: Joan Brennan (Denver)
• Outstanding Professional in Philanthropy - Grantmaker: Tim Schultz (Denver)
• Outstanding Professional in Philanthropy - Fundraiser: Griff Freyschlag (Denver)
• Outstanding Service Organization: HomeAid Colorado (Denver)
• Outstanding Volunteer: Valerie Escatel (Brighton)
• Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser: Dorothy Brandt (Alamosa)
• Outstanding Youth: Marko Babiak (Denver)
• Outstanding Youth Group: Rock Canyon High School Student Council (Littleton)
• Lifetime Achievement Award: Sally Rippey (Denver)

Thank you so much to Bob Cooper of the Tennyson Center for nominating us, with the support of Ron Ludwig of the Conflict Center and Skip Arnold with Energy Outreach Colorado. Special thanks to Mike Pritchard with Goodwill Industries of Denver for all of his support and encouragement. We are truly honored.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

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 hours
  • Posts 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 actually reacting to your posts. See the webinar to learn how to measure your engagement ratio.
  • Engagement increases by as much as 120% when photos are posted.

Pinterest
  • Pinterest is more likely to convert visitors into purchasers or donors.
  • The largest Pinterest demographic is women and 41% of users have a household income of $50,000+.
  • 80% of activity on Pinterest is re-pinning.
Keep some of these statistics in mind when you think strategically about social media!

Monday, July 22, 2013

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 Videos
    • Everyone 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 Nonprofits
    • The FAQs provide in-depth details about Colorado Gives Day. A great resource.
  • Key Messages
    • Do you know the tagline for Colorado Gives Day? Do you know how to talk about the Incentive Fund? Learn here.

Take it to the Next Level
  • Webinars
    • Our hour-long webinars help you be more strategic and reach your goals. Topics this year include Social Media for Social Good and Countdown to Colorado Gives Day. Sign up on the Toolkit page.

Make a Plan
  • Planning Timeline
    • This is a great guide to help you meet key deadlines and think about what should be done and when. Review Timeline.

Get the Word Out

Look Sharp
These ads and images were professionally designed to help everyone look sharp and promote a consistent look and feel for the day.


Share ResourcesCollaborations are groups of nonprofits that join forces to share resources for Colorado Gives Day and promote themselves as a group. Check the Collaborations List on the Nonprofit Toolkit page regularly for new groups or start your own.



Have we missed something you need? Let us know at cogives@communityfirstfoundation.org.

Monday, June 10, 2013

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.
Dana Rinderknecht

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 with the Department of Revenue and the various Enterprise Zone Administrators to better understand how donations through intermediaries such as these two should be viewed for tax purposes. Colorado Nonprofit Association, along with their legislative group Aponte & Busam, worked to put the correct language together and called on a Representative and a Senator to take this bill forward to the legislature. Rep. Dominick Moreno and Senator Rollie Health saw this as a way to assist their constituents both from the nonprofit and donor sides.

The bill was introduced into the House on January 31st with a first reading. It was then assigned to the Finance and Appropriations Committees. The Finance Committee meeting was held February 21st with testimony from Kenneth Kirwin (Community First Foundation), Leslie Hannon (Mile High United Way), Victoria McVicker (SafeHouse Denver), and Mag Strittmatter (The Action Center), as well as Ken Summers (Teen Challenge Rocky Mountains). It passed unanimously. Then the bill went on to Appropriations where it also passed unanimously without testimony on March 8th. The final step on the House side was a full house vote which passed unanimously on March 18th. But that is only a third of the equation.

Next step was on to the Senate, introduced on March 20,th where it was assigned to the Business, Labor & Technology committee. Again, Ken, Leslie, Victoria and Mag testified about the need for this bill. Again, it passed unanimously on April 9th. Back to the full Senate, where on April 17th it was passed unanimously. I mention the unanimously only because we are extremely excited that this was supported by all legislators on both sides.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signs HB1190

Finally, the group gathered for one final time on May 3 in the Governor's Office and he signed it! Our bill became a law.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

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
Short, concise appeal.
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 online:


  1. Write a compelling “appeal” The appeal is a short summary (Up to 30 words or 200 characters with spaces) of your organization. It appears in several places: 1) in the ColoradoGives home page when you get a donation, 2) in search results, 3) in the checkout cart, and 4) on your profile page. Make your appeal short, concise, and interesting. Avoid jargon and too much detail. After you write your appeal, look at it in the various locations. How does it sound? How does it look? Please note that if your copy is too long, it will not lay out well. If you don’t write an appeal, your mission statement is the default.
  2. Upload your logo Posting your logo will help donors quickly recognize your organization in search listings. It also reinforces your brand. When you upload a logo, it appears hand-in-hand with your appeal on the home page, search pages, checkout pages and, of course, your profile. If you don't upload a logo, the space will be blank. Here’s what the search feature looks like when an organization doesn’t include a logo (we’ve blocked out the organization’s name, but you get the idea).
  3. Upload some great photos and video After your logo, the next most visible item on your profile page is the photo and video section. Draw people in with interesting pictures and video if you have them (and make sure you have necessary permissions). Those that help illustrate your organization’s story will be the most appealing to your donors. Crop out distracting backgrounds in your photos and focus in on faces. If you don’t have photos, consider sharing some “selling points” such as facts about how many people you have helped.
  4. Background, Impact and Needs Statements This section of your profile gives you a chance to tell your story. Make it interesting. You are not writing a grant proposal, so use more narrative to draw people in. Put yourself in the mind of a prospective donor. What do they want to learn about you? What will they find interesting and relevant? Focus on your best achievements. Ask your board members, a new employee, or someone who doesn’t know anything about your organization’s work to give you feedback. Ask them if they understand what you do, if the writing and photos pique their interest, and what impression they are left with. 
Good luck!
Who am I? What happens when you don't upload a logo.



Great photos draw people in.



Tuesday, May 7, 2013

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

Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator
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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 that be an hour weekly or 15 minutes daily, eating your “elephant” one bite at a time will not only help you feel productive but also give you plenty of time to focus on the important aspects of your profile.
  3. Don’t let questions stop you from updating. You can email us anytime at COGives@communityfirstfoundation.org if you get stuck – in the meantime try working on the sections of the profile you don’t have questions about.
  4. Can’t get uninterrupted time at work to update your profile? Join us for one of our help sessions. These casual sessions allow you to come and stay as long as you need to, just be sure to RSVP.


Completing your profile will not only feel great and be an excellent resource for your donors, but it will also give you a template “case statement” that can be used for other things such as grant applications, meeting with prospective donors or creating materials for corporate sponsorships. Don’t forget that you can copy and paste your ColoradoGives.org profile into GuideStar for national exposure.

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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 donations in nearly six years.

As I have watched GivingFirst.org grow exponentially from the 173 nonprofits profiled in our first year, up to more than 1,250 organizations we have today, I have been humbled to see how Colorado nonprofits have been embraced by generous donors, not just on Colorado Gives Day but year-round. I’m excited to see how these generous donors and others support nonprofits through ColoradoGives.org.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

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 looked at your GivingFirst profile from a prospective donor’s perspective?  Have you written a compelling “appeal” (the organizational summary)? It shows up 1) in the GivingFirst home page when you get a donation, 2) in search results 3) in the checkout cart, and 4) on your profile page. Have you uploaded a logo? Do you include compelling photos, video or infographics? Even if you don’t have the design means, you turn your own outcomes in text form into a picture format and display that in the picture section. Check out our recent blog that shows you how to spiff up your GivingFirst profile.

  • Keep ‘em in: Now that you’ve got ‘em, what do you do to keep them interested in your work? According to The Philanthropic Planning Companion, 46% of donors decide to stop giving for reasons tied to lack of meaningful information or a feeling that their giving is not appreciated. Do you bring new donors into your fold? Ensure they receive newsletters and any other promotional materials? Did you thank them for their Colorado Gives Day gift? What have you done to show them what you are doing this year?

Key Finding #2:
47% of organizations raised $5,000 or more on Colorado Gives Day 2012.
Every nonprofit has a different goal, and the average on Colorado Gives Day was around $12,000, but the $5,000 number shows us nearly half of nonprofits had a strategy that makes online fundraising valuable. Here’s what we know works for some of the organizations:

  • They promote GivingFirst Fundraising Pages, expanding their prospect list to friends of their volunteers, board members and others fundraising on their behalf.
  • They promote the flexibility of recurring donations that can lead to larger gifts over time.
  • They build online giving into their overall fundraising plan.
  • They use a combination of online and offline methods of communications, tailored to the donors.

What can you do?

Good luck with your online giving program for 2013, and stay tuned to our blog and e-newsletters for more tips. Plus, don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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 calculations before you complete it, I wanted to remind you that in the Countdown to Colorado Gives Day webinar we reviewed all of the survey questions as well as provided you with formulas and strategies you will need to employ in order to answer the questions. To make this information easier to find, we pulled out that segment of the webinar and have posted it as its own video. We understand that you may not work with data in this manner on a routine basis and that not everyone is a math person, so that is why we’ve offered some assistance. Please watch the video, so that you can be prepared to complete the survey once you receive it.

It is our hope that by requesting this information you are not only helping us to better understand the impact of GivingFirst and Colorado Gives Day, but that it also enhances your understanding of how GivingFirst and Colorado Gives Day factor into your fundraising plans. Also, if you were not previously tracking some or any of this information, we hope these questions encourage you to start looking at your data and using the data to help identify items to celebrate, point out areas for improvement, and make more informed decisions.