Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Digital Giving For Charitable Friends

By Angela Bevacqua, Sr. Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation

Mrs. Claus sent Mr. Clause a ColoradoGives Giving eCard

Are you stumped about holiday gifts for your friends or family who “have it all”?

Do you have friends who would appreciate a gift of charity?

If so, consider ColoradoGives Giving eCards.

These electronic gift cards can be purchased on the website ColoradoGives.org and e-mailed to friends and family with your personal message.

Recipients redeem the eCards by donating to any of the 1,600+ Colorado nonprofits featured on ColoradoGives.org. They are sure to find a cause they care about.

Purchase the Giving eCards on Christmas eve or Christmas day for a super-timely delivery.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Colorado...You've Blown Us Away Again!

Colorado…you’ve blown us away again!

Marla J. Williams addresses nonprofits at the
 Colorado Gives Day Rally 2014
For the fifth consecutive year, citizens across our great state united in a common goal to support Colorado nonprofits. Together, you have made Colorado Gives Day another record-breaking success and we thank you for opening your hearts to give like never before.

Colorado Gives Day raised $26.2 million for 1,677 nonprofits. This amazing  support materialized in just 24 hours. During that time, ColoradoGives.org, the website that powers Colorado Gives Day, processed 107,862 donations. Every single donation is powerful, meaningful and sincerely appreciated. Your gifts will provide much-needed resources to the nonprofits working to improve the quality of life in our local communities.

These amazing results underscore that Colorado Gives Day and ColoradoGives.org is an easy way for donors to give and a great way for nonprofits to increase awareness and fundraise online. We are pleased to be able to offer this program statewide to donors and nonprofits alike.

We are also grateful to our corporate partner of five years, FirstBank, for helping to make Colorado Gives Day possible. Thank you, FirstBank, for believing in Colorado Gives Day and our nonprofit community and for helping to make Colorado Gives Day the state’s largest online giving event.

Colorado Gives Day continues to grow with the help of our Regional Champions. They increase giving and help strengthen nonprofits in their local communities. They are truly local heroes and we appreciate them. Thank you Community Foundation Serving Northern Colorado, Douglas County Community Foundation, Eagle County Gives, The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County and Yampa Valley Community Foundation.

Thank you, nonprofits. We know your efforts began well in advance of the day, generating excitement and inventing creative ways to tell your stories and highlight your work. From the folks at Habitat for Humanity who encouraged staff in their 29 affiliates and 24 ReStores across the state to dress in PJs to highlight the day; to Urban Peak, which hosted a 24-hour walk to raise awareness for the issue of youth homelessness, you have embraced Colorado Gives Day and made it yours.

Thank you to our inaugural Corporate Challenge participants. These community-minded organizations stepped up and joined the Colorado Gives Day movement this year. They promoted Colorado Gives Day among their employees and many matched employee gifts. We applaud these companies for their charitable-giving leadership:

  1. CiviCore
  2. Eide Bailly LLLP
  3. FirstBank
  4. Innovest
  5. Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP
  6. Rally Software
  7. ReadyTalk
  8. Community First Foundation

In addition, Colorado Gives Day would not be a success without the help of our media sponsors who generously donate space and air time to promote online giving. Thank you media sponsors!

  1. The Networks of 9NEWS
  2. Mile High Outdoor Advertising
  3. Comcast
  4. iHeartMedia
  5. Entravision Communications
  6. Rocky Mountain PBS
  7. Colorado Public Television (CPT12 - Channel 12); and 
  8. 5280 Magazine

The outpouring of support for Colorado nonprofits is marvelous and we thank each one of you for supporting this remarkable, record-breaking day. We remain overwhelmed by your generosity.

Marla J. Williams, president and CEO, Community First Foundation
William P. Ernstrom, board chair, Community First Foundation

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Digging Through the Data: What to Look for in a Nonprofit Profile

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator, Community First Foundation

With over 1,600 nonprofits on our site, the process of deciding where to donate your money on Colorado Gives Day can be both daunting and exciting. This is especially difficult if you don’t know who you want to support.

The first place to start is to search for something of interest to you. Perhaps you've heard the name of a nonprofit or a cause you’re passionate about. Let’s say, for example, that I heard about “Community First Foundation” and was interested in learning more about them. I simply type in the term “Community First Foundation” on the main page of ColoradoGives.org and click “go.”

After entering in my query, I see they’re one of the first nonprofits listed. Next to their name and logo, I can read the appeal. Think of the appeal as their "sound bite" or "elevator speech." 

If I’m interested in learning more, I click on the “learn more” link, which takes me to the nonprofit's main page. “Wow,” I think to myself, “there is a lot of information here, where do I start?” This brings us to next tip:

Explore the Overview tab where you can learn what’s new with the organization. Read testimonials, statements from the organization (such as needs, impact and background) and financial graphs. There may even be a video for you to watch (scrolling across the page).

Perhaps at this point you’re excited but want just a tidbit more about the organization. This brings us to our next area to check out:

Programs – Here you can read details about the nonprofit's programs and how they define and monitor short- and long-term success. Some programs may include photos.

For detail-seekers, the rest of the information is really for you. Details included in the following tabs are:

Management: How the organization operates, including number of staff, retention rates and names of senior staff members, board statistics and award information.
Financials: Perfect for the CPA or finance guru; details here include endowment or capital campaign information, tax credit details (if applicable), specifics on the past three fiscal years, and current fiscal year projections.
Documents: Here you can find 990s, Secretary of State Documents, Policies and more, as the nonprofit has chosen to make public.
Event: If you love the nonprofit and want to learn all about upcoming events check out the events tab. A subcategory under this tab is Volunteer Activities where you can learn about potential opportunities to volunteer.
Super Campaigns: This tab shows any large campaigns (such as 5Ks) where the whole organization is participating. Exploring this page will lead you to fundraising pages associated with that specific campaign.

Start today at ColoradoGives.org and learn more about who you’d like to support!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Schedule Your Donations on #GivingTuesday

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation

#GivingTuesday is a campaign to create a global day of service and charitable giving at the beginning of the holiday season. It’s a response to consumer-driven days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

This year #GivingTuesday takes place on December 2—one week before Colorado Gives Day. And although #GivingTuesday encourages acts of service, it does not accept or distribute donations. What a perfect time to plan your Colorado Gives Day donations or schedule them in advance!

If you’re a nonprofit on ColoradoGives.org, here are some suggested social media posts to share on Dec. 2:


  • #GivingTuesday, a movement to create a global day of service & giving, is Dec. 2. This is a perfect time to schedule your donations for #CoGivesDay on @ColoradoGives.org.
  • So many great local nonprofits! Get ready for #COGivesDay by delving deep on #GivingTuesday. Learn about the programs, goals, and needs of your favorite nonprofits. Then schedule your donations! @ColoradoGives.org
  • Unsure who to donate to on #CoGivesDay? Set aside some time on #GivingTuesday to explore! Search by city, zip, keyword or cause on @ColoradoGives.org


  • Schedule your #COGivesDay donations today, #GivingTuesday!
  • Explore local nonprofits on #GivingTuesday at @ColoradoGives.org

Monday, December 1, 2014

Rally at the Capitol – Six Tips for Success

By Kayla Arnesen, Director of Strategic Communications, Community First Foundation

2013 Colorado Gives Day Rally
In less than a week, hundreds of individuals representing Colorado’s nonprofits will descend on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver and rally in support of Colorado Gives Day.

The Colorado Gives Day Rally happens Monday, December 8 at 11 a.m. (rain, snow or shine) on the Capitol’s West steps. The Rally celebrates Colorado’s nonprofits and the great work they do in our communities. It is also the “last hurrah” before Colorado Gives Day.

If you are a participating ColoradoGives nonprofit and can get to the Capitol building on the second Monday in December, read on! Here are six things to know to make the most of the event:

  1. Date: Monday, December 8 on the West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol (Lincoln and Colfax). Parking is challenging so arrive early.
  2. Time: Try to be there by 10:30 a.m. We begin with remarks promptly at 11 and finish by 11:30. Governor Hickenlooper is joining us in person this year to read his proclamation proclaiming December 9 as Colorado Gives Day!
  3. What to Bring: Generally, two to four people to represent your organization is best. We welcome signs and banners of all shapes and sizes. Also we ask you to bring your phone so you can take “selfies” during the event and post to social media with the #COGivesDay tag.
  4. The media is invited: This is a visual event designed for picture-taking and news coverage. There are not any opportunities to hand out information or to perform.
  5. Bundle up: The entire event is outside so please dress for the cold.
  6. Prizes: FirstBank will be conducting five live drawings for $1,000 cash prizes. Four prizes will go to nonprofits in attendance. One prize will go to a nonprofit located outside of metro Denver. If you are a ColoradoGives nonprofit outside of the Denver area, please register to participate in the fifth drawing. One registration per nonprofit.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Colorado Public TV Prize Helps Small Nonprofits

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation

If you’re a small nonprofit participating in Colorado Gives Day, you have a chance to win a wonderful media package from Colorado Gives Day sponsor Colorado Public Television (CPT12 – Channel 12).

“We understand that marketing a small organization is really challenging,” said Pam Parker of Colorado Public TV about the prize. “We’re excited to present a small Colorado nonprofit with the opportunity to tell their story to our engaged and well-educated audience of more than 600,000 people each week. Over the course of the entire prize, that’s a lot of visibility — and potential impact — for a nonprofit trying to make a difference.”

The prize consists of a 10-week media campaign through Colorado Public Television that includes production of a 30-second commercial, air time and more.

A winner will be randomly drawn among nonprofits that answer this fun question on Facebook between November 25 – December 8:

“If your organization had a theme song, what would it be?”

All eligible nonprofits were contacted by email with complete instructions. Follow along on facebook.com/coloradogives.org!

The winner of last year's prize said:
"Thank you to Channel 12 for allowing the Bow Wow Buddies Foundation to spread awareness about our Home, Health and Humane initiatives. The welfare of our four-legged friends is near and dear to our hearts and we are grateful for the support of Channel 12, as well as the Colorado community, in our mission to lend a paw.” – Heidi Ganahl, Founder and CEO of Camp Bow Wow and Founder of the Bow Wow Buddies Foundation

FirstBank Offers $100,000 in Cash Prizes

By Lisa Adams, Assistant Vice President, FirstBank

FirstBank has been a proud supporter of Colorado Gives Day, the 24-hour online fundraising movement created by Community First Foundation, since it was launched in 2010. Colorado Gives Day is a cause that each and every team member at FirstBank is extremely passionate about. It’s a true honor to give back to the communities that have helped us grow and succeed.

Each year, we look forward to giving back through a donation to Colorado Gives Day to help kick-start the season of giving – and this year is no different. In 2014, FirstBank is pitching in $600,000 to Colorado Gives Day. This year, $100,000 of our donation is headed straight to the pockets of individual nonprofits with the help of several fun prizes.

Live Drawings December 8 During Rally at the Capitol
Nonprofits will have a chance to win one of five $1,000 cash prizes at a live drawing at the Colorado Gives Day Rally, held at 11 a.m. on December 8 at the State Capitol. During the Rally, FirstBank will hold random drawings and award $1,000 prizes to four attending nonprofits and one regional nonprofit selected from groups that register online.

Trivia Contest Provides More Cash for Nonprofits
FirstBank is sponsoring a trivia contest on the FirstBank Facebook page December 1 - 5. As part of the trivia contest, 10 lucky Colorado Gives Day supporters will choose nonprofits to receive $1,000 cash prizes. FirstBank will randomly select two winners each day from correct answers posted on the Facebook page. Each winner will select a Colorado Gives Day nonprofit of their choice to receive the cash award.

Luck of the Draw Prizes Total $85,000
FirstBank is also sponsoring 17 Luck of the Draw prizes worth $5,000 each for nonprofits. To be eligible for the drawing, first-time participants must receive a minimum of 30 donations through coloradogives.org, and returning nonprofits must have an increase in dollars raised over last year. The Luck of the Draw winners are selected randomly after Colorado Gives Day.

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

The Power of Media Sponsors

By Kayla Arnesen, Director of Strategic Communications

Thanks to our wonderful Colorado Gives Day media sponsors, our statewide movement is receiving nearly $500,000 in donated print, online, on-air and billboard media support. These powerful partnerships help us reach Coloradans in nearly every part of the state and encourage them to donate to their favorite nonprofits on Colorado Gives Day.

This year, we are pleased to welcome Mile High Outdoor Advertising to our family of Colorado Gives Day media sponsors. The company operates eight digital billboards across the state.

Right now, the Colorado Gives Day message is shining bright for motorists to see in five locations throughout the Denver metro area, in one location in Monument and in two locations in Grand Junction.

On Colorado Gives Day, the billboards will run the donation ticker from Colorado Gives Day website to show how much has been raised. The billboards will update every six seconds!

If you have the opportunity to interact with any of our sponsors, please thank them for their outstanding support:
CO Gives Day To Be Featured on Billboards Like This

  • The Networks of 9NEWS
  • Mile High Outdoor Advertising
  • Comcast
  • iHeartMedia (Formerly Clear Channel)
  • Entravision
  • Rocky Mountain PBS
  • Colorado Public Television (CPT12- Channel 12)
  • 5280 Magazine

New App for Colorado Gives Day

By Dana Rinderknecht, Director of Online Giving

There’s an app for that! 

How many times have we heard that in this age of smart phones and tablets?  

Are you wondering how many days, hours, and seconds it is until Colorado Gives Day? Have you started an office pool to guess how much will be raised on December 9th?

I am excited to announce that we now have a Colorado Gives Day app! Our app is available in both the Google Play store and the iTunes store. You can download it now for free and start tracking how much time is left until Colorado Gives Day.

Once Colorado Gives Day is here, the free app tracks the number of money being raised statewide on Colorado Gives Day, along with the number of organizations receiving donations and the number of total donations. You can also track the totals for our Regional Champions spearheading Colorado Gives Day around the state. 

Check it out at iTunes store or Google Play store.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Something to Be Thankful For

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator, Community First Foundation

Ah, Thanksgiving… a time for great food, family, friends and (for some people), football. It’s a time to relax and reflect on the many blessings we have in this country; so many blessings in fact that we follow it up with a weekend of spending money on items that we may or may not need. That isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with commercialism (who doesn’t love a great sale; I know I do) or Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

But it is from this environment that a national day of giving, #GivingTuesday, was created by New York’s 92nd Street Y. For any of you feeling a bit guilty about spending copious amounts of money, #GivingTuesday (Dec. 2 this year) is the perfect day to schedule a donation for Colorado Gives Day, a local day of giving focused on our great state of Colorado taking place on December 9th. In that spirit (and just for fun) here are just a few of the many reasons I’m grateful to live here:
  • We have a plethora of nonprofits in Colorado ranging from animal and child welfare to assistance for the homeless and those with disabilities; the possibilities to support your community are endless. Over 1,600 of those nonprofits are on ColoradoGives.org.
  • This is a close-knit community that works to support each other. Need proof? Just check out our Corporate Challenge page for a list of companies who are encouraging their employees to give back to their favorite nonprofits. Or the Collaborations List which features groups of nonprofits working together and sharing resources to promote their nonprofits together for a common good.
  • Community First Foundation works hard to support its community, and I’m proud to be a part of that. This year Community First Foundation and FirstBank are partnering to create a $1 Million Incentive Fund for Colorado Gives Day, one of the largest incentive funds in the country and up by 300 percent.
  • The donors, board members and nonprofits who work hard to help all those in need in the community through their time, talents and treasures.

I couldn’t ask for a better community or a better state – which is a lot to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Help Your Favorite Nonprofit Raise Money on Colorado Give Day

By Angela Bevacqua, Community First Foundation

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 on behalf of your favorite nonprofit using ColoradoGives.org. By creating a fundraising webpage, you can enlist the people you're connected with to support your cause online.

The weeks leading up to Colorado Gives Day are a perfect time for a holiday season fund drive. Our fundraising pages allow you to create a personalized web page with pictures, video, and a personal appeal. Once the page is ready, let your friends and family know about it by sending e-mails to them that include a link to your page housed on ColoradoGives.org. Ask them to help you reach your fundraising goal by making a donation online. Unlike some other crowdfunding services, you can create a ColoradoGives.org Fundraising Page with no set up charges.

This page includes a “how-to” video that walks you through the setup process and keep in mind the following tips:

Sample Fundraising Page - Make it Personal!
  1. Include a picture to personalize your page.
  2. Keep your appeal short, personal and to the point.
  3. Allot enough time for the nonprofit you are supporting to approve your page. Submit for approval no later than December 6, 2014, to be ready for Colorado Gives Day.
  4. If you choose to make a page in honor or in memory of someone, keep in mind that a goal is not necessary, so a “fundraising thermometer” will not be displayed on your page.
  5. Once your fundraising page has been approved by the nonprofit, you will receive a link to email to family and friends.
Good luck and have fun!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Business Join Colorado Gives Day Movement

By Kayla Arnesen, Director of Strategic Communications

Six community-minded organizations are participating in the first-ever Colorado Gives Day Corporate Challenge

This new program challenges Colorado businesses, and their employees, to take an active, public role in supporting local nonprofits on Colorado Gives Day. Here’s how it works: businesses sign up and determine an employee participation goal. This tells us the number of employees they expect to donate for Colorado Gives Day. Employers receive a unique code for their employees to enter when making donations online at ColoradoGives.org. That’s how we track participation. Then, each business gets to work promoting Colorado Gives Day internally using a turnkey toolkit provided by the ColoradoGives team. It’s that simple and straightforward.

On Colorado Gives Day, business names, and their progress toward reaching 100 percent participation, are listed on the Corporate Challenge web page, part of ColoradoGives.org. This makes it easy for the business and their employees to monitor their progress.  It might even generate some internal giving challenges! After Colorado Gives Day, every business will receive a participation trophy from Community First Foundation.

Joining the Corporate Challenge is a great way for businesses to align with other charitable companies, encourage a philanthropic culture and demonstrate good corporate citizenship. We applaud these companies for their leadership and for stepping up and joining the Colorado Gives Day movement:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Online Giving Grows Statewide Thanks to Regional Champions

By Dana Rinderknecht, Director of Online Giving, Community First Foundation

With more than $81 million raised online in seven years, ColoradoGives.org and Colorado Gives Day are helping shape philanthropy in Colorado.

Online Giving has been concentrated in the Denver metro area until two years ago, when the Boettcher Foundation and the El Pomar Foundation came to us looking for a way to celebrate their 75th anniversaries while increasing charitable giving in Colorado. And that’s how the Regional Champion program was born.

ColoradoGives Regional Champions are primarily community foundations located throughout Colorado the have joined us to raise awareness and support for the nonprofits in their local communities through ColoradoGives and Colorado Gives Day. They use their local knowledge to adapt the programs to fit their particular area.

First to jump on board was the Northern Colorado Community Foundation in Fort Collins. Serving Larimer County communities such as Berthoud, Estes Park, Ft. Collins and Loveland, they have done a great job of rallying nonprofits in their area and getting local support for Colorado Gives Day. This year their goal is to raise $1 million for the nonprofits on NoCoGives.org.

The next Regional Champion was a coalition of nonprofits in Eagle County called Eagle County Gives. They started their group after the first Colorado Gives Day but this allowed them to formalize the work they are doing not just around promoting Colorado Gives Day but also on being better fundraisers.  It has been fun to see the amazing phenomena they have created in their area.
ofits in Eagle County called

More recently we added the Culture of Giving campaign (through the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County), Yampa Valley Gives (Yampa Valley Community Foundation working with Leadership Steamboat) and Douglas County Gives (Douglas County Community Foundation and the collaboration called Douglas County Gives).

As we approach our fifth Colorado Gives Day, it has been so much fun to see what these groups are doing in their respective areas.  Learn more about this program and visit their web pages.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Can’t Wait? Schedule Your Donation for Colorado Gives Day

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist

Sometimes you just can’t wait. 

That’s why you can schedule Colorado Gives Day donations in advance from November through December 8. Take your time, explore the variety of nonprofits serving your community, and schedule donations at your leisure. Your donation will process on Colorado Gives Day, December 9, and will receive a boost from the $ 1 Million Incentive Fund and count toward cashprize tallies for nonprofits.

Are you ready? Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Go to ColoradoGives.org. Search for nonprofits by name, keyword, city, zip code or type of cause.
  2. Find a nonprofit to support and press the orange “Donate” button. Add your donation amount and press the “CO Gives Day” button to schedule it to process on Dec. 9. Complete the other fields and click “add to cart.”
  3. Want to donate to more than one organization? Click on the “add more nonprofits to cart” button on the next page and keep going!
  4. Schedule Your CO Gives Day Donation in Advance!
  5. When all your scheduled donations are in the cart, continue checking out by logging in or creating a donor account, entering your payment information, and then submit.

Please note that you will receive an acknowledgement e-mail that indicates you have scheduled a donation. A second  e-mail confirming that the donation was made will be issued when it is processed on Colorado Gives Day. A copy of this email will also be stored on your donor account and can be accessed at any time.

Thank you for your generosity!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Three New Enhancements Make ColoradoGives.org Even Better

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist

Nonprofits featured on ColoradoGives.org are working diligently to prepare for Colorado Gives Day, coming up on Tuesday, December 9!

As you prepare, keep in mind the following new website enhancements. Many of these improvements came directly from avid users of ColoradoGives.org.

  1. Suggest Donation Amounts on Your Checkout Page. You can now insert one or more recommended donation amounts with a description that will appear on the checkout page associated with your nonprofit. Log in to ColoradoGives.org as a nonprofit, go to the General Information section, select the Donation Form tab, and click add entry under the header Donation Levels.
  2. Create New Options to Direct Donations. Until recently, nonprofits were allowed limited options for directing donations through ColoradoGives.org. Examples included “Nonprofit’s Discretion” and program names. Now you can offer donors additional options, such as special projects or campaigns for specific equipment.

    Now you can also create unique options for donations collected through Fundraising Pages.You can display one specific option on a Fundraising Page’s checkout page, but present entirely different options related to your nonprofit’s own, general checkout page. Log in as a nonprofit, go to the General Information section, select the Donation Form tab, and click add entry under the header Donation Locations. Determine which options to display on your general checkout page and go to the Donor Campaigns section to select which options to present on specific Fundraising Pages.
  3. Add Questions to Checkout Process. Want donors to join your mailing list while they make an online donation? Want to know whether a donor wishes to have her donation considered for special tax credits (e.g., Enterprise Zone or Child Care credits)? You can now ask these two questions on the checkout form and receive the answers on your monthly donation disbursement report.
Learn more in this portion of our Countdown to Colorado Gives Day webinar, and continue to share your ideas with us at Cogives@CommunityFirstFoundation.org!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Colorado Gives Day Graphics in Spanish

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation

Each year the Nonprofit Toolkit—a web page for Colorado Gives Day marketing tools—gets stronger thanks to suggestions from nonprofits. This year we’ve added more short, informational videos and some select marketing materials in Spanish.

Cesco Linguistic Services donated their expertise to translate our key messages for the graphics, such as the tagline “Give Where You Live.”  We can now offer you a Facebook "I donated!" badge and cover graphic, newsletter copy, key messages, print and web ads and a Donate Now button.

And remember that your Spanish audiences can turn on a Spanish version of ColoradoGives.org by selecting the Spanish language option through Google Translate in the site’s footer.

Access the Spanish tools, and keep your suggestions coming!
Web Ad
"Donate Now Through ColoradoGives.org" Button

"I Gave" Facebook Badge

Friday, September 26, 2014

Top Tips From Seasoned Nonprofits

By Angela Bevacqua, Community First Foundation

Our most popular Colorado Gives Day webinars are the ones where seasoned nonprofits share their experiences and success stories. Our latest webinar, Creative Marketing: How Three Nonprofits Met Their Goals on Colorado Gives Day, features organizations with very different missions but a common thread: creativity and thoughtful planning.

If you missed it live, watch the 75 min. recording for inspiration and smart, practical advice. Here is a highlight of top tips courtesy of Autumn Bjugstad with The Greenway Foundation, Dan Hanley with Urban Peak, and Nancy Shane with Walking Mountains Science Center.

1. Stand out from the crowd
  • Tell or show how your nonprofit is different.
  • Personalize the Colorado Gives Day message.Do your social media groundwork
2. Build a social media following well in advance of Colorado Gives Day
  • Make a social media plan and have fun with it. 
3. Don’t be afraid to tap into your creative side
  • Be very visual on social media platforms.
  • Play off cultural happenings. Is there a way you can build off of something popular and fun that’s happening locally, nationally or worldwide? 
4. Thank donors immediately
  • Send thank you letters/e-mails within 24 hours.
  • Make personal thank-you phone calls.
  • Let donors know how their donations will be used.
Ready to learn more? Watch the webinar for an elaboration on these tips and an assortment of creative promotions. You can also watch all of the other recordings on the Colorado Gives Day Nonprofit Toolkit.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Now for the Fun Part

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation

After a collective sigh of relief that our ColoradoGives profiles are done (yes, we prepare one, too), it’s onward to more fun things! Now is when many of you will start implementing your marketing plan for Colorado Gives Day.

Use This Pre-Made Ad
For starters, revisit the Planning Timeline we created to help you prepare month by month.

We also encourage you to make friends with the Nonprofit Toolkit where you’ll find key messages, logos, pre-made ads, educational recordings and a lot more. A great refresher would be to watch the following series of short Colorado Gives Day videos:

The Key Facts
Show this 2+ minute video to volunteers, staff and anyone who needs a basic introduction to Colorado Gives Day.

Marketing - Best Practices
This 6.5 minute video is a MUST for anyone responsible for CO Gives Day marketing communications and development.

The Nonprofit Toolkit
This video outlines the content of the toolkit, such as logos, pre-made ads, and a co-brandable postcard. This is also an important video for marketing communications staff.

Additional short videos are coming soon, such as Prizes & The Incentive Fund and How to Measure Results, so check back on the Nonprofit Toolkit page.

Finally, get your creative juices flowing by listening to the upcoming webinar called
Creative Marketing: How Three Nonprofits Met Their Goals on Colorado Gives Day. This webinar features three very different organizations that have something to teach us all.

Are we missing something you need to promote Colorado Gives Day? Let the marketing department know at info@CommunityFirstFoundation.org.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Social Media as a Fundraising Tool

Last week we were very fortunate to have Emily Davis--a nonprofit consultant, speaker and trainer--teach a webinar on social media for nonprofits participating in Colorado Gives Day. Emily penned the book Fundraising and the Next Generation and specializes in multi-generational family philanthropy. If you were unable to listen to the webinar live, we encourage you to listen to the recording and view the slides. Below, Emily shares three of the ten social media tips discussed in her webinar.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

By Emily Davis, President of Emily Davis Consulting

There are plenty of nonprofits out there that have mastered the social media world – leveraging all the right tools, telling their story, and raising funds through the Internet. Then there are those who are slowly chugging along looking for good reasons and ways to start to use social media more effectively. It’s not all about jumping into every social media tool at once, but rather a strategy and an on-boarding process that will help the sustainability of this marketing strategy.

Social media is a tool, not the tool for fundraising. Social media is really another way to steward your current stakeholders, share information quickly, and open up the door to new, prospective donors. Not everyone, including young people, like to be on Facebook or Twitter or even make donations through a website. On the other hand, the next generation of philanthropy has individuals heading online for due diligence more and more.

Having a social media plan will help you communicate throughout your organization and allow more individuals to be involved with sharing through social media. It will also help with consistent messaging online. Think of social media as a plant, if you don’t water the plant by sharing information regularly, the network will not grow. Have a plan to help water the social media plant.

Social media isn’t free. While many social media platforms are free it doesn’t mean that they don’t take time. Be prepared for the time commitment and start with 20 minutes a day dedicated to social media. Be sure you are adding value so that it isn’t a waste of your time – be clear about what you are communicating and why.

What have you tried that works using social media in your organization? What questions do you have about using social media? Share them here.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Your SOS Certificate of Registration and Sour Milk

It happens; we have all done it: forgotten milk in the fridge that goes bad, expires.

If you had milk that was expiring on 6.15.2014, would you continue to drink it on 8.20.2014? You could but it would probably be pretty gross; thus no longer serving its original purpose of being healthy and delicious.

As a person who always found the concept of the “renew by” date on the Secretary of State (SOS) Certificate of Registration for charities and fundraisers a little confusing, it helps me to compare it to this concept of milk expiring.

Think of the “renew by” date on your Certificate of Registration as an expiration date. If you had milk that expired on 6.15.2014, you would make sure that you bought more milk with an expiration date later than that.

Your organization’s SOS Certificate of Registration is pretty similar. If your “renew by” date expired on 6.15.2014, as long as you file an extension with the Secretary of State’s office before then and the “renew by” date on the new document says 8.20.2014 (or any date after), it meets our SOS Certificate of Registration requirement to participate on ColoradoGives.org. 

So, don’t lose heart getting lost in the dates; and if you do find yourself confused along the way, we’re here to help! Email us at cogives@communityfirstfoundation.org any time. Now keep that “milk” fresh and good luck on updating your ColoradoGives profiles. The deadline to update existing or submit new profiles is August 20, 2014 by 5 p.m.

Friday, June 27, 2014

What Does the Donor Say?

By Dana Rinderknecht, Director of Online Giving, Community First Foundation

For several years now, I have been telling people the stories of what we hear from donors. But honestly, it is anecdotal only. We all know that I am not going to hear stories from all of our donors – as much as I would welcome that.

We decided to find out what our donors thought of our messaging and, more importantly, why they donated on Colorado Gives Day. Segmenting out donors who gave to ten or more nonprofits last year on Colorado Gives Day, we sent them ten questions to better understand their experience with the day.

For me, the best question was, “If you plan to give again on Colorado Gives Day this year, do you expect to donate to different nonprofits?” The answers validated for me why I truly love this program and what I do every day.

From those who responded, we heard that 39% expect to give to different nonprofits this year. The reasons included the fact that we keep adding more nonprofits each year, because it is fun, because it is my duty, and because I have more to give.

But some of the answers surprised me. One person said that “one of the pleasant aspects of Colorado Gives Day this year was challenging friends to give to my favorite and then 'trading' donations with theirs.” 

What a great idea! This is a great way to learn about new nonprofits and expand your giving. It is also fun to hear the stories of why your friends are excited about these groups.

Another comment that caught my eye was a grandmother who talked about giving to her favorites the rest of the year and spending Colorado Gives Day teaching her grandson about philanthropy. It is his Christmas present from her. They “search out worthy and interesting organizations that fuel his passion.” I too did this with my nephew and it was fun to talk through why he was excited about a particular group and what he thinks about donating.

Whatever the reason you give on Colorado Gives Day, I am thankful that you do. It is honestly one of my favorite days of the year. It is exciting to watch the dollars, but for me it is even more fun to hear the stories – why people gave and how the nonprofits benefited from these donations. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, December 9!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Give an Untraditional Gift This Father’s Day

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator, Community First Foundation

Every year I get my Dad the same thing for Father’s Day: stuff to grill with, a silly card, a DVD, a book…and even though he’s always grateful, this year I want to go above and beyond. Maybe it’s because I have a toddler now and empathize with the joy and frustration of being a parent.

Maybe it’s because I think he’s awesome and want him to know that. Maybe there isn’t an enlightening reason, perhaps I just want to.

Regardless of the reason, I’m excited that ColoradoGives.org has a couple of great options to use not only on Father’s Day but for any special occasion during the year (birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations):

  • Giving eCards:  our eCards allow you to give the gift that keeps on giving. Giving eCards are electronic gift cards you can purchase on ColoradoGives.org and email to people. The recipient (Dad in this case) can redeem the eCard by donating to any nonprofit(s) featured on ColoradoGives.org that he would like. Simple. Unique. Special. eCards really are a great way to let Dad know you appreciate him and give to your community at the same time.

  • “In Honor of” or “In Memory of” gifts: This option allows you to make a charitable donation but also send (if you choose) an eNote to the person you would like to honor or memorialize through your gift to a nonprofit that means something special to you and/or them. Maybe your Dad got you into rescuing animals as a child or saving the planet; regardless, it’s another great way to let Dad know you love him while extending generosity to something special that connects you both.
On a personal note, to the man who introduced me to philanthropy, got me interested in public libraries (love the smell of those old books, but I digress), art, music, museums and even public radio, Happy Father’s Day, Dad--I love you.  

Now that Father’s Day is taken care of, I think I’m getting inspired for my upcoming anniversary. Hmmm.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Updating Your ColoradoGives.org Profile: When Pigs Fly?

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator, Community First Foundation

It’s that time of year again; time to begin the seemingly intimidating task of updating your organization’s profile on ColoradoGives.org. At this point, you may feel as though the task will only be complete when pigs can fly, but I assure you it can be done with relative ease. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:

  1. Most important tip? Procrastination is not your friend here. Although it’s easy to get caught up in the fires of everyday nonprofit life, avoid the day-before binge rush, stress and challenges of waiting until the last minute. Spending even 30 minutes a week on the “easy” stuff is better than spending frantic hours on everything.
  2. Get out of the office. We all know how easily distractions can get in the way of getting the large projects done. Do yourself a favor and take this project out of the office (even once a month or every two months). Grab your computer and head to your favorite coffee shop or library. One hour uninterrupted can make a world of difference.
  3. Create a checklist or use the one that we’ve created for you. The Profile Update Schedule is a great high level overview of ColoradoGives.org profiles and summarizes the most important aspects and a suggested timeline.
  4. Don’t let questions stop you from updating. We’re in the process of making enhancements on ColoradoGives.org, so you may come across things you’re uncertain about. E-mail us any time at COGives@communityfirstfoundation.org if you get stuck.
  5. Check out our Nonprofit Resources section (under Menu when you log in as a nonprofit) for a plethora of resources from videos to documents.

Pigs may not be able to fly (unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your view) but completing your profile will feel like a major accomplishment and also provide you with a great toolbox to use for other projects, such as grant applications, meetings with prospective donors and materials for corporate sponsorships. You can even can copy and paste your ColoradoGives.org profile into GuideStar for national exposure.

The deadline to submit your updates is Aug. 20, 2014, at 5 p.m. Good luck!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Top 5 Takeaways From the Colorado Gives Day Report

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation

The annual Colorado Gives Day Report shines a spotlight on data gathered from the website ColoradoGives.org about Colorado Gives Day. It also includes feedback from nonprofits who participated in this giving day.

It’s ten pages chock full of maps and charts that illustrate donation results in each Colorado county, how various organizational types fared, what we learned about donors, and much more. We highly recommend using this data to influence your online fundraising plans.

But if you don’t have time to read the full report for 2013, here are the top 5 takeaways that we found meaningful at Community First Foundation beyond the day’s record-breaking increase in dollars and donations:

  1. The majority of nonprofits acquired brand-new donors because of Colorado Gives Day. We surveyed nonprofits who participated in the giving day and 92 percent of respondents reported a donation from at least one new donor. 22 percent acquired 20 or more new donors, and 48 percent reported the return of at least one lapsed donor. That’s great news—and an opportunity for nonprofits to nurture these donors and bring them into their fold. Check out our donor retention blog and webinar for tips.
  2. Most every nonprofit got something. If you’re a nonprofit using ColoradoGives.org for Colorado Gives Day, it’s highly likely you’ll get donations on that day. In fact, 99.5 percent of participating nonprofits received at least one donation. A total of 88,571 donations came through the site with a typical size of $100. Every donation was boosted by an Incentive Fund and 18 lucky nonprofits received cash prizes from $1,000 to $5,000 from FirstBank. We also hear that there is a “halo” effect on Colorado Gives Day—meaning that people are more likely to give on this day even if it isn’t online. Nonprofits reported $2.1 million in offline donations.
  3. Most donors gave to more than one nonprofit. People shop on ColoradoGives.org. Does your profile do a good job drawing people in and exciting them about your work? The average number of donations per donor is 2.3. The greatest number of donations from a single donor was 96 donations for a total of $38,070!
  4. Returning donors account for more than half of all donations and dollars. 53 percent of donations came from a returning donor. This is a great sign that people are embracing the Colorado Gives Day movement and staying involved from year to year. Keep up that donor retention!
  5. Collaboration and expansion is spreading like wildfire. We think that Colorado will surely move up in the ranks of most generous states at this rate. The Foundation of Northern Colorado and Eagle County Gives are what we call Regional Champions who are leading the way for online giving in their communities. Collaborations such as those in Weld County, Douglas County and Boulder County are growing markedly. Dollars raised in Douglas County were up 106% over 2012, 50% in Boulder County and 50% in Weld.
What data is meaningful to you? Let us know!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Don’t Let Them Get Away!

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist

Now that I’ve got your attention, I’m referring to holding on to your donors. According to our survey, 92 percent of nonprofits reported at least one new donor from Colorado Gives Day*. So what are you doing to cultivate these brand-new supporters?

To share with you some tips and inspiration, we recently put on a webinar called Nurturing Long Lasting Relationship With Your Donors After Colorado Gives Day.

In it we talk about what can be unique about donors who first come to you on Colorado Gives Day. If they are people who didn’t already exist in your database, they probably didn’t hear about you directly from you.

So how did they hear about you?

Some possibilities include:
  • From a friend’s ColoradoGives Fundraising Page
  • By searching their favorite cause on ColoradoGives.org
  • From a Colorado Gives Day article, news or radio interview
  • Saw an ad with your logo on it
  • Via social media (Facebook, Twitter)
Keep on mind that these people may care about your cause, but know very little about your organization in particular. They are ripe to learn about you, so make a priority to keep and build their interest.

Build a Relationship

Donor support is so much more than monetary. People can help you by being an advocate, a volunteer, a networker or fundraiser through Fundraising Pages. They might even give you a major gift one day. And have you considered the cumulative impact a donor’s support can have over time?

Rather than segmenting your donors by the size of their donations, consider these categories:
  1. Regular donor
  2. First-Time donor
  3. Lapsed donor

By segmenting in this way you can write special messages based on audience type. For a lapsed donor, how about, “Welcome back!” They will be thrilled you remembered them.

In our webinar we spell out basic and more advanced ways to hold on to your donors and provide a list of donor retention resources. Check it out!

*Based on 1,205 of 1,449 Colorado Gives Day nonprofit participants responding.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Donor Retention: A Black Hole?

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator, Community First Foundation

Recently, while speaking to a frustrated donor, I was reminded of the incredible importance of communicating with supporters. The donor wished that the nonprofits she gave to were more transparent about the contributions they received and how much they raised at fundraisers.

Although it seems simple, creating positive relationships with donors is very important to donor retention. We’ll be covering this topic in our upcoming webinar, “Nurturing Long Lasting Relationships with Your Donors After Colorado Gives Day,” on February 13 from 9 – 10 a.m. 

In the meantime, review these quick, simple tips to ensure that you're treating your donors right and getting off on the right foot with your brand new donors from Colorado Gives Day. Our survey shows that 76% of nonprofits received at least one new donor that day.

  1. Thank them. Perhaps at this point you’re thinking, “Really? This is basic; I already do this.” Well you’re right, a thank you is basic. But you’d be surprised by how many organizations don’t thank their donors. A simple hand-written note, phone call or email can go a long way.  I personally appreciate it when a thank you note doesn’t include another ask. Don’t have time? Recruit some volunteers: grateful parents, past recipients, board members, anyone who loves you and is completely psyched that you’re getting donations, regardless of the amount. The more personalized the better. But if that’s too much, even posting a general thank you in your newsletter, website, or social media page is a good idea.

  2. Share your successes. Even if you didn’t meet the internal goal you set for an event, it’s super important to tell your donors how much you raised in as many places as you can: social media, your website, newsletter, etc. Timeliness is important. Don’t have an exact amount? How about using that as an opportunity to share additional details later. For example, “‘Thank you for helping us raise more than $10,000. Final numbers to be released soon.” Donors want to give to successful organizations. If you never share your successes, how will they know? Sharing results also shows transparency, which increases trust in your organization.

  3. Communicate for more reasons than to make “an ask”. The only time you communicate with your donors shouldn’t be when you need something or are having a fundraiser. Be sure you include them in regular communications about what is happening at your organization. They chose you and would love to know the ins and outs of your work. 

The number one point of these three tips? 
Creating great relationships with donors is a process (like any relationship, really). Treat donors well and they’ll continue to give to you. Treat them otherwise and, well, you might just loose them.

We’ll be sharing ideas like these and more in the webinar. Sign up and join us!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

It’s Survey Time: How to Calculate Your Online Giving Results

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

We hope you are happy with how online giving fared for your nonprofit both on Colorado Gives Day and throughout the year.

We are in the midst of reviewing data to understand the impact of ColoradoGives and evaluate online giving trends. The online survey we are e-mailing to nonprofits that use ColoradoGives.org will help us answer questions we cannot determine from our data alone—and is also considered a grant report.

Some of the survey questions require a few calculations. Not a math person? Learn how to calculate answers to key questions below.

  • What percentage of total fundraising by your nonprofit comes through ColoradoGives.org?
    The formula: (Total amount raised through ColoradoGives in 2013) ÷ (Total amount raised via all sources in 2013) x 100
  • How many donors on Colorado Gives Day were first-time donors to your organization?
    If a donor listed on your 2013 Colorado Gives Day donation report has donated to you prior to Colorado Gives Day (Dec. 10, 2013) by any means, then do not count him in the total.
  • What percentage of your donors on Colorado Gives Day were first-time donors to your organization?
    The formula: (# first-time donors, as calculated above) ÷ (Total # of unique donors on your 2013 Colorado Gives Day donation report) x 100
  • How many of your donors on Colorado Gives Day were lapsed (donors who had not given to your organization for two or more years)?
    1. Identify existing donors. The formula: (Total # 2013 Colorado Gives Day donors) − (# first-time donors) = # existing donors
    2. Check donors identified as existing in your organization’s entire donor database to see when each of them last gave to you.
    3. If the existing donor last gave to you two or more years ago, then count him. 
We hope these survey questions help you evaluate your online giving results from last year and make even more informed fundraising plans for 2014. Watch for our comprehensive Colorado Gives Day Report coming in February to learn about online giving patterns state-wide.