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!

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