Thursday, December 10, 2015

Colorado Gives Day Is About More Than Numbers

By Marla J. Williams, President & CEO, Community First Foundation


Yesterday, along with many of you, we watched the Colorado Gives Day counter track the number of dollars, donations and nonprofits receiving gifts. We updated the total dollars raised every few hours on our Facebook page and applauded as the numbers mounted.

As the final hours drew closer, we crossed our fingers—would we beat last year’s numbers? If so, by how much?

After donations surpassed our expectations ($26.2 million in donations last year) and we cheered over the final number ($28.4 million raised), we paused to remind ourselves that the success of Colorado Gives Day is measured by more than just a number:

Colorado Gives Day is a success because it makes it easy and fun for thousands of donors to make a big difference for hundreds of nonprofits.

It’s a success because it mobilizes nonprofits and sparks their creative fundraising.

It’s a success because hundreds of nonprofits end the day stronger with greater resources to sustain and improve their programs.

It’s a success because it energizes people around the state to think bigger and flex their generosity muscles.

It’s a success because it reminds us how lucky we are and how good it feels to care about others.

What does success mean to you?

We are deeply grateful to everyone who contributed to the Colorado Gives Day movement. Let’s carry that feel-good spirit through the holidays!


Congratulations from Community First Foundation


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Rally at the Capitol – Six Tips for Success

By Kayla Arnesen, Director of Strategic Communications


On Monday, hundreds of individuals representing Colorado’s nonprofits will gather at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver and rally in support of Colorado Gives Day.

The Colorado Gives Day Rally happens Monday, December 7 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 December 7th, read on!

Here are six things to know to make the most of the event:

2014 Colorado Gives Day Rally With Governor Hickenlooper














  1. Date: Monday, December 7 on the West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol (Lincoln and Colfax). Parking is challenging so arrive early.
  2. Time: We begin with remarks promptly at 11 a.m. and finish by 11:30. Governor Hickenlooper will join us and proclaim December 8 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. We also encourage “selfies” and lots of postings to social media using the #COGivesDay hashtag.
  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.
Getting Noticed at the Rally

Nonprofits Fill the Steps of the Capitol Last Year

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Family Uses Thanksgiving Break to Schedule Donations

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist

After your family recovers from its “L-Tryptophan slump” this Thanksgiving, why not use your holiday break to spread thanks to the nonprofits that serve our communities?

Christine Moreland, Community First Foundation’s Controller, had the idea that Thanksgiving break—when her three daughters would be home together—would be a meaningful time to teach them about charitable giving.

By using Colorado Gives Day as the catalyst, Christine and her husband are giving each child $100 to make their own personal selections on the website ColoradoGives.org.


Tricia, Trina and Tristin Moreland














“My husband and I have always been charitable, but we have never involved the kids before,” said Christine. “We’re taking this opportunity to teach them how to use ColoradoGives.org and review local charities.”

A Passion for the Arts
Christine’s children are passionate about the arts (see the Arts, Culture & Humanities nonprofits featured on ColoradoGives.org), having been involved in theater and dance performance for much of their youth. So their giving will likely center around organizations that provide cultural experiences. “We advise them to make the experience personal by giving to the causes that move them,” adds Christine.

Scheduling Early
Christine’s family can even participate in Colorado Gives Day during their break by scheduling donations early. From November 1 – December 7, donors can schedule donations by going through the donation process on ColoradoGives.org and simply selecting “CO Gives Day” under Donation Type in the checkout Cart (pictured below).

In this way, donations are “held” and automatically run on December 8, when the value of every donation is increased by the $1 Million Incentive Fund.

Sharing
The final step? Let your friends know on social media by sharing the "I Gave Early" badge (pictured below) and start a new tradition!

Choose "CO Gives Day" for the Donation to Processon Colorado Gives Day, Dec. 8



Share this Badge on Social Media

Monday, November 23, 2015

Schedule Colorado Gives Day Donations on GivingTuesday!

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist

GivingTuesday is a campaign driven by social media 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, and aims to encourage giving world-wide.

This year 
#GivingTuesday takes place on December 1—one week before Colorado Gives Day. Although #GivingTuesday encourages acts of service, it does not accept or distribute donations. 

Luckily, ColoradoGives.org does, so December 1 is also 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. 1:

Facebook
  • #GivingTuesday, a movement to create a global day of service & giving, is Dec. 1. Use this day 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 name, keyword, city,  zip or cause on @ColoradoGives.org
Twitter
  • Schedule your #COGivesDay donations today, #GivingTuesday!
  • Explore local nonprofits on #GivingTuesday at @ColoradoGives.org

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 over $400,000 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.

If you have the opportunity to interact with any of our sponsors, please thank them for their outstanding support:

The Networks of 9NEWS
iHeartMedia (Formerly Clear Channel)
Entravision
Comcast
Denver Business Journal
Rocky Mountain PBS
Colorado Public Television (CPT12, PBS)
Mile High Outdoor Advertising
5280 Magazine

Colorado Public TV Prize Helps Small Nonprofits

By Kayla Arnesen, Director of Strategic Communications


Kayla Arnesen
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.

“We understand marketing a small organization is really challenging,” said Pam Parker of Colorado Public Television (CPT12, PBS). “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.”

The prize consists of a 10-week media campaign through Colorado Public Television that includes production of a 30-second commercial, airtime and more. Entries are accepted from November 15, 2015 through December 8, 2015.

Participation Instructions

  1. Upload a photo on the contest page.
  2. Either in the photo or in the caption (which has a 300 character limit), post a response to the following question: "How does Colorado Public Television (CPT12, PBS) build community?"
  3. Choose the nonprofit to which they would like the prize to be awarded and complete all the other required fields on the submission form.
  4. At the end of the contest, Community First Foundation will conduct a random drawing of the eligible photos. The winner will be selected and notified in late December 2015.


Nonprofit Eligibility
To be eligible, nonprofits must meet the following criteria.

  1. The nonprofit must have $100,000 or less in total annual revenue as reported on tax year 2014 financial documents uploaded to ColoradoGives.org
  2. The organization must have an active, publicly visible profile on ColoradoGives.org 


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

RTMD uses Colorado Gives Day to Launch Cold Weather Campaign

We always enjoy learning about the creative ways nonprofits use Colorado Gives Day as a catalyst to promote their work in the community. As always, we include some of our favorites in the video we create annually to inspire you.

Deborah Jourdan, a Rebuilding Together Metro Denver board member, shared the following about their cold weather campaign:

Weather forecasters are expecting the El Niño effect off the West Coast to whip up a snowy winter around Denver. With that in mind, Rebuilding Together Metro Denver is launching a cold weather campaign called the RTMD Shovel Brigade (#RTMDShovelUp) on Colorado Gives Day.

Since 1999, RTMD has been serving low income older adults, those living with disabilities and veteran homeowners by partnering with sponsors and volunteers to provide free health and safety repairs to homes. During the winter, RTMD focuses on repairing and replacing faulty furnaces and water heaters, along with other items that impact health and safety.


This winter RTMD is encouraging people all over the Metro area to join the RTMD Shovel Brigade and help ensure that those who are older, disabled and have served in the military are safe walking outside their homes.

All who donate before, on, or after Colorado Gives Day, will receive a sticker to place on their shovels to show they are part of the Brigade. Like the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, people are then encouraged to post a photo or video of themselves shoveling a community member’s walk, using the hashtag #RTMDShovelUp, and challenging others to do the same.

Money raised will go toward RTMD's furnace and water heater repair and replacement program. In conjunction with this campaign, Keller Williams-DTC has signed up for the Colorado Gives Day Corporate Challenge, aiming for 100 percent participation from their agents, who are also asked to use the hashtags #RTMDShovelUp and #KWDTC on social media.

Does your organization have a clever Colorado Gives Day campaign to share? Let us know at cogives@CommunityFirstFoundation.org.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Stewardship Is The Next Step

By Vickie Wilson, Vice President of Development, Community First Foundation

Colorado Gives Day offers a wonderful opportunity for nonprofit participants to attract new donors. These new relationships can be strengthened and deepened through a focused, intentional stewardship plan.

But prepare your plan now, before Colorado Gives Day. Make sure the plan includes the basics:

  • Thank You: Acknowledge gifts in a timely manner and, when possible, personalize your thank you. Use the donor’s name, reference the gift’s purpose and include additional information that helps connect the donor with the work of your organization. Make your thank you is heartfelt and simple.
     
  • Mission: Don’t assume that your new donor knows about your organization. Have letter, e-mail and website templates ready for communicating your mission, past successes and future plans. Stories and photos that describe the impact of gifts are particularly effective. If you have a newsletter, make sure your new donors are added to the list. Subsequent communications can include a phone call, an invitation to an event or to a face-to-face meeting.
  • Data: Collect, maintain and analyze information on your new donors, their relationships, charitable interests and their giving history. This will enable you to tailor messaging and match donor interests. And if you find that you can’t provide the same level of stewardship to all of your donors, prioritize based on the gift size or the information that you have gathered.
  • Ask: Creating stronger, deeper donor relationships will improve your chances to attract larger gifts from repeat donors. Whenever appropriate, solicit your donors for their continued support.
You may now be wishing that you had taken the time to steward last year’s Colorado Gives Day donors. If so, go back to last year’s new donors list.

If they have not been stewarded, contact them by letter, phone or e-mail and thank them again for their past gifts. Share what their giving has enabled the organization to accomplish and remind them of the upcoming December 8th deadline. Most importantly, ask them for their continued support.

Whether the donor is new or not-so-new, it is never too late to steward.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

How One Clever Colorado Gives Day Campaign is Promoting Epilepsy Awareness


The 6th Colorado Gives Day is right around the corner – set to kick off this year on December 8th – and over 1,700 Colorado nonprofits are gearing up for the statewide movement, crafting memorable and fun campaigns to promote their cause.

We caught up with the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado (EFCO) to see what they had planned for this year’s event. They shared with us their plans for social media and e-mail marketing and gave some tips other nonprofits can use to craft their own campaigns. Here’s what EFCO is up to:

Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado’s #FlatCamper Campaign

What it is: You’ve heard of Flat Stanley and his ventures across the globe; now you can have similar adventures with EFCO’s #flatcamper campaign, all in the name of a great cause!

How it works: EFCO has created both boy and girl Flat Camper drawings, available for download on their website. They are asking supporters to download and "style" their camper, then take them on an adventure to share on social media. Supporters are using EFCO’s coined hashtag #flatcamper to share photos on social media with a link to the donation page, and the campaign is already starting to take off with photos being posted to both Twitter and Facebook!

Why the campaign works: EFCO leads the fight to stop seizures, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy for the Colorado community. Programs include Project UPLIFT, Rock 'N Rally Summer Camp for Kids, and the Jason Fleishman Summer Camp, to name a few. The organization’s most popular programs are their summer camps and the #FlatCamper campaign works to promote these camps, as well as general awareness of their foundation, while providing a fun way to interact with supporters.

Tips for Nonprofits to Craft Their Own Colorado Gives Day Campaign
For an effective Colorado Gives Day Campaign, nonprofits should be sure to use their current support network by reaching out on their website, social media and e-mail. Here are some tips to help you promote your own winning campaign:

Website Announcements
Make sure to post information about Colorado Gives Day on your website – and don’t forget a link directly to your donation page. Including impact statements for a range of donation amounts helps your supporters understand exactly where their donation dollars are going. Some of EFCO’s impact statements include:


  • $15 provides a camper the experience of crafts at the YMCA of the Rockies
  • $45 provides a monthly bus pass or medication to someone in need
  • $250 sends a child to Rock n’ Rally camp for 3 days
  • $550 sends a teen to Jason’s Camp for 5 days

Social Media Posts and Shares
It is no secret that images and video attract the most social media likes and shares. So why not ask your supporters to share their stories along with photos? Make sure there are clearly labeled links to your social media pages on your website as well as in any e-mails you send out. Giving followers options to interact increases your chances of participation. Here are some ideas:
  • Caption this photo – ask your social media followers to help you caption a funny or cute image on Facebook
  • Share your favorite stories – if your supporters have shared testimonials or stories with you on social, like and share them to get the word out
  • Promote the "I Gave Early" badge – share a link to the badge and ask anyone who donates to let their network know they gave to a great cause!
E-mail Blasts
As a nonprofit, your supporter list is one of the most valuable pieces of information you have. Once you’ve created your cute and clever campaign, sit down and work backwards to create your e-mail announcements. Sending weekly or bi-weekly e-mails to your top fans will only help grow your campaign.

Make sure to send a kick-off e-mail to your best supporters early, letting them know you’d like their help. Some may be able to donate, some may want to help in other ways, so make sure to give your supporters multiple options to participate. Some ideas you can copy and paste are:

  1. Share a link to our donation page on your Facebook or Twitter
  2. Like your favorite picture on any of our social media accounts
  3. Provide a testimonial for the our services
  4. Forward the e-mail to friends/family/coworkers

Now that you have the ammunition you need, it’s time to start building and promoting your own campaign. Here is to another successful year for everyone and many more to follow!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Business Join Colorado Gives Day Movement

By Kayla Arnesen, Director of Strategic Communications

CommunityFirst Foundation and FirstBank are excited to announce a call-for-entries for the 2015  Colorado Gives Day Corporate Challenge presented by the DenverBusiness Journal.

Launched last year, the Corporate Challenge pits companies against themselves in a fun and friendly competition to raise money for the more than 1,700 Colorado nonprofit organizations participating in Colorado Gives Day, on Tuesday, December 8, 2015.

By setting an employee-participation goal, companies across the state can join the Colorado Gives Day movement and contribute to what has become one of the most important and successful annual fundraising efforts in Colorado.

Here is what Geri Mitchell-Brown of Rally (now a part of CA Technologies) has to say about her organization’s participation in the very first Colorado Gives Day Corporate Challenge. “Our employees were energized and enthusiastic about this event, which is a great way to build a sense of community and commitment to giving back within our organization. We look forward to another successful year.”

Seven community-minded organizations participated in the first-ever Colorado Gives Day Corporate Challenge last year and they have already signed up to participate again this year. Right now we have the following businesses on board for 2015:


  • CA Technologies
  • CiviCore
  • Community First Foundation
  • EideBailly
  • FirstBank
  • Innovest
  • Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP 
  • LinhartPR
  • ReadyTalk
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. Learn more and sign up!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

FirstBank Sets $100,000 Aside for Nonprofit Prizes on Colorado Gives Day

By Lisa Adams, FirstBank

FirstBank has been a proud supporter of Colorado Gives Day, the state’s largest online giving movement, since its launch in 2010. Everyone at FirstBank is passionate about the initiative and honored to give back to the local communities that have helped us grow and succeed. Each year, we provide more than $600,000 in support for ColoradoGives, including $100,000 that goes straight to nonprofit organizations through several fun prize programs:

"Why Colorado Gives” Social Media Prizes ($1,000 each)
From Monday, November 30, through Friday, December 4, FirstBank Facebook fans will have a chance to win one of fifteen $1,000 cash prizes to donate to the Colorado Gives charity of their choice. To qualify, fans will have to post a photo or video to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram about why they give. When posting your photo on Facebook make sure the privacy settings are set to public so Community First Foundation & FirstBank can view it. Posts must tag ColoradoGives on Twitter or Facebook and FirstBank on TwitterFacebook or Instagram, and use the hashtags #WhyColoradoGives and #COGivesDay. Winners will be randomly drawn from a statewide pool three times a day throughout the five day contest.

Live Rally Prizes ($1,000 each)
Community First Foundation will coordinate a random drawing of five nonprofit names at the Colorado Gives Day Rally on December 7 at the State Capitol in downtown Denver. FirstBank will hold random drawings and award $1,000 prizes to four attending nonprofits and one regional nonprofit selected from organizations that register online before the event.

Luck-of-the-Draw Prizes ($5,000 each)
In late December, FirstBank will randomly select and award $5,000 to sixteen ColoradoGives organizations. 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.


Click
HERE for more information about the prizes.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Promote Scheduled Donations with this New Badge

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist

New this year is another fun social media badge that celebrates people who schedule their Colorado Gives Day donations early.

Starting Nov. 1, our scheduled donations feature goes live on ColoradoGives.org. This is an option that will appear during the check-out process from Nov. 1 through Dec. 7.

We encourage nonprofits to upload this new “I Gave Early!” badge onto their social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter while encouraging their donors to use it.

If you have the manpower and time, you can even e-mail a badge directly to the donor. To do this, simply use the email address in the donation notification e-mail that is sent to the ColoradoGives Primary Contact after a donor schedules her donation.

Then you can attach the badge and e-mail something as simple as, “Thank you for scheduling your Colorado Gives Day donation to [put your name here]! Feel free to share this fun badge with your friends and family on social media”.

And don’t forget the “I Gave” badge for people who donate during the 24-hours of Colorado Gives Day on 12/8/15. Share it on your Facebook (or other social media) page, use it as a profile picture and encourage others to do the same!

You can find these badges on the Colorado Gives Day Nonprofit Toolkit and our Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Winning Ways: What Nonprofits Have to Say About Excelling on Colorado Gives Day

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist

My favorite webinar to put together is the one that shares the strategic and creative ways nonprofits promote Colorado Gives Day. If you missed this recent webinar, watch the recording here 
for some inspiration for your own promotional plans! This and other related videos can be found in the Colorado Gives Day NonprofitToolkit. 

Here are some takeaways I compiled from Wendy White’s (Executive Director of Larimer Chorale) segment, representing a small nonprofit:
  • Make sure your board of directors and volunteers are your advocates. They can create fundraising pages that reach new donors. 
  • Finish your ColoradoGives profile as early as possible so you can link to it in all of your electronic materials.
  • Push hard for donations when scheduled donations begin on November 1 so people can take action right away.
  • Give people something to aim for, such as “help us raise money to build our orchestra.”
  • Emphasize that you have been vetted by Community First Foundation to participate in ColoradoGives.

Maggie Schlundt and Sarah Wallace with Creede Repertory Theater shared these thoughts:
  • Make sure you create a marketing strategy with a timeline and goals.
  • If you set a goal, make sure you keep people updated on how you are doing, and whether you meet the goal.
  • Thank you's are so important. Follow-up is just as important (if not more), as lead-up.
  • Solicit your own match to motivate donors.
  • Connect supporters with you through lots of different avenues.

Amy Farnan and Becky Plunkett with Craig Hospital Foundation, said:
  • Capitalize on and share personal stories of clients/patients who can be your ambassadors.
  • Strategy is really important. Figure out how to stand out and get your message across.
  • Promote scheduled donations on Giving Tuesday (December 1 this year).
  • Get your board and staff on board to share your message!
  • Your board members are usually among your largest donors; encourage them to make their annual gift to you on Colorado Gives Day. If you’re in the midst of a capital campaign, encourage your donors to make their donations on Colorado Gives Day.


Watch the recording to get even more gems of advice.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Get the Scoop on Colorado Gives Day – Fast!

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist

Is your nonprofit new to Colorado Gives Day? Or are you just seeking the lowdown for 2015? Either way, we encourage you to check out our short, informative videos.

With a typical length of about 3 ½ minutes, you can get yourself and your Colorado Gives Day team up to speed. We highly recommend sharing them with your volunteers, board, and any others who have a role in the event. These and more support tools are located in the CO Give Day Nonprofit Toolkit.
One of four informational videos

  1. Key Facts & Deadlines
  2. The Nonprofit Toolkit: Your Marketing Resource
  3. Marketing Best Practices
  4. FirstBank Prizes & $1 Million Incentive Fund (coming in the fall)

And while you’re at it, register for one of our most popular webinars: Winning Ways: How Three Nonprofits Met Their Goals on Colorado Gives Day, coming August 13 at 9 a.m.

This webinar will give you a chance to learn how other nonprofits—ranging from small to large—pull in donations and new donors on Colorado Gives Day. This is your chance to glean ideas from experienced participants and ask questions directly. Join us!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Why This Couple Said "No" to Wedding Presents

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation

As Mike and Amy planned their wedding, they already felt so blessed! Beyond the intangibles of love, family and friends, they each had fully equipped homes at their stage in life. A gift registry and wedding presents just didn’t feel right.

"At this joyful time in our life, we have so much already in place. Material gifts just don’t seem to feel right to us as we celebrate our marriage. Please consider supporting our wedding by giving to our new Jackson Family Donor Advised Fund at Community First Foundation. We are both passionate about supporting nonprofit organizations and by making a gift to our Fund we can distribute money at just the right time to the causes we care about...” 
Mike Jackson works at Community First Foundation, so he knows a thing or two about philanthropy. But more than that, he knows about the charitable tools the Foundation offers.

Charitable Funds
Mike and Amy always dreamed of having a charitable fund, specifically a donor-advised fund like the Foundation manages. Donor-advised funds enable people to set aside dollars specifically for giving to charities without the administrative responsibilities.

The Aha! Moment
Then a light bulb went off, and they thought of a perfect way to finance a charitable fund. Since Mike is also familiar with ColoradoGives Fundraising Pages, he hatched a plan to use this free tool to enlist their wedding guests to donate to their fund in lieu of wedding gifts.

A Fundraising Page
A fundraising page is a personalized web page that can be dressed up with pictures and video. It also includes a fundraising goal and a persuasive reason why your friends should donate to the nonprofit you feature on the page. In Mike and Amy’s case, they were seeking support for the Jackson Family Fund at Community First Foundation that would benefit multiple charities over many years.

A Perfect Solution
Once their web page was live and ready on ColoradoGives.org, they shared the link on their wedding website. “It’s really easy and fun to set up a fundraising page,” said Amy, “and we’re excited our wedding helped us build the charitable fund we always wanted. We look forward to sitting down as a family each year and selecting charities to support.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How to Stay Safe from Charity Fraud

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator, Community First Foundation

A few months back I came across an article called "Don’t Get Scrooged," by Mitch Morrissey, Denver District Attorney of the Second Judicial District. Given the fraudulent nature of the age we live in, I’d like to share some of the DA office’s important safety tips.

The first part of the article says that "donors should be wary about giving without doing a little research to ensure the charity is legitimate.”

It continues by saying to "avoid any charity or fundraiser that..." 
  • Won’t provide proof that a contribution is tax deductible
  • Thanks you for a previous pledge that you can’t remember giving to in the past
  • Uses high-pressure tactics
  • Asks for donations in cash
  • Offers to send a courier to collect the donation or asks for you to wire money
  • Refuses to provide written information about itself
  • Appeals to your heart strings, especially patriotism and current events.”
What’s great about using ColoradoGives.org, our online giving website,  is that you can know the following for certain:
  • Every nonprofit on the site is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization that must be registered and in good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office
  • All donations through ColoradoGives.org must be made using a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express) or the information from a bank account (personal checking, business checking, or savings). You needn’t create an account to make a one-time donation, and all payment information is stored with the secure third-party e-commerce payment service providers we use, not on our site.
  • All information about us (Community First Foundation--the nonprofit that operates the site ColoradoGives.org) can be found on our website.
  • All the information about the nonprofits featured on our site can be found on the nonprofits’ profiles. Have more questions than what is provided? Feel free to contact the nonprofits directly using the contact information that can also be found on their profiles.
Additional tips from the Denver DA article include creating a Charity Checklist that includes:
  • Asking for the name of the charity if the telemarketer does not provide it promptly.
  • Calling the charity directly to find out whether it’s aware of the solicitation and has authorized use of its name.
  • If they claim the charity supports local organizations, call the local groups to verify.
When you use ColoradoGives.org you can rest assured that:
  • The charities on the sites have provided us with their legal names and the supporting documentation.
  • If you have any concerns about a solicitation you’ve received you can easily find the contact information of all our nonprofits on their individual profiles.
  • Even if they don’t serve the Colorado area, all the nonprofits on ColoradoGives.org must either be headquartered or providing services with a physical office in Colorado.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Springing Forward on Search

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator, Community First Foundation
I love spring – watching trees bud, birds sing, plants turn green and seeing even more of that great Colorado sunshine! I know it’s cliché but spring is one of the changes I look forward to every year. In addition to getting excited about the changes of spring, here at Community First Foundation we’re also excited to share with you one of the great changes we’ve implemented to improve our online giving website ColoradoGives.org.

Every year the ColoradoGives team asks for feedback from donors, nonprofits and fellow team members– each year the same request comes up, “when are you going to improve your search?”

We’re very excited to announce that changes in our search are here! We’ve just launched new search functionality that co-mingles nonprofits and fundraising pages in the initial search results to make it easier for donors to find exactly what they’re looking for.

Although the option to filter by “nonprofits” or by “fundraising pages” still exists, we believe this new change, along with other enhancements we’ve made, will make it that much easier for donors to find what they want.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Save Money with ColoradoGives Fundraising Pages

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator, Community First Foundation
The end-of-year fundraising season is gone with the cold weather. But warmer days bring a different kind of fundraising—summer sports events for charity. Marathons, climbs, bike races, walks and more proliferate in the coming months.  

If you’re thinking about taking part in an event and using it as a springboard to raise money for a favorite charity, check out fundraising pages on ColoradoGives.org. 

Our fundraising pages are similar to "crowdfunding" sites, except ours help you raise money for one of the 1,690 local nonprofits profiled on ColoradoGives.org. Best of all, using ColoradoGives fundraising pages--and encouraging your supporters to do the same--can save you a lot of money in fundraising costs. Below is an example of typical cost savings. 

Sample Fundraising Goal:
Raise $50,000 from 1,000 people giving $50 each


ColoradoGives Fundraising Pages
Fee: Flat 2% per donation (no set-up fees, no monthly fees and no additional cents per donation)
Total cost to raise money = $1,000

Similar Fundraising Site
Fee: 5% of total raised, plus 2.9% and a $0.30 fee per donation
Total cost to raise money = $4,250.
That's $3,250 more in fees than you would pay on ColoradoGives.org. Put another way, you would need to raise an additional 65 donations to equal the amount raised on ColoradoGives.org.

Through ColoradoGives.org you can create a fundraising page as a nonprofit or a donor. As a nonprofit, you can use our Super Campaign feature to group several fundraising pages together. This allows you to show an overall goal and amount, but you can also then share a URL to provide donors with one spot where they can see all of the donor/individual fundraising pages associated with your campaign. Then they can choose the pages they would like to give through. 

Be sure to research all your options and read the fine print when choosing a "crowdfunding" site for your organization's next fundraiser. Visit the Fundraising Page section of our FAQs for more information.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Chomping at the Bit? Deadlines You Need to Know


Just when you thought you could breathe a heavy sigh of relief at the end of a busy year, Colorado Gives Day is back! All jesting aside, ColoradoGives.org veterans know that now’s the time of year where preparations begin to kick into full gear. Here at Community First Foundation we’re getting excited for the season with the first of our Intro Sessions beginning this week. Feeling a little lost amidst the dates and deadlines? Fear not, in this short blog we will cover some of the most important dates you need to remember.

New Nonprofits
  1. Read Enrollment Page. If you’re a nonprofit who wants to be part of ColoradoGives.org, then start with our enrollment page. It outlines basic eligibility requirements, provides an overview of the process to create a profile, and has links to register for Intro Sessions.
  2. Sign Up for Intro Session. New nonprofits are required to attend an Intro Session. These fill up quickly, so don’t miss them. The first one is Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 3:00 PM and the last is Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 10:00 AM. There are 10 sessions total, so if you meet the basic eligibility requirements, get it on your calendar and sign up today.

Existing Nonprofits
  1. Review Profile Update Schedule. If you’re an existing nonprofit who’s live on the site, check out our Profile Update Schedule. It walks you through the process to complete the required annual update of your profile with as little stress as possible. This schedule starts in May, but of course you can begin updating your profile at any time.


Profile Deadline for All
Whether you’re a new or existing nonprofit, the most important date you need to remember is Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 5:00PM (save date to calendar: Outlook or Google), when all new profiles must be submitted for review and all existing profiles must be updated. We have a variety of resources to help you accomplish this easily from documents to videos (all of which can be found under the Menu| Nonprofit Resources section of your profile). Of course, you can always email us at CoGives@CommunityFirstFoundation.org if you get stuck along the way.


Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with new and existing donors on Colorado Gives Day and be sure to get those profiles submitted or updated by Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 5:00PM. Good luck.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Your Nonprofit Survey Cheat Sheet

By Bryce Wilkinson, Senior Online Giving Specialist

It’s that time of year again. I’m not talking about setting resolutions. No, it’s time for the annual ColoradoGives Nonprofit Survey! We call it a survey, but it is more than that. We really consider it your grant report to Community First Foundation.

“A grant report,” you say, “I don’t remember getting any grants from Community First Foundation.” Many nonprofits actually did receive a grant from Community First Foundation because gifts made through ColoradoGives.org in the name of your organization are treated as gifts to the Foundation which we then grant to your nonprofit.

If your nonprofit has indicated on its profile that it offers Enterprise Zone and/or Child Care Credits, then Community First Foundation serves as a pass-through organization. In either case, Community First Foundation provides ColoradoGives.org to your nonprofit without any set-up charges or monthly maintenance fees, so we appreciate hearing from you about how this fundraising tool influences your nonprofit.

The questions on the survey are things we cannot pull from our data, so we need your help. Since some of the questions require you to do a few calculations, we like to provide you with those questions ahead of time and briefly explain how to arrive at the answer. That way you can have all the information ready to go and can quickly complete the survey when you receive it in mid-January.

Here are the questions we suggest you work on before trying to complete the survey:
Question:
How many Colorado Gives Day donors were first-time donors to your organization?
How to answer:
If the donor on your Colorado Gives Day 2014 donation report has donated to you before (i.e., the person is in your organization’s entire donor database prior to Colorado Gives Day 2014), then do not count him. If the donor has NOT given to you in any way before, then count him.

Question:
What percentage of Colorado Gives Day donors were first-time donors to your organization?

Use this formula:
(# first time donors / total # of unique donors on Colorado Gives Day 2014 donation report) * 100

Question:
What was the total dollar amount your organization received from first-time donors on Colorado Gives Day?

How to answer:
Sum all of the Colorado Gives Day 2014 donations for the first-time donors as calculated above.

Question:
How many Colorado Gives Day donors were lapsed (donors who had not given to your organization for two or more years)?
There are three steps to this:
  1. Use this formula: total # Colorado Gives Day 2014 donors - # first-time donors as calculated above = # of existing donors
  2. Check the 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. If the existing donor last gave to you more recently than two years ago, then do not count him.
Question:
What percentage of total fundraising by your nonprofit comes through ColoradoGives.org?
Use this formula:
(total amount raised through ColoradoGives.org in 2014, including Colorado Gives Day / total amount raised through all sources in 2014) * 100

Thank you for all your hard work to make ColoradoGives and Colorado Gives Day so successful in 2014. We look forward to working with you again this year. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Three Simple Steps on How to Start Fresh Digitally in the New Year

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator, Community First Foundation

Take a deep breath. Let it out. Colorado Gives Day is over and another year has come and gone. Not only is the New Year a great time for personal and professional goals, it’s also the prime time to do some “house cleaning” to your profile on ColoradoGives.org.

Step 1. Clean up your profile.
This step can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Either way it is a wonderful opportunity to add new photos or videos, remove former board members, add new testimonials or talk about what’s new at your organization and your plans for 2015.

Step 2. Add or remove administrative users.
When was the last time you looked to see who has access to your organization’s profile? An important security step, this can also be a good time to reflect on who has access to your profile and who needs it.

To review who currently has access to your nonprofit’s profile, look at the users listed on the Organization Overview tab in the Overview section of your profile. Then have a current user complete one of two forms on the Nonprofit Resources area (you have to be logged in to see this area).

Links to the forms are located on the dashboard when initially logged in – Menu | Nonprofit Resources. Then navigate to the “Request Administrative Access to Profile” or “Remove Administrative Users” links as appropriate.

Once everyone you want to have access has it, they can log in using their own login information to edit their notification preferences.

Step 3. Edit your contacts.
The Contacts tab is for ColoradoGives.org and it tells us who we need to contact. Because we’re working with such a large number of nonprofits, we have four contact types per nonprofit: Head of Organization, ColoradoGives Primary Contact, Monthly Disbursement Contact and Other Newsletter Contact.

Details about each contact type can be found on the Contacts tab of your profile. Once you’ve reviewed your contacts to make sure the right person is receiving the right email, edit as necessary. This video offers a quick “how to” as well.

Take another deep breath. Relish in the delight of having made little changes that will have a big impact on your ColoradoGives.org profile. Way to go and welcome to 2015!