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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 …

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:















Date:Monday, December 7 on the West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol (Lincoln and Colfax). Parking is challenging so arrive early.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!What to Bring:Generally, two to four people to represent your …

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.
















“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 thea…

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…

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


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

Upload a photo on the contest page.Either in the photo or in the caption (which has a 300 character limit), po…

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 …

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 t…

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. S…

Business Join Colorado Gives Day Movement

By Kayla Arnesen, Director of Strategic Communications
CommunityFirst Foundation and FirstBankare excited to announce a call-for-entries for the 2015 Colorado Gives DayCorporate 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…

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 ColoradoG…

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”.

A…

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 herefor 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 createfundraising pagesthat 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…

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.

Key Facts & DeadlinesThe Nonprofit Toolkit: Your Marketing ResourceMarketing Best PracticesFirstBank 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.…

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.

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 …

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 deductibleThanks you for a previous pledge that you can’t remember giving to in the pastUses high-pressure tacticsAsks for donations in cashOffers to send a courier to collect the donation or asks for you to wire moneyRefuses to provide written information about itselfAppeals to your heart strings, especially patriotism and current events.”What’s great about using ColoradoGive…

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…

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 a…

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 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.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…

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 thi…

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…