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The Ripple Effect of Colorado Gives Day

By Marla J. Williams, President and CEO of Community First Foundation
A child gives up his or her allowance to help a nonprofit charity. A community member discovers a new organization they’re passionate about just down the street. A nonprofit serving home bound seniors is able to deliver 20 percent more meals next year.
After seven years, I am still stunned by the ripple effect of Colorado Gives Day.
The numbers are always incredible. This year, donations totaled $33.8 million. Generous donors made more than 145,700 gifts to 2,111 nonprofits in just 24 hours. These numbers represent the extraordinary generosity of individuals all across the state. Thank you for your contributions yesterday and for being part of the Colorado Gives Day movement.
As we look at the far-reaching effects of Colorado Gives Day, the best indicator of what's to come may be our newest program, Kids for ColoradoGives. A portion of the $33.8 million raised yesterday came through KidsforColoradoGives.org, a n…

The Real People Behind the Scenes

Meet the Online Giving Team
Ever wonder what’s happening behind the scenes on Colorado Gives Day? Answering questions, processing donations and communicating progress is an all-hands-on-deck affair at Community First Foundation, but there are three staff members who really keep the ColoradoGives.org wheels turning, today and every day. Meet the online giving team!
Meet Dana Rinderknecht, director of online giving Q. What’s your role on the team? A. I raise awareness of the program and keep it moving forward with exciting new ideas like KidsforColoradoGives.org.
Q. What’s the coolest thing about ColoradoGives.org most people don’t know? A. That you can set up ongoing, regular donations to your favorite nonprofit to support them year-round. This gives them funds they can rely on and helps you spread out your cost.
Q. What are your personal charitable passions? A. For me, it’s about making the world a better place.
Q. What are you most looking forward to doing the day after ColoradoGives Day – …

Making Your List and Checking It Twice: How to Read Nonprofit Profiles for Colorado Gives Day in Five Easy Steps

By Dana Rinderknecht, Director of Online Giving at Community First Foundation
Colorado Gives Day is coming! Once again it is time to make your list and, like Santa, check it twice!
As you craft your list, the wonderful thing about ColoradoGives.org, the online giving platform for Colorado Gives Day, is that you can learn more about the nonprofits you already support as well as others you didn’t realize were out there doing good work. This year we have more than 2,000 nonprofits from all over the state of Colorado participating.
You might ask yourself, “What can I learn about these nonprofits?” and, “Where do I start?”
Go to ColoradoGives.org and search. You can search by name, cause, or location. For instance, if you want to find out which nonprofits are working in your neighborhood, type in your zip code and press “Go.”When you see one you like, click “Learn More” on the widget to view the profile. The first tab is an overview of the program, starting with pictures and videos. It gives…

Participating in #GivingTuesday the Colorado Way

By Samantha Barlow, Communications Coordinator at Community First Foundation
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us in a wave of late night lines and busy websites; today is #GivingTuesday. In Colorado, the way we participate in #GivingTuesday is by scheduling our Colorado Gives Day donations.
This year, our Colorado Gives Day Rally coincides with #GivingTuesday to remind Coloradans to give where they live. The Rally is the last “big hurrah” before Colorado Gives Day and takes place on the West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol. Nonprofit representatives show up in costumes, FirstBank conducts five cash prize drawings, and the Governor officially proclaims December 6, 2016, as Colorado Gives Day.
Sixteen-year-old Allison Winn of the Stink Bug Project is also talking all about KidsforColoardoGives.org as the place for kids in the Colorado Gives Day movement.
Nonprofits and Coloradans across the state will continue to rally support for their causes in the last days before December 6.…

Meet Karma, a Kid for ColoradoGives!

By Samantha Barlow, Communications Coordinator at Community First Foundation

Karma Lynne is 10 years old. She’s a fifth grader, a Lakewood resident and a community volunteer. She’s also a Kid for ColoradoGives!
Kids for ColoradoGives is a new program that allows young donors to experience the joy of giving. Community First Foundation created KidsforColoradoGives.org, a kid-friendly component of the ColoradoGives.org website, to connect the next generation of Colorado givers with local nonprofit organizations.
This weekend, we interviewed Karma about her experience using the new site.
Q. What did you think when your grandmother, Lynne Valencia, asked you to check out KidsforColoradoGives.org with her? A. I was excited to give money to places that help others. I never knew there were so many organizations in Colorado that do good.
Q. Did you learn something new on KidsforColoradoGives.org? A. I really liked looking for organizations that help animals. That is where I wanted to donate. When …

Pride, Eggplants, and a Case for Spreading the Word

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator
I’m not going to lie, I’m proud.
I’m proud to be a part of the ColoradoGives program at Community First Foundation because I love helping other people. I’m always a little thrown back when people ask where I work, then look at me like I have eggplants growing out of my ears when I enthusiastically reply, “I’m part of the ColoradoGives program at Community First Foundation!” 
Even though I’m thrown back, it’s okay. It’s okay because it’s a great opportunity to tell them what I do, how important our nonprofits are to the community, and why we should support them.
We know that for many of you, this season – especially Colorado Gives Day on December 6 – is one of the most important fundraising periods of the year. That’s why I’m encouraging you to share the ways people can get involved with ColoradoGives.org on Colorado Gives Day. Shout it from the rooftops! Tell friends and family to do the same. If we all tell one new person, think what the impac…

Great Big Thank-You to our Colorado Gives Day Media Sponsors

By Kayla Arnesen, Director of Strategic Communications Thanks to our wonderfulColorado Gives Daymedia sponsors, our statewide movement is receiving nearly $500,000 in donated print, online, on-air, bus board and billboard media support. These powerful partnerships help us spread the word about Colorado Gives Day. We are pleased to welcome a new sponsor this year, Outdoor Promotions of Colorado, which is sharing the Colorado Gives Day message on 20 bus stop shelters located around the Denver metro area.
If you have the opportunity to interact with any of our sponsors, please thank them for their outstanding support:

The Networks of 9NEWSUnivisionComcastColorado Public Television (CPT12, PBS)Outdoor Promotions of ColoradoiHeartMediaRocky Mountain PBSMile High Outdoor AdvertisingDenver Business Journal5280 Magazine

Rally at the Capitol - Six Tips for Making the Most of the Event

By Samantha Barlow, Communications Coordinator at Community First Foundation

At the end of the month, hundreds of individuals will celebrate Colorado’s thriving nonprofit sector and rally in support of Colorado Gives Day.
The Colorado Gives Day Rally happens Tuesday, November 29 at 11 a.m. (rain, snow or shine) on the Capitol’s West Steps.
This year’s rally is taking place a full week before Colorado Gives Day. We want to capitalize on the charitable momentum of #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by social media, to encourage Coloradans to donate locally through ColoradoGives.org. InColorado, the way we participate in #GivingTuesday is by scheduling our Colorado Gives Day donations.
The Rally is the last “big hurrah” before Colorado Gives Day (December 6). If you are a participating ColoradoGives nonprofit and can get to the Capitol building on November 29, read on! 
Here are six tips to help you make the most of the event:  Date: Tuesday, November 29 on the West Steps of the C…

It’s Time – Schedule Your Colorado Gives Day Donations!

By Samantha Barlow, Communications Coordinator at Community First Foundation
Q. Would you say you’re more of a planner or a procrastinator?
A. Planner. You're going to be thrilled. Do we ever have the tool for you! Starting today, November 1, you can schedule all of your Colorado GivesDay donations. These donations will process on Colorado Gives Day, December 6, and still qualify for the giving day perks like the $1 Million Incentive Fund.
A. Procrastinator. You're in good company. As a fellow procrastinator, ColoradoGives has just the tool to help us kick the habit. Starting today, November 1, we can schedule our Colorado Gives Day donations to make sure we don’t miss our chance to support nonprofits working to make our communities better. Scheduled donations will process on Colorado Gives Day, December 6, and will receive a boost from the $1 Million Incentive Fund.
How Scheduling Your Donations Works Take your time, explore the variety of nonprofits serving your community and…

FirstBank Prizes: Who Doesn’t Like a Little Extra?

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation

FirstBank, corporate partner for Colorado Gives Day, is giving nonprofits participating in the 24 giving blitz a chance to add even more to their coffers. Like previous years, FirstBank is contributing $500,000 towards the $1 Million Incentive Fund plus $100,000 in cash prizes. The cash prizes are a fun way to bring in a little extra. 
$100,000 in Cash Prizes
Here’s the breakdown of this year’s prizes. Our tried and true prize categories have returned, along with one that is new and different:

Facebook Trivia Prizes – 15 prizes at $1,000 eachRally Prizes – 10 prizes at $1,000 eachLuck-of-the-Draw Prizes – 13 prizes at $5,000 eachKids for ColoradoGives Prizes – 1,000 prizes at $10 each
Something New for Kids
This year we’re allocating $10,000 for nonprofits receiving donations through KidsforColoradoGives.org, our new website for young givers. As a kid-friendly component of ColoradoGives.org, this site makes o…

KidsforColoradoGives.org Launches With Event at the Denver School of the Arts

By Samantha Barlow, Communications Coordinator, Community First Foundation

Now there's a special place for kids on Colorado Gives Day! Community First Foundation has launched Kids for ColoradoGives, a new Colorado-based online giving program designed for kids and families.

KidsforColoradoGives.org is a kid-friendly component of the ColoradoGives.org website where young donors can experience the joy of giving in a fun, safe environment.

At the launch event at the Denver School of the Arts on September 15, 2016, Colorado Lt. Governor Donna Lynne remarked, “This website helps kids learn about all the ways local nonprofits make our lives better and has the power to inspire a lifetime of charitable giving. Kids for ColoradoGives is the only giving program that offers a real-world giving experience in a trusted, safe online environment." The Lt. Governor is serving as a Kids for ColoradoGives program ambassador.

As  part of the launch, FirstBank gave every 6th and 7th grade student…

Morris Animal Foundation Ties Colorado Gives Day into National Campaign

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation, and featuring Jackie Poliseo, Donor Relations Specialist, Morris Animal Foundation

Q: Jackie, what does Morris Animal Foundation do?
A: We are one of the only foundations that funds animal health research. We fund scientific studies for companion animals, horses and wildlife globally, but primarily in the United States. We fund a lot of research at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and are headquartered in Denver.

Q: Tell me about your donor base.
A: It’s mostly individuals, including pet owners and animal lovers; but sometimes researchers who are applying for research grants. A lot of veterinarian clinics the memorial program on our website where the veterinarian or client can donate to us in memory of a pet and choose one of our memorial cards. Our donors are nationwide, not just in Colorado.

Q: How do you fundraise?
A: We have two major campaigns per year…

Dairy Arts Center Uses Colorado Gives Day to Boost Capital Campaign

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation, and featuring Beth Smith, Development Manager, Dairy Arts Center

Q: The Diary Arts Center in Boulder has really transformed in the last few years! Can you give us an overview of your mission and purpose?
A: The Dairy Arts Center is Boulder’s largest multi-disciplinary community arts center. It houses arts organizations such as theatre and dance, and includes art galleries, performance venues, teaching and dance studios, a cafe and an art-house cinema.We are in the final stages of a major renovation and will finish next summer.


Q: How has The Dairy used Colorado Gives Day to support fundraising?
Q: How did you promote the match?
A: The match was from prominent, well-known arts supporters and helped us pull in another $20,000 in donations. In addition to a direct mail postcard and emails, we used lots of social media. We included a photo of the donors and a personal appeal that I think resonated with people.
Q: …

Dairy Arts Center Uses Colorado Gives Day to Boost Capital Campaign

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist, Community First Foundation, and featuring Beth Smith, Development Manager, Dairy Arts Center

Q: The Diary Arts Center in Boulder has really transformed in the last few years! Can you give us an overview of your mission and purpose?
A: The Dairy Arts Center is Boulder’s largest multi-disciplinary community arts center. It houses arts organizations such as theatre and dance, and includes art galleries, performance venues, teaching and dance studios, a cafe and an art-house cinema.We are in the final stages of a major renovation and will finish next summer.

Q: How has The Dairy used Colorado Gives Day to support fundraising?
A: I was a new employee in 2013 when we participated in our first Colorado Gives Day, and creating our ColoradoGives profile helped me learn a lot about the Dairy. It’s just a three-person team working on the event—me, the marketing director and ED--so that first year I took advantage of the marketing materials and ed…

Getting Ready for Guests

By Bryce Wilkinson, Senior Online Giving Specialist

Summer. A time for running through sprinklers, riding bikes, vacations and the many other activities long days with sunshine afford. At our house, as I’m sure is also the case for many of you, we typically have friends and family stay with us at various points throughout the summer. Before our guests come, we always tidy up a bit, so everything is in order and looks good when they arrive.

This same concept of getting your house ready for guests applies to your ColoradoGives.org profile.

Each year you are required to complete the entire Profile Update Process. The Profile Update Process is a way to make sure you have reviewed the profile, updated information as necessary, checked for accuracy and uploaded current required documents.

It is important to complete the entire Profile Update Process for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it is a requirement for your profile to remain on ColoradoGives.org, to participate on Colorado Gi…

What It Means to Be a Champion

By Samantha Barlow, Communications Coordinator

In June, seven current and prospective Regional Champions gathered at Community First Foundation’s Meeting Space to build community, share ideas and learn about new programs, website enhancements and ways to help nonprofits better steward donors.

ColoradoGives Regional Champions partner with us to increase online giving in regions beyond metro Denver. They extend the “Give Where You Live” message by providing support, outreach and awareness to the local nonprofits in their communities.

We interviewed Susie Davis with Eagle County Gives to get an insider’s view of our day in June:

Q. How long have you been involved with ColoradoGives as a Regional Champion?

A. Eagle County Gives was an early adopter. Through the collective efforts of several Eagle County nonprofits over the past four years, we formed a new local community foundation called Our Community Foundation. I staff Our Community Foundation and we are the fiscal agent for Eagle County G…

Three Tips for How to Answer The "Should We Be on That?" Social Media Question

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator

Should we be on Instagram? I’ve heard that Snapchat is the latest, can you get us on that? Is Google+ still relevant? Why aren’t we on YouTube?
If you’re like me, not only have you heard some of these questions before, you’ve asked them of yourself. The truth is there are a LOT of ways to use social media to engage with your audience today. It seems like I can’t get through a week without hearing about “the latest and greatest” new platform we HAVE to be on. It can definitely feel a little overwhelming at times. So how do you know if your organization should be on a specific social media platform or not?
To help answer this question, I’ve come up with a few tips I’ve learned over the years to help you narrow down which platform(s) might be best for your organization.
The first tip is… Know your audience. It’s an old adage, but, unlike the constantly changing tech environment we live in, it remains consistently true. If your audience doesn’t spe…

Crisis Planning for Colorado Gives Day

By Dana Rinderknecht, Director of Online Giving

Tuesday, May 3, was Give Local America Day 2016. This giving day allows communities around the country to do something similar to Colorado Gives Day. This year there was a technology glitch in most of the communities causing the online fundraising platform, Kimbia, to go down for almost 10 hours in the middle of the day. I was asked by Beth Kanter to write a blog about our crisis planning process for Colorado Gives Day, and we thought Colorado Nonprofits might find this informative.

Lessons from Give Local America Day
On Give Local America Day community foundations across the country rally to support local nonprofits in what is marketed as the largest community-driven crowdfunding event of the year. As a self-proclaimed Gives Day Junkie, I love giving days. We have not participated in Give Local America Day, but ColoradoGives.org has completed six gives days and over the course of these we have raised over $111 million dollars for Colorad…

Blog 2: Tips on How to Read Form 990

By Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist
We’re back with the second half of our discussion about how to read Form 990. Our first blog explained the purpose and value of Form 990 and how the summary page can give us a quick snapshot of a nonprofit’s financial health. Now we learn how to dig a little deeper.


Q: Beyond the Form 990 summary page, what other sections can help a donor evaluate a nonprofit’s financial health?
The most common areas that are relevant to donors are:
Part VI: Governance, Management & Disclosure Sections A & B. These sections are a series of questions about a nonprofit’s board of directors and its policies. Section A discloses how the nonprofit is managed and governed. Section B discloses the policies the board has adopted. Many of the policies referenced, such as a Conflict of Interest policy, are considered best practices for nonprofits operations.
Part VIII: Statement of Revenue Types of Funding. This section tells you how an organization is fund…