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Showing posts from 2017

One for the History Books

Kayla Arnesen, Director of Strategic Communications
August 15th. It is a BigDay.
Plenty of historical events have happened on August 15. In 1947, India became independent from British rule. In 1969, the Woodstock Music & Art Fair opened its doors to participants and spectators. In 1973, US involvement in Vietnam ended. Today, we’re adding one more observance to the list: the redesigned ColoradoGives.org is launched and ready for visitors!
The new, improved giving website is designed to make online giving easier and more fun! Of course, ColoradoGives.org will continue to provide comprehensive, objective and up-to-date information about Colorado nonprofits. But now, it also features fresh photos and graphics, improved functionality and donor-inspired navigation.
If you are a parent or grandparent, get together with the kiddos you care about and visit KidsforColoradoGives.org. The website is a kid-friendly component of ColoradoGives.org that connects the next generation of Colorado gi…

Donor-Advised Funds: What You Need to Know Before Colorado Gives Day!

Vickie Wilson, Vice President of Development

Donor-advised funds have rapidly grown into an $8 billion market. As year-end fast approaches, some of your donors may want to consider establishing a fund. Community First Foundation encourages you to learn the facts about how donor-advised funds work and how they can best serve your donors and support your organization.

Donor-advised funds were introduced back in the 1930s as a tool for community foundations to increase philanthropy, but it was not until 1969 that Congress and the IRS legally formalized their structure. By the early 1990’s, commercial providers such as Fidelity Charitable, Schwab Charitable, and Vanguard Charitable had entered the market.  Since then, donor-advised funds have grown in visibility and popularity to become one of the country’s fastest growing philanthropic vehicles.

For community foundations, donor-advised funds serve to engage donors and nurture greater charitable activity in the community. Donor-advised fu…

How ColoradoGives.org Users Are Kind of Like Wonder Woman

Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator
I have a confession: I really liked Wonder Woman when I was growing up. Not the super cool Wonder Woman you see now, I’m talking the spinning, stiletto wearing, cheesy music, 1970s Wonder Woman T.V. series starring Lynda Carter.
My brother, sister and I would run home to watch it, big 1970s glasses and all. Then we would pretend that just like Diana Prince – Wonder Woman’s alias – we too could fight injustice with our lasso of truth, shield bracelets and boomerang-like tiara. One of the best parts about Wonder Woman is she’s reliable. She’s there to help human kind no matter what. In that way, ColoradoGives.org and its users are kind of like Wonder Woman.
For the last 10 years, ColoradoGives.org has served as the online giving resource for givers and do-ers throughout our great state. Just like the way Wonder Woman uses her powers for the good of humanity, ColoradoGives.org serves as a resource to fuel the power of community for the greater good. …

The 12th Man

Bryce Wilkinson, Senior Online Giving Specialist
The crowd could sense the opportunity, and they rose to their feet to chant and clap in unison. The 11 players out on the pitch heard their supporters and felt the energy, the power. That boost sent them forward, and soon the ball was in the back of the net, triggering deafening celebration. The crowd, the 12th man, had done their part in the stadium.
Before I started attending soccer matches, I was skeptical of this notion of the 12th man. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, it is the idea that the crowd, through its support and energy, can act as another player on the pitch – a 12th man – for the team.

Since becoming a supporter, I’ve witnessed the role the crowd plays and they can truly be a deciding factor. The 12th man is more critical than the term might imply. Without them, the stadium, no matter how nice, is dull and empty. Without them, the players' efforts are diminished. Without them, there is no community, no energy, no…

10 Years of Giving Where You Live

Angela Bevacqua, Senior Communications Specialist

Give Where You Live. I love this catchy phrase because it distills a compelling message into just four short words. We use this message to get people thinking about their communities and what they love about them.

At Community First Foundation we’re celebrating the 10th Anniversary of local giving through ColoradoGives.org. This online giving website has facilitated more than $200 million in donations in the last ten years. Nonprofits in every county of the state have benefitted from Coloradans heeding the call, “Give where you live.”

Learning about the troubles around the world can be overwhelming. But I know I can do something in my own small world, in my own small way.

For me that means teaching English as a Second Language and donating to arts and environmental organizations in my town. My favorite arts organizations are those that open a window to other cultures and perspectives through theater and film.

As part of our 10th Anniver…

10 Years of Online Giving

Samantha Barlow, Communications Coordinator
The staff at Community First Foundation enjoyed this delicious lemon cake for our 10th Anniversary of ColoradoGives kickoff party. Yes, it’s been 10 years since we launched the online giving site with just 60 nonprofits profiled. Thanks to impressive community engagement, the site now features more than 2,000 organizations.
Ten years ago, people were just starting to dip their toes into online banking and financial transactions. Creating this site helped us strengthen organizations that didn’t have the resources to accept online donations. With no setup or monthly maintenance fees, ColoradoGives.org is very affordable. The only fee – two percent – is used to cover third-party vendor charges for credit card and electronic check processing.
The 10th Anniversary of ColoradoGives.org marks an incredible milestone. ColoradoGives.org has powered over $200 million in donations to more than 2,000 nonprofits since its inception. Over the past decade,…

Success on Colorado Gives Day – Estes Medical Center Foundation’s Secret Sauce

Kevin L. Mullin, MNM, CFRE, Executive Director of Estes Park Medical Center Foundation

On Colorado Gives Day 2016, Estes Medical Center Foundation experienced a 250 percent increase in dollars raised over the previous year. With a new executive director from out of town and only one staff member, how did they do it? Executive Director Kevin Mullin shares the “secret sauce”…
Like many organizations, the Estes Park Medical Center Foundation (EPMC Foundation) is always looking for ways to increase donations for Colorado Gives Day. In the robust nonprofit community in Colorado, there are many groups doing important work and often vying for the same philanthropic dollars. In order to succeed in 2016, we knew we needed to give donors a compelling case for support and to engage more prospects.
The Estes Valley is comprised of people who are not unfamiliar with adversity. Fires, floods, impassible roads and other calamities seem to befall the area on a regular basis. The good part is that this …

Know Your Data, Know Your Donors

Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator

My heart sank as I read the thank you letter. It was addressed to me, when I had hoped it would be addressed to my four-year-old who had specifically chosen an organization as  “her” nonprofit to give to on Colorado Gives Day. I had even left details in the special instructions section detailing my daughter’s involvement and her name. She would’ve been so excited to get mail addressed specifically to and thanking her! Talk about a great opportunity to begin a life-long relationship. Alas, that is not what happened. Which brings me to the point of this blog: do you know your donors’ data?

The ColoradoGives program at Community First Foundation has declared 2017 “The Year of Thanking Donors.” You can take donor appreciation to the next level by intimately understanding every donation you receive. In the Donation Information section of your ColoradoGives profile, you can pull an Excel report 45 columns worth of  information. Here are the sections you …

Classmates, Kittens and Kids for ColoradoGives

Samantha Barlow, Communications Coordinator
When nine-year-old Jenna received a $20 Giving eCard to use on KidsforColoradoGives.org, she did something remarkable. Rather than donate this money straightaway, she took it to her school so her classmates could join her in experiencing the joy of giving.
“We had a lot of fun,” said Jenna. “We learned about all the charities around here in Colorado. We had no idea there were so many!”
Jenna received the Giving eCard from a Community First Foundation board member, Janet Heck Doyle. The Foundation recently launched KidsforColoradoGives.org, an online giving site for kids.
“I thought a lot about who to give the eCard to since I don’t have young kids,” said Janet. “I knew Jenna from the Rotary Club and thought, ‘What better way to use this than to introduce her family to the site?’ Little did I know it would mean introducing a whole classroom to KidsforColoradoGives.org.”
KidsforColoradoGives.org is a kid-friendly companion site to ColoradoGive…

Meeting Space Celebrity Sighting: Natalie Portman

Valerie Brown, Meeting Space Administrator
I met Natalie Portman in the Community First Foundation Meeting Space yesterday.
Okay, not the Natalie Portman of Star Wars, V for Vendetta and Black Swan. This Natalie Portman is a top-notch meeting facilitator who was working with a group advancing Mental Health First Aid in Jefferson County. Led by Jefferson Center for Mental Health, the group met in our largest meeting room to discuss training community members on how to identify persons who may benefit from mental health resources.
Jefferson Center for Mental Health is one of the dizzying array of nonprofits to have come through our doors since we opened the Meeting Space a year ago! February 2016 saw one meeting lasting four hours with six people. February 2017 saw 37 meetings for a total of 250 hours with 799 people through the door! In fact, in the first year we have hosted 269 meetings lasting a total of 1,822 hours and have seen 5,615 people through the door.
These people do the goo…

Kids for ColoradoGives Sparks a New Tradition for Our Family

By Chic Naumer, CEO, CiviCore

Our family tradition is to gather around the computer and participate in Colorado Gives Day — the online, 24 hour day of giving —together. This past year was different...in a great way.
Our two daughters, Stella and Claire, donated through the new KidsforColoradoGives.org website, the kid-friendly sister site of ColoradoGives.org. We gave Stella and Claire a budget and emailed each of them a Giving eCard to use on the kid site. They loved the autonomy of spending “their own money” and excitedly began planning how many organizations they wanted to give to and how much money they would have for each.
They dove into the process of researching causes and organizations. Stella, age 10, is interested in environmental and animal issues. Claire, age nine, is interested in helping people with disabilities and is a big supporter of the Anchor Center for Blind Children. They each spent an hour reading the profiles about different organizations and making their donation…

A Newbie’s Quick Guide to ColoradoGives Enrollment

By Lisa Lujan, Online Giving Coordinator
You’ve always wanted your nonprofit to participate, but it just hasn’t worked out before. Well, this is your chance! It is that time of year again, ColoradoGives.org enrollment time, from March 1 – July 31.
Nervous about the process? No need to be! This quick guide gives you an overview in three steps. (If you’re a details person, check out our Overview of Process to Create a Profile.)
Visit the ColoradoGives.org Enrollment Page. Here you’ll learn several key pieces of information; it’s important to not skim this page. Really dig into the weeds and read the details. One of the key pieces of content is a listing of the Intro Session dates. You must sign up for one of these webinars in order to participate in the program, so be sure to get it on your calendar ASAP. The first Intro Session is March 14 at 9 a.m. and the last is July 31, 2017 at 3 p.m. Another key piece of content on the Enrollment Page is our Eligibility Requirements. It is very imp…

The Magic of Marketing

By Kayla Arnesen, Director of Marketing & Strategic Communications

Last December, did you tweet about #COGivesDay? Did you post a yard sign? Did you share a ColoradoGives news story with a friend? If you did, then thank you for being part of Colorado Gives Day’s marketing magic!
Colorado Gives Day is more than just a day, it’s a statewide movement to inspire giving. One of the greatest benefits of being a ColoradoGives nonprofit in December is being able to market your organization as part of the state’s largest day of giving.
At Community First Foundation, the marketing and communications team worked to elevate excitement for Colorado Gives Day to a fever pitch leading up to December 6, 2016. The results were outstanding: generous donors gave $33.8 million to more than 2,000 nonprofits on ColoradoGives.org.
We wanted to share a few fun highlights! Media relations and community outreach from August to December 2016 resulted in: 759 news stories for a total potential reach of 373 …

The Year of Thanking Donors

By Dana Rinderknecht, Director of Online Giving

I spend a great deal of time talking to nonprofits and donors; it is the best part of my job. Telling complete strangers what I do can result in some truly amazing stories about why they donate on Colorado Gives Day. My favorite was the donor who told me she thought it should be a national holiday!
My least favorite thing is to hear from donors who love giving, but then never receive a thank you from the organization. We need to celebrate and appreciate these donors who take the time to go to ColoradoGives.org, search for their favorite nonprofits and make a gift. Community First Foundation sends each donor their receipt, but it is still the responsibility of individual nonprofits to thank these donors. It is the nonprofit’s responsibility to cultivate relationships with donors to turn them into long-term supporters.
As we move into 2017, let’s all set the goal of making this the year of thanking donors. The #GivingTuesday movement has s…