Skip to main content

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 creates a community where people possess strength. People in Estes are “Mountain Strong.” Although a task may seem big or perhaps insurmountable, there is a focus on developing a strategy to get it done. With that, the board and staff got to work. 

One of the critical parts of our effort last year was to focus primarily on a project that people could endorse. Although EPMC Foundation can always use unrestricted money, we decided to promote a priority project: replacing the Infant Security System in the New Life Center. Offline support for the project was strong, and we decided to parlay that into online backing. We translated the project into a digital campaign for Colorado Gives Day; however, having a good project was only half of the equation. It was critical to raise awareness of the need – including among people who are not EPMC Foundation donors. We call them “future donors.”

We executed a strategic marketing plan, one that called for wide social media promotion on Facebook and the EPMC website. In addition, a partnership with the Estes Park Trail-Gazette enabled the campaign to get print advertising that drove prospects to the Colorado Gives Day website. We contacted past Colorado Gives Day donors and other prospects using a four-part email appeal, beginning three weeks before Colorado Gives Day.

EPMC Foundation was able to sustain a large increase year-over-year on Colorado Gives Day, but the secret is there was no special sauce. It happened because staff and board members worked hard to keep the message out in the community and communicate the good work that EPMC Foundation does – and this must be done all year long. It is very difficult to be invisible throughout the year, and suddenly appear in December and raise a lot of money.  What happens in December is typically a direct result of the work done from January through November. EPMC Foundation is grateful for the team at the Community First Foundation. Their work to develop the ColoradoGives online platform has been a big boost to the organizations in the Estes Valley.


Popular posts from this blog

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…

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, 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 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…

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 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
Q. What’s the coolest thing about 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 – …