Thursday, December 1, 2016

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

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?”
  1. 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.”
  2. 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 basics about the nonprofit – address, website, mission statement, financial graphs and testimonials – and serves as a starting point if we want to know more.
  3. If we decide to move forward, the next tab is about programs. This is my favorite tab. I love learning how the nonprofit is putting their boots on the ground to make our community better. This area also shows who their target population is, how they define success and examples of what they’ve done. Here, you might consider who the organization is serving and how. Is this something you’re passionate about?
  4. The next tab highlights their management and governance. It starts by showing the number of people who work for the organization either as a volunteer or staff member, then tells you more about the senior staff and board of directors. This tab may give you a sense of the organization’s size. Do you prefer to give to small or large organizations? It will also give you a sense of the organization’s leadership. Do the senior staff and board members seem like good leaders and stewards of your gift?
  5. If you’re a numbers person, the next tab is for you! Explore the organization’s financials. I enjoy looking at the trends. Have they grown or decreased in size over the past three years? How have they done raising and spending dollars? Where does most of their funding come from? See our blogs on how to read a Form 990 for even more tips.

Once you’re done with these tabs, it’s time to decide – does this organization deserve a place on your list? If so, great! If not, there are more than 2,000 others to choose from.

The best part? You can spread joy from the comfort of your home. My favorite way to give is curled up in bed with my laptop. Leave the clattering around on rooftops to old Saint Nick.

Have a fun and happy Colorado Gives Day!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

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. To schedule a gift early, simply go to ColoradoGives.org and click the “CO Gives Day” button during checkout.


Learn more about the ways you can give where you live this #GivingTuesday at ColoradoGives.org.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

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 I found the page, I got to learn about all the places that help animals heal and get adopted. There are places that help dogs, cats, birds, horses, goats and so many animals.  I never knew that animals also help people heal, feel better and have a normal life.

Q. How did you decide which organization to donate to?
A. I spent some time reading the descriptions and looking at the photos. It was hard to decide. I love dogs and horses so that is what I looked for first. But then Grandma Lynne and I found some other organizations that worked with wildlife that I never knew about, so I gave them some of my money, too.

Q. After you made your donations, how did you feel? 
A. I felt happy. I wished that I could go visit the organizations I gave to, because I felt that I was part of them now. Grandma Lynne and I are planning to go visit and maybe donate our time, too.

Q. Why do you think giving to organizations that help others is important? 
A. It is important to give so they don’t feel alone. The people who work at the organizations should feel like others believe in what they are doing to encourage them to keep doing their work. It will make our state a better place.

Q. How do you think young people like you can help your communities?
A. We can help by giving our time, money and other things like dog food or beds. We can also help by being nice to each other and helping people solve their problems.

Q. Would you recommend other kids use the KidsforColoradoGives.org website? 
A. Yes. I would let them know there are lots of choices and you can donate to whatever is important to you.  For example, if you love animals, education, health, art, the environment…you can learn about them!


If you’re ready to introduce your favorite kiddos to charitable giving, you can purchase Giving eCards at KidsforColoradoGives.org. Kids then use the Giving eCard code to make online donations to a Colorado charity. Buying Giving eCards and making giving decisions as a family is a great way to pass down family values and inspire a lifetime of charitable giving. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

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 impact could be.

Here are the less obvious ways you and your friends and family can get involved in the excitement of the day:
  • Join the ColoradoGives Day Corporate Challenge presented by the Denver Business Journal or encourage other businesses to do so. In its third year, the Corporate Challenge pits companies against themselves in a fun and friendly competition to raise money for the more than 2,000 Colorado nonprofits participating in Colorado Gives Day.
  • Buy a GivingeCard for your favorite kiddo to use on our newest site, KidsforColoradoGives.org, to get the whole family involved in the day.
  • Makea fundraising page for your favorite nonprofit, email it out, put it on social media and  encourage friends and family to give.
  • Schedule your donation! Especially on November 29, which is #GivingTuesday nationally, remember that in Colorado, the way we participate in #GivingTuesday is by scheduling our #COGivesDay donations. Of course, you can schedule a donation anytime between now and Colorado Gives Day.
  • Join us November 29 (#GivingTuesday) on the Capitol’s West Steps for our annual Colorado Gives Day Rally!

No matter how you choose to participate in the day, be proud, Colorado, and proud to give where you live!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

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

By Kayla Arnesen, Director of Strategic Communications
Thanks to our wonderful Colorado Gives Day media 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:


Keep an eye out for Colorado Gives Day banners at bus shelters like this one in Arvada!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

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. In Colorado, 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: 
  1. Date: Tuesday, November 29 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 11:00 a.m. and finish by 11:20 a.m. Governor Hickenlooper will join us and proclaim December 6, 2016 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 social media posts using #COGivesDay
  4. The media is invited: This is a visual event designed for picture-taking and news coverage. There are no opportunities to hand out information or perform. 
  5. Bundle up: The entire event is outside so please dress for the weather. 
  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.* The first 60 individuals to arrive will also receive giving eCards with “Donations Dollars” to use on KidsforColoradoGives.org

*If you are a ColoradoGives nonprofit outside of the Denver area, please register to participate in the fifth drawing. One registration per nonprofit.


Nonprofits gather for the 2015 Colorado Gives Day Rally.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

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 schedule donations at your leisure. When you’re ready, follow these five easy steps:
  • Go to ColoradoGives.org. Search for nonprofits or fundraising pages.
  •  Press the orange “Donate” button on the search result listing. Add your donation amount and press the “CO Gives Day” button to schedule it to process on December 6, 2016.
  • Complete the other fields and click “Add to Cart.”
  • Want to donate to more than one organization? Click on the “add more nonprofits to cart” button on the next page and keep going! Please note, if you want to add nonprofits to your cart over the course of several hours or days and checkout at a later time, you can save the items in your cart by logging into or creating a donor account.
  • Once all your scheduled donations are in your cart, finish checking out by clicking the “Checkout” button, logging into or creating a donor account, entering your payment information, and then pressing submit.
Be sure to click the "CO Gives Day" button to schedule a donation for December 6, 2016, and take advantage of the $1 Million Incentive Fund.
Please note you will receive an acknowledgement email indicating you have scheduled a donation. On Colorado Gives Day, you will receive a second email that confirms your donations have been processed. A copy of this email will also be stored on your donor account and can be accessed at any time. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.