Local nonprofits organize for Colorado Gives Day
With less than a week until the launch of Colorado Gives Day, officials with Mesa County Collaboration, a philanthropic joint venture, pushed their power in numbers strategy.
Appealing to the hearts and minds of Grand Valley givers, the coalition of nine local charities spread the word that 100 percent of online donations made at ColoradoGives.org on Tuesday will go to designated charities free of credit card service fees thanks to FirstBank.
By waiving processing fees, FirstBank made possible the collection of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of extra dollars for nonprofits, many of which struggle for donations in the current lackluster economy, said Joy Thompson, program director for Mesa County Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Thompson helped organize the county’s first nonprofit collaboration in 2012 and worked on this year’s effort with Mesa Land Trust development officer Mary Hughes.
“It’s a really nice statewide event that wasn’t well publicized, so I created the collaboration just to really raise awareness and to be able to get that momentum going with other nonprofits,” Thompson said.
In a struggling economy, donors can be difficult to come by and nonprofits may feel compelled to compete for local philanthropic dollars, but Thompson said she had a different vision.
“We don’t want it to look like a competition that we’re out to out-do other organizations on Colorado Gives Day, but that we’re here and that there’s people who are interested in the missions of all of our organizations and willing to support us on that day,” Hughes said.
There were eight nonprofits in the Mesa County Collaboration in 2012. This year, there are nine.
“In such a small (geographic) area, just the power of collaborating and having other charity organizations — all of us are in the same boat, struggling for donations in a weak economy — just bringing everybody together creates a strength,” Thompson said.
Two nonprofits — Roice-Hurst Humane Society and Grand Valley Zoological Quest — joined the collaboration this year, but one, Light Gives Heat, dropped out, Hughes said.
“It’s not that we wouldn’t like to be a part of that,” said David Hansow, Light Gives Heat director. “The meetings and things and setting up in different locations, we just didn’t see it as very beneficial.”
Personnel changes at most of the nonprofits involved in the collaboration also caused some “relational” issues, Hansow said.
Meanwhile, Light Gives Heat secured an anonymous donor who agreed to match whatever donations come through the ColoradoGives.org website on Dec. 10.
Last year, the nonprofit collected a total of about $75,000 on Colorado Gives Day with the help of matching funds, Hansow said.
“It’s really important to us that (Colorado Gives Day) goes well and that we get the word out,” he said.
Hughes said she planned to organize more business underwriters for next year’s Colorado Gives Day like Kannah Creek Brewing Co., which on Monday tapped a keg and raised $356 for the Mesa County Collaboration.
Made possible by the nonprofit Community First Foundation, ColoradoGives.org encourages charitable giving by providing comprehensive, objective and up-to-date information about Colorado charities and an easy way to support them online, foundation officials said in a news release.
Colorado Gives Day 2012 generated $15.7 million for 1,246 Colorado nonprofits. More than $35 million total has been raised for local nonprofits through Colorado Gives Day since 2010, officials said.
In addition to waiving credit card processing fees on Dec. 10, FirstBank added several nonprofit cash prizes totaling $100,000, officials said.
The bank committed $600,000 in total to this year’s program, which, in addition to the prizes, includes the FirstBank Incentive Fund and financial contributions to help cover credit card processing fees, so that 100 percent of all donations go to nonprofits on Colorado Gives Day, officials said.
FirstBank’s prizes will consist of ten $1,000 prizes and 18 prizes worth $5,000 each. The $1,000 prizes will be awarded to nonprofits chosen by randomly selected participants who answer online trivia questions correctly, officials said.
The trivia questions are posted on FirstBank’s Facebook page through Friday. Each trivia winner selects a nonprofit profiled on ColoradoGives.org to receive the prize.
Winners will be announced on the FirstBank social media pages and the ColoradoGives Facebook and Twitter pages.
To be eligible to receive one of FirstBank’s $5,000 prizes, nonprofits must receive a minimum of 30 donations on Colorado Gives Day.
Eighteen of these organizations will be randomly selected to win. Winners will be announced in January.