Non-profits get a boost during season of giving
by Marissa Lorenz
‘Tis the Season… to be jolly, generous, and kind. And local nonprofits are hoping that that sentiment extends beyond just family and friends and to the greater communities they serve. Next Tuesday, December 10, will be the 10th annual Colorado Gives Day, touted as “one of the largest one-day giving movements in the country.” And over 20 Grand County-based nonprofits will partner with Colorado’s Community First Foundation and First Bank to increase the impact of all Colorado Gives Day donations.
Begun in 2010 when First Bank provided financial matching to the Community First Foundation, the event has spread across the state, becoming a staple fundraising event for many organizations. ColoradoGives.org now maintains a year-round curated web-site, providing up-to-date profile information and an easy way to donate to nonprofits across the state.
But the single-day event, always held at the beginning of December, is buttressed by a $1.5 million incentive fund to be distributed to participating nonprofits, proportionally increasing donations made on this day. The incentive donation is based on direct math. For every percentage of overall Colorado Gives Day donations received by a particular organization, that percentage of the incentive fund is also granted them. For instance, if an organization receives 10 percent of the overall donations given on December 10, they will receive 10 percent of the $1.5 million incentive fund, or $150,000. If an organization raises 1 percent of the total monies raised, they’ll receive an additional 1 percent, or $1,500, of the incentive fund.
But the fundraiser has other benefits for nonprofits as well. Fundraising events are costly, both in terms of financial, time, and labor assets. This means diverting resources away from their mission and dedicated services for the purpose of fundraising. Colorado Gives Day provides a way for organizations to pool resources, take advantage of shared promotion, and collect donations, without extensive planning, executing, and clean-up on the part of staff and volunteers.
The ease of the event and the incentive also helps to boost unrestricted funds raised, an important distinction for budgetary planning. Most organizations rely on funds from private and public grant sources, many of which are restricted to specific purposes. For example, a grant may be written to help support a specific project, say, safehousing through Advocates, but received funds may, perhaps, be ineligible for administration costs of safehousing. Individual donations are generally given without restriction, meaning entities can allocated them to whatever operational costs may not be fully covered by other funding sources.
In Grand County, over 20 nonprofit organizations have come together to promote Grand County Gives, a local ask for donations for Colorado Gives Day. The group hopes that, this way they will be able to multiply their awareness efforts and supporter participation on December 10, thus increasing the amount of the incentive fund that will come back to Grand County.
And they have already begun their efforts. December 3, was a rally day, where representatives from many of the organizations moved across Grand County, gathering at public places and spreading the word about Colorado Gives Day. They have worked with local businesses to do round-ups or act as collection locations. In Kremmling, Dean’s West is asking patrons if they’d like to round their bill up, giving their extra change toward Grand County Gives. The Kremmling Mercantile and the Moose Cafe will be asking customers if they’d like to put change (or more) in dedicated collection containers. Other businesses, such as Murdoch’s, Brickhouse 40, and Winter Park Subway are acting to encourage this opportunity for local giving.
And a real opportunity it is, say local organizations. “We are always excited for the chance to work with other local nonprofits,” says Tiffany Freitag, Assistant Director of the Middle Park Medical Foundation. “Working in the collaborative group of Grand County Gives will allow us to increase and share profits. For us at Middle Park Health, this means continuing our push toward expansion of services, especially surgical services, as that’s where we see the largest need for expansion right now. And looking further out, we are really focused on bringing oncology and infusion services to Grand County, helping to keep health care local.”
Shanna Ganne, Executive Director of Grand County Historical Society, echoes the importance of the event.
“Colorado Gives is an important day on our fundraising calendar. It is the opportunity for GCHA supporters to maximize their donations that keep our museums open with the matching funds. Every donation counts and makes it possible for us to offer educational programs for adults and children, preserve artifacts, update exhibits and operate our four museums.” She explains the preservation of the Kremmling Train Depot, which recently obtained State Historic Designation, is a major project right now with renovation beginning in Spring 2020. “Your donation will make it possible to meet the 25 percent matching funds needed to begin work on the foundation for the Depot, the first step in preservation.”
And Grand County Library Foundation representative Jim Sloan says that “Donations received through Colorado Gives/Grand County Gives are a very important part of fundraising to carry out our mission.” A mission he sees as “supporting the Library District in accomplishing short and long-term goals,” though no specific project is highlighted at this time.
Other local organizations participating in the Colorado Gives Day event include Project Sanctuary, Grand County Search and Rescue, Grand Beginnings, Grand County Rural Health Network, Grand County Wildlife Council, the Pregnancy Resource Center, and Mountain Family Center, among others. For more information on Colorado Gives, to learn about the missions and visions of the organizations participating in this one-day giving party, or to make your donation, go to ColoradoGives. org/GrandCountyGives. Help to start out the Season of Giving, by giving to your community with a bang!