Your favorite nonprofit has probably been inundating you with numerous emails, postcards and other promotions as Colorado Gives Day approaches on Tuesday.
December is a make-or-break time for many nonprofits as they rely on donors’ end-of-the-year generosity to set them up for the coming year. The number of La Plata County charities participating this year has exploded, as they hope to take advantage of the statewide promotion to add to their coffers.
Local nonprofit participation has increased steadily over the last few years, with seven signing on in 2014, 13 in 2015 and up to 22 in 2016, although that number does not include statewide charities such as the American Heart Association or American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado or nonprofits that operate in La Plata County but are based elsewhere in the state.
Promoted with the idea of “Give where You Live,” the day allows donors of all incomes and interests to donate online, with some matching funds available through the Community First Bank and Community First Foundation.
Trails 2000 took the slogan and expanded it in its promotions for Tuesday, encouraging supporters to “Give where You Live and Play.”
“Please help us reach our goal of signing up 100 new supporters, including 50 of whom are automatically renewing members, by donating your gift to Trails 2000 on Colorado Gives Day,” Executive Director Mary Monroe said. “Whether you ride, run, hike, walk your dog and more on Durango’s trails, we need your support to help make our work possible to plan, build and maintain the trails and make our community a great place to live, work and visit.”
The website operates year-round, and giving does not have to take place on Tuesday, although that’s when the bank and foundation offer a $1 million matching incentive fund, split by how much each charity receives that day.
In 2015, the Durango Arts Center received 58 donations on the actual Colorado Gives Day, for a total of $6,760, but by continuing to promote the donor platform, it brought in $8,576 by the end of the month, Executive Director Cristie Scott said. The arts center made the Colorado Gives its year-end campaign and was happy with the results, she said.
Being included as a nonprofit in Colorado Gives Day is not easy.
“It takes a lot of time to prepare the documents for getting approval for the listing,” said Elizabeth Testa, executive director of the Durango Education Foundation. “Some small nonprofits might not have wanted to invest that. Colorado Gives does carefully vet the organizations they list, so it should be reassuring to donors that these are legitimate.”
Her organization put some consideration into deciding to apply.
“One reason DEF participates is that the day focuses some attention on the giving part of the season,” Testa said, “rather than just the getting, and it draws attention to the very real needs in our community.”
One thing Testa likes about the site is the ease as a one-stop destination for donors.
“They can go to the ColoradoGives.org site, find charities, list the donation and keep ‘shopping’ to give more,” she said, “without having to leave the site, re-enter card information, etc. Or donors can go to the website of their favorite charity and click on the CO Gives button on the charity’s home site, as they can for DEF. Donors can also schedule ahead for gifts to be posted on Dec. 6.”
The 247 donors who made 298 donations to La Plata County charities on Colorado Gives Day in 2015 were among the 47,806 Coloradans who donated, said Kayla Arnesen, the spokeswoman for Community First Foundation. Those donors raised more than $28.5 million for 1,884 nonprofits. That was up from $26.2 million in 2014. Since Colorado Gives day began in 2010, it has raised more than $111 million for Colorado nonprofits.
The results of what happens on Colorado Gives Day are not released until the January or February, but local nonprofits have their fingers crossed now that their supporters will increase 2015’s donations.