Where does your money go Denver Gives?

We often get the question, “Where does your money go?”

Although we are a 501(c)3 organization, it’s a myth that we receive everything as a donation. As a matter of fact, it’s getting harder and harder to get fully donated services, especially. We are a business that has expenses that we have to pay for just like any other business. To pay for our expenses, Denver Gives has three sources of income.

First Source: Membership.

Ideally, our membership of $25/year or $100/lifetime goes to our operational expenses. Although we are currently an ALL VOLUNTEER organization, we still have expenses. Phone, location, printing, supplies, event expenses, etc. These expenses, ideally, are paid for by our membership. Now, although we are not there quite yet, it is our goal for our membership to pay our operating expenses.

Second Source: Events.

Ideally, 100% of our event income will go directly towards our programs and services.

Our Charity Partnerships Committee (CPC) could have a pool of money to provide funding to one of the three charities a year we are assisting in this program to implement one or more of the committee’s recommendations. Example, if the charity feels that they want to implement the recommendation to find a grant writer to secure more grants, then Denver Gives will pay the grant writer chosen by the charity partner. Our Founding Sponsor for our Charity Partnerships Committee is Mercury Payment Systems, which provided the committee with $2,000 to give to the service providers picked by our charity partner to implement one of our recommendations. IF our events go well this year, MORE money will go directly to help the charity partners in 2011!

Our Educational Series for Small Nonprofits (ESSN) is program that requires venues, trainers, printing, and other items that require funding. The more money we raise, the larger the venue we can secure, the better the trainers we can provide to local nonprofits at NO COST to the local nonprofit.

Our Resource Development Program (RDP) will have more funding in order to provide local nonprofits with more resources, like our online Resource List, coming in April 2011, that allows local nonprofits with the ability to find needed resources in one location. Example, if a nonprofit is in need of an auditor, photographer, venue that holds 200 people, etc., they can access our online resource list for FREE and find what they are looking for, knowing that every company or individual listed has been researched by Denver Gives to be “nonprofit friendly”.

We have other programs and services that we are looking to implement in the coming years, but all need funding to make them a reality!

Third Source: Grants.

In deed this source of income is the most difficult. Because we are not a children’s charity, animal charity, disease oriented charity, etc, finding funding for what we do through grants is extremely difficult. But we are always looking for the opportunities and fortunately have just brought on a volunteer that has grant writing experience and is always looking for opportunities for us! But again, it’s hard when you do what we do. Although our programs and services are taken advantage of by animal, kids, disability, disease oriented organizations, that does not count in grant making for the most part.

We are a 501(c)3 organization and abide by and follow the IRS codes that go along with that designation. All donations to Denver Gives are tax-deductible according to the provisions and limits within the IRS code associated with 501(c)3 organizations.

You can help by becoming a member today, or attending our events. For those of you with corporate ties, helping us by promoting our sponsorships to your company would also be a huge help!

For more information, go to www.denvergives.org today!

Denver Gives Events “Cool”? Are you kidding me?! AWESOME is the Word!

Denver Gives has always prided itself on running unique and fun events. Ok, we all love “Cool” events, but with the help of our new event committee the events we have planned for 2012 and 2013 are in one word, “AWESOME”!!!!

September 22, 2012 Half Way to St. Patty’s Day Pub Crawl! 

Break out your GREEN and St. Patty’s Day garb early as we celebrate a weeeeeee bit early! 6 months early to be exact! Join us for our Half Way to St. Patty’s Day Pub Crawl! Join us downtown as we crawl between 5 local bars and restaurants in getting our green on, but hopefully not in the face! :)

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In March 2013, ROCK & RUNWAY!

In March we will be holding our 2nd Annual Rock and Runway! A fashion show and concert featuring some of hte best local bands, local designers and more! This year we will be holding the event at an airport hangar! Copters for a Cause will be providing helicopter Rides for VIPs throughout the night and we will have some of the best local bands and local designers. We will also have an Open Bar, Food from local restaurants, and Goodie Bags!

Sponsorships still available for this event. Plenty of time to get it in your budget for next year!

All Denver Gives members will receive a discount to these events if they are not a members only event.

Stay Tuned for more information about these events and of course our monthly socials!

We do need volunteers for these events as well. Contact us for more details.

All proceeds from these events go to Denver Gives so that we can continue to provide NO COST programs and services for small local nonprofits.

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In the summer of 2013 watch for a fun community event for all ages! 

Our Ridiculous Ride at Lakeside Volunteer Festival will feature small local nonprofits from all over the Greater Denver Metro area. We will be riding rides, playing games, eating and drinking and having a great time! All while getting to know some of our community charities and finding out what volunteer opportunities they have available as we move from the summer to the giving season of the holidays! Get a jump start and joins us for this one of a kind event!

Denver Gives Charity Partnerships Committee

Well, it finally happened! We completed our first Charity Partnerships Committee Report! The Chanda Plan Foundation was the first small local nonprofit to receive this NO COST service from Denver Gives. The 31 page report was submitted to the Board of Directors and Founder of the Chanda Plan Foundation in February, 2011. After almost a full year of this first ever type of service, the Chanda Plan had a full organizational analysis with recommendations AND a list of resources to implement the recommendations made by our all volunteer committee.

Our Charity Partnerships Committee was made up of experts in Law, Marketing, Event Planning, Graphic Design, Nonprofit Management, Management, Grants, Volunteer Management, Accounting and Finance. These volunteers provided at least 40 hours of volunteering to help make this NO COST service available to the Chanda Plan Foundation. They spent on and off almost 10 months of their time to give the Chanda Plan a comprehensive organizational analysis. This analysis was developed through interviews, documentation submission from the Chanda Plan Foundation, research, and the experience of our volunteers.

Denver Gives was also fortunate to receive a grant from Mercury Gives, the Mercury Payment Services Community Giving Committee in DTC, and will provide the Chanda Plan Foundation with $1,000 to implement one or more of the recommendations from our committee. This was always a dream of Denver Gives, to provide small nonprofits with funds to implement the recommendations provided by the committee, and Mercury Payment Systems, with their commitment to the local community came through HUGE with a seed grant for this service provided by Denver Gives! Honestly, this has been a dream and as I am writing this, I am getting goose bumps because Denver Gives has been a personal dream of mine since 2008 and to see one of our services receive funding and have it be able to impact a local small nonprofit is something to cherish. Thank you so much Mercury Payment Services and the Mercury Gives Committee for seeing our vision, believing in our program and service and being there to support our dreams! It’s companies like yours that truly make a difference in our community and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

The next recipient of our Charity Partnerships Committee service is Assisted Cycling Tours. The entire Committee is very much looking forward to assisting this organization in their efforts to provide cycling as a fun activity for people with disabilities and their families!

We are also EXTREMELY excited about a certain expertise from a very special new volunteer that has a desire to give back and feels that the Charity Partnerships Committee might be a great opportunity to utilize his very specialized skill that, until now, has been utilized by very large companies and large governments. Again, goose bumps just thinking about the possibilities of applying something entirely new to the nonprofit community! Proof that anyone can apply their skills to help nonprofits!

We are still in need of professionals in the following fields to help Assisted Cycling Tours:

Finance > Banking > Insurance > Law >  Accounting > Event Planning > Management > Marketing > Development > and anything else you think a nonprofit would need assistance with as a business. Some of these would be in addition to volunteers that we already have on our committee, but the ability to have more than one person assisting in helping this charity in a given area of expertise is always helpful!

For more information on volunteering, see our volunteer page by clicking HERE.

Denver Gives Resource Development Program

Originally, Denver Gives began throwing parties and giving the money to local charities. Since then we have identified some gaps in service within the nonprofit community and are trying diligently to fill those gaps with resources that will help, in particular, small Denver-based nonprofits.

Through our Resource Development Program, we will work to continually identify these gaps and develop the bridges and resources to fill in those gaps. In 2010 we identified some fundamental gaps and are putting money and time into filling those gaps. Most of our focus has been on providing some online, vetted resources that we have seen small nonprofits asking for, including but not limited to, templates for budgeting, equipment purchasing, venues for events and meetings, manuals, templates of all types, accountants, legal assistance, and so much more, it’s too much to list here. Besides online resources, we are looking to partner with other organizations, like the Colorado Nonprofits Association and the Community Resource Center, as well as governmental agencies to coordinate all resources and trainings for the good of small nonprofit community and not duplicate services and programs that are currently successful and efficient.

If you would like to help in this effort, please contact us at info@denvergives.org to help us possibly begin a committee that can assist our ability to coordinate resources for the good of our nonprofit community here in Denver, and even all of Colorado.

Denver Gives Charity Partnerships Committee

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Man, I wish I knew someone that knew something about this that would guide me through at least part of this!”?

Well, Denver Gives was thinking that to themselves so we went to some other local small nonprofits to try and get some assistance. They did not know much more than we did. Hmmm… what to do?

Identifying a need, Denver Gives reached out to the community asking for volunteers that had experience in certain business disciplines like Law, marketing, grants, events, just to name a few. And although it took over a year to get this program up and running, the Charity Partnerships Committee has just completed its first Evaluation Report for the Chanda Plan Foundation!

The Charity Partnerships Committee is made up of individuals from various fields that meet as a group to discuss and evaluate a local small nonprofit. This committee is provided with documentation, budgets, collateral materials, lists, interviews, and much more that they use in identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges that the organization faces. They then make recommendations and provide a list of resources to implement those recommendations to the charity partner. The final report from all committee members is put together and presented to the charity as a guide for them to hopefully help them become a stronger more efficient organization.

Here is what the Chanda Plan Had to say about half way through this project:

“DG is assessing The Chanda Plan Foundation from many different angles. From how we function from an operations stand point to evaluating our decisions on fundraising and programs. We always need guidance and not only does DG provide this in areas that need improvement, they have a team of experts that give time in strategizing the best ways to address challenges.  Board of Directors can only do so much. DG helps organizations move forward with success because a lot of thought is put into their research and suggestions.”

 

Chanda Hinton
Executive Director
The Chanda Plan Foundation
www.iamtheplan.org

We are thrilled to be delivering our final report to the Chanda Plan Foundation this month! They have been patient and were an amazing organization to work with in developing this Denver Gives service. We learned a lot and we hope that with this final report, they learn a lot about themselves and how they can become better in many different facets of their organization.

Our goal for 2011 is to provide this service to 3 small Denver based charities. If you are interested in being a part of this committee, please see our volunteer opportunities at www.denvergives.org!

Denver Gives Educational Series for Small Nonprofits (ESSN)

Have you ever been to a training and after attending the training said to yourself, “That was not directed at me, I didn’t get much out of that.”?

I think we have all been there. Now imagine you are running a small company. You do everything! Human resources, marketing, operations, programs and services, public relations, communications, web copy, purchasing, book-keeping, recruiting, management, networking, etc. You do all this in about 10 hours a day. How do you determine if a training is going to be worth it? Wouldn’t it be helpful if you knew that your presenter understands who you are and what your challenges are with implementing any teachings of the training?

Well that is just what the Educational Series for Small Nonprofits does for local leaders of small charities!

Denver Gives recruits presenters on topics that local small nonprofits have stated they would like more information about and then works with those presenters. We want the presenters to understand their audience and to make sure that there are at least 5 takeaways that the attendees can do immediately following the training to make in impact on their organization. And we do all of this at NO COST to small local charities.

Here is what one organization had to say about one of our trainings:

“It is a great opportunity for us to get information and resources we couldn’t normally afford. Thank your for focusing on small non-profits!”

Erin Jemison
Membership Coordinator
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault
www.ccasa.org

In 2011 we are upping our ante! We are going to run ESSN every month for 10 months starting in January. First topic will be Liquor laws and how they relate to charities and charitable events. This topic was of interest to our liquor donors as well and will be attending too. Other topics that will be covered this year, Marketing, Social Media, Board Development, Volunteer Recruitment, Sponsorships, Collaboration and more. If you are interested in speaking on any of these topics, please contact us at info@denvergives.org TODAY!

Giving: It’s That Simple. Really!

What do you think of when you hear the word “Giving”? Do you think of money? Volunteering?
Everyone has heard the phrase, “Give and You Shall Receive”. But what exactly do you receive and in turn for what? Although “Giving” is supposed to make us feel good, sometimes it brings on feelings of anxiety, stress, and even shame… especially if we want to “give” but haven’t yet.

Well, Denver Gives is making it very simple for ALL to give back to the Denver community. Our Mission is to “Promote Community Giving and provide valuable resources to local small nonprofits.”

Let’s take a look at the first part of our mission… “Promote Community Giving”.

Denver Gives was founded to give young professionals in Denver a way to give back by simply attending Happy Hours and other fun and unique events. Since more young professionals go out at least once a week to relieve stress and hang out with their friends, simply attending any happy hour that is associated with a charity immediately allows them to give back and thus promotes community giving. If they enjoy it, then they have more of their friends attend and may even tell others at work, etc., and in essence promoting community giving by simply telling others to attend a Happy Hour! Yep, it’s that simple!

At all our events and on our website we have information on volunteering. Volunteering is a way to give back by just offering your skills (physical or working knowledge) to a charity for a period of time. That time could be a couple hours for just one event, or more if you become a member of a committee or the Board of a nonprofit. We all know that volunteering lends to good feelings about yourself and what you are doing, so we won’t go to why people volunteer here, but know that it can be as simple as helping a charity pour beer at a festival (People’s Fair this June 5th and 6th, please visit the Denver Gives Beer Booth!) for a couple of hours. :)

Denver Gives is developing some online tools to help bring young professionals and nonprofits together to help make it simpler to Give. You can also visit www.metrovolunteers.org to find more opportunities.

The second part of our mission is to provide NO COST programs and services to small local nonprofits.

Providing programs and services, although we are currently a volunteer organization, we still have expenses, and by becoming a member of Denver Gives for just $35 a YEAR, our members allows Denver Gives to exist, to provide services and programs and pay for our operating expenses. The money raised through our events goes directly to programs and services that we offer to local small local nonprofits at NO COST to the nonprofit.

Don’t think that giving back is something you have to really think too much about or give a lot of time too. Giving is as easy as going to a Happy Hour! So come join us!

Let’s Have Some Fun!

Denver Gives was founded as an easy way to give back to the community based on one simple phrase…”Party For A Purpose!”

its’ summer time and time to have some fun! We have a lot planned this summer and into the next year that will be fun and a lot of events that will be unique to our community!

Our belief is that if we can make things fun, that more people will attend and thus our scope and reach into the community will grow. This growth will in turn foster and promote giving in our community and thus strengthen individual bonds with their city and community and in turn strengthen our community at large!

FUN! Are parties fun? They can be. Although our slogan is “Party For A Purpose”, not everything we do is a party. Although some of the things we will be pulling together for the summer will be fun! We have made some great contacts and have more people on our events committee that just want to make our events exciting, unique and yes… FUN!

Our Denver Gives members, for just $35 per YEAR, receive discounts at all our events as well as complimentary drink(s) at our Happy Hours! Now that is FUN too!

Monthly we hold a Happy Hour on the Fourth Tuesday of the month. By simply attending and bringing friends, you help Denver Gives because a lot of times, Denver Gives will be given a donation from the bar or restaurant if we have enough people attend! SO very much so, by simply attending and attending the Happy Hour, you are helping make a financial contribution to Denver Gives!

May 25th is our next Happy Hour at SPILL LOUNGE! Enjoy $1 Tacos and drink specials all night!

Signature events are our events unique to Denver Gives and raise the most amount of money for Denver Gives and thus provides us the financial resources to help provide NO COST programs and services to small local nonprofits.

Our next Signature event is in June and is a Members Only event at the Clock Tower, Moonlight and (either Martinis or Margaritas)! We haven’t decided yet! This event will be held in conjunction with the launch of Wildly Successful Networking group of Entrepreneurs. We are very excited to have such a unique venue! You must be a paid member of either group to attend. Only 150 tickets will be sold and this event will be an open bar and open food event!

Another event that we hold annually is our Cranberry Jam which will be in November! We are very much looking forward to this event as well as many others that you can find listed on our website or in another blog posting on this site.

We also have events that Denver Gives is not hosting, but a portion of proceeds go to help Denver Gives. One of these is coming up on memorial weekend and is a Pre- and Post- ROCKIES GAME PARTY on May 31st at Rex’s Lounge. Hosted by Cursive Promotions, this event features LIVE MUSIC post game and Drink Specials all day!

We hope you will join us for some FUN and look forward to seeing you on May 25th!

Corporations and Giving

Corporations do receive an unbelievable amount of requests from nonprofits to give to their causes. Honestly, I have no idea how they can actually go through all of the requests and really give them the due diligence it would take to decide on which nonprofits they, as a company, should donate to.

Corporations give for a variety of reasons, tax deduction, belief in a cause, marketing opportunities, and leverage are just a few reasons why corporations give to nonprofits. There is not one thing wrong with any of these motives for giving. Although it would be great to say that everyone gives out of the kindness of their heart, the facts are there are economic reasons that people give as well, and sometimes it’s the only reason. And that is OK! The reason we have tax deductions and incentives for giving within our system of laws and code is because the government knew that they alone could not possibly take care of all of the needs of every community in the country, nor take care of all the needs of communities in a disaster situation like Katrina, or even, as we have seen recently, taking care of others around the world dealing with natural disasters. Our government didn’t want to tax the citizens as much as was needed and gave us and corporations incentives to give to charity. Sometimes it appears that nonprofits have missed that fact. It also appears that so have corporations and even individuals.

Who do corporations give to?

Well, it depends on how a company is set up. Small and medium size companies tend to give because the leadership of the organization has a personal connection to a cause, Parent or child died of cancer, child has autism, wife has MS, they have Diabetes, etc. Sometimes they give based on their employees passions and giving traits. A Company will focus on Education because most of their employees have children, or give to environmental causes because their employees believe in being “green” or environmentally friendly, or gives to municipal parks and recreation programs because they and their employees have strong ties to local government and the community at large. Other companies give because they will get a financial gain by giving to specific charities that tend to draw a certain demographic of people. A Dog Food company will give large donations of money and food to an animal shelter because it fits their own client demographic, a car company trying to sell mini vans gives to children causes because the parents of those children are within their target demographic, so on and so forth.

Why companies give is not as important as the fact that they ARE giving! And that is especially important here in Colorado where there are 28,000 nonprofits and the individuals and companies in the state are 38th in the country of all states in giving to charitable causes.

Now, there are some things that for-profits and non profits can learn about each other to make giving not only something companies need to do, but something they will WANT to do!

Goals of most companies include, getting in front of a target demographic, decreasing expenses, motivating employees, retaining employees, developing their public image, increasing their visibility, and ultimately, increasing profits. Ok… so this is a DUH moment. I know. But what’s funny is, that most for-profit companies, especially the small and medium size companies don’t realize that they can accomplish all of these goals by simply investing some time in PROACTIVELY finding a nonprofit to partner with.

If you are interested in having your company find out details and/or would like to know more, please feel free to contact us at 303.991.1231 ext 1 or email me at Kwhite@denvergives.org.

Summer Volunteering

The Summer is upon us. The perfect time to volunteer.

The Summer is a time for people to get out, have fun, enjoy the sun and all the activities that go along with it. As people do, so do nonprofits. Local nonprofits hold a LOT of activities in the summer and always have a need for volunteers. Here are some fun and perhaps overlooked opportunities to volunteer:

1) Festivals/Fairs – Festivals and fairs are a lot of fun for everyone and often are attended by a LOT of people! Well, where there are a lot of people, there are a lot of nonprofits too! Festivals and fairs tend to allow nonprofits to have space inside the festival or fair for little or no cost to the nonprofit. They might even have a booth that provides food or beverages (mmmmmmm… beer on a hot summers day!) and always need volunteers to help promote their cause to the people that are at the festivals and fairs. Benefits to the Volunteer: It’s fun! It’s outdoors most of the time. You meet a lot of people. Sometimes there is free food or beverages for volunteers. It’s ususally just a short period of time and in the time you are volunteering, you can find out the best places to go and the best things to do at the festival or fair and go and enjoy those things after you are done with your “shift”.

2) Events/Fundraisers – If you like to meet people and don’t want to really attend a large or small event by yourself or just want to maybe help out for a short period of time, then find a charity event to be a part of. Even better, get your friends and or co-workers together and do it as a group! Fund raisers in the summer tend to be out door events. Activities such as “walks”, “runs”, “rides”, concerts, food festivals, etc usually have a charity component to them and can always use the help to pull the event off. Just a few hours of time you can volunteer make a HUGE difference for the charity that is putting on the event. Benefits to the Volunteer: Same as #1

3) Committees – If you really like to get involved and help organize and develop events, getting on a committee is the thing to do! Committees are often a great way to utilize your skills, contacts, knowledge and make a much more direct impact on a charity. The less outgoing type of people may really shine on a committee rather than out at events. Great skill sets for a committee member to have: Ability to think big pciture, ability to handle small details, ability to reach out to the community, ability to organize logistics of an event or program, ability to recruit others, ability to take good notes and organize them, ability to secure resources, ability to organize the resources supplied, ability to talk with people, ability to write letters and maintain other documents, databases, etc. Committees are a great way to get involved! Benefits to being on a committee: Networking, resume builder (in today’s economy this is a great way to show employers you are utilizing your skills even if not working), Possibly attend the event for free, learn new skills, meet new people, keep busy, know that your activity is making a difference and having a sense of accomplishment when your event or program is up and running, making new contacts personally and professionally because you have to do it for the committee.

4) Helping around the House – Sometimes charities need help around the house. Organizing documents, databases, with mailings, cleaning up, setting up, literally house cleaning and improving on space and other organizational assistance. Especially for small nonprofits, where there is maybe 1 or 2 staff members, if that, this is a HUGE… I know I have used that a bit, but honestly, it is a HUGE help for them. I know with us, having someone to work on our database takes a TON of time and for me (I’m the only “employee” eventhough I’m not paid), that is an enormous help. Having a volunteer to input things that take time, frees my time up to do the other things that allow us to survive as an organization. Benefits: Flexible time (Can fit to your schedule, sometimes you can even volunteer remotely for the orgnization by doing computer work at your own home), they tend to be projects, so there is a sense of accomplishment when the project is completed, getting to know a charity more intimately allows for you to be a greater supporter of the organization, and there are more, trust me! Especially if you are volunteering with an animal shelter! :)

5) Board Opportunities – Really want to up your participation and influence! Get on a charity Board! With over 28,000 nonprofits in Colorado, I’m sure you can find a Board position that you would like! This is where your knowledge and experience really come into play. You have the responsibility to look out for the mission and vision of the organization! You are part of the solution to a community challenge! The Benefits are too much to list, but take 1-4 benefits and apply here. Some things you should know about Board Membership… you are responsible for the organization. You are not only idealogically responsible, but fiscally responsible. Your name is directly tied to the charity literally and you need to know the inner workings of your charity so that you are truly looking out for it’s best interest and at the same time covering your own butt in case, God forbid, something happens. But truly, this is where you can have the greatest reward! Knowing that something your name is directly connected to is making a difference in your community is probably the greatest feeling in the world!

So there you have it. I know there are tons more out there, but we can’t possibly cover them all here, these are just a few that maybe you didn’t think about. :)

Have a great and fun Spring! Hopefully we will see you at our events or as a volunteer soon!

To find out more about our volunteer opportunities, please visit our website at www.denvergives.org and click on “Volunteer”.