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  • Marty Zimmerman

A Passport to Success: How One Nonprofit Amped Up Colorado Gives Day

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Four middle school boys smiling at camera

Before there was Giving Tuesday, the Centennial State embraced its nonprofits with Colorado Gives Day. Starting in 2010, Community First Foundation made a commitment in partnership with 1STBank to encourage charitable giving through this annual statewide movement. Each year, donations from individuals to participating nonprofits get boosted by a $1 million incentive fund. But as Colorado Gives Day grows, the piece of the pie received by nonprofits shrinks.

With numerous competing online donation campaigns, year-end giving appeals, events, and the craziness of the holiday season, how can your organization stand out on Colorado Gives Day?

Three students working on hw

This year, one of our clients, Heart & Hand Center, took on the challenge of exponentially increasing its fundraising on Colorado Gives Day. The Heart & Hand Center provides nurturing, long-term support for 3rd to 12th grade youth in Northeast Denver through daily after-school and summer programming using a whole child approach.

Each November, Heart & Hand hosts its biggest annual event – the Night in Lights Gala. This has made Colorado Gives Day a challenge for the organization. How could you possibly get someone to give again just weeks after a big event? But this year, Heart & Hand had a new goal - use Colorado Gives Day to bring in new donors through small gifts.

Heart & Heart utilized two strategies to meet this goal:

1. Heart & Hand worked with businesses in the community to create the Five Points Heart Hop on Saturday, December 2nd. Anyone who scheduled a minimum donation prior to the event unlocked discounts and special offers to 10 business in Five Points - Birdcall, Spangalang, 715 Club, Coffee at the Point, Dunbar, Purple Door, Urban Sanctuary, Welton Street Café, Rolling Pin Bakery, and Rosenberg’s. On the day of the event, qualifying participants picked up a passport from a pick-up location and used the passport to receive these special discounts all day long.

2. Heart & Hand partnered with DaVita, which committed up to $5,000 in matching funds for Colorado Gives Day. The partnership also included an advertising campaign on Colorado Public Radio to increase Heart & Hand’s reach.

Colorado Gives Day infographic

Mary Cipollone, Executive Director of Heart & Hand Center, shared: “Obviously, in the end the metric is fundraising. If that doesn’t go well, you aren’t excited about anything else.” But, in addition to demolishing their fundraising goal, “we did a lot in terms of building community awareness of Heart & Hand and bringing new people into our work.”

Learn more about how Heart & Hand Center empowers all young people to realize their potential at their website,

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