After a marathon of shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday can offer a break in the retail promotions.
However, ahead of the national day of giving, residents can be faced with a seemingly endless list of good causes in their email in-boxes and Twitter feeds as nonprofits make their case for donations.
“I encourage people to go with their heart and what they are passionate about,” said Lynn Urban, president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Colorado.
Residents can also inform their decisions by volunteering with nonprofits or visiting GuideStar, a website that compiles financial data about charities, she said.
While the giving season can help donors feel good, it is also a crucial time for nonprofits because about a third of all giving happens in December, said Tracy Pope, marketing and grants manager for The Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado.
“Our nonprofits are anxiously awaiting the giving of donors,” she said.
Southwest Colorado nonprofits have been challenged in recent years as large oil and gas companies that used to be major donors have moved out of the area, Urban said.
The loss of oil and gas donors has led to more collaboration among nonprofits to achieve their goals, she said. For example, in Archuleta County, nonprofits came together to open an early childhood center, and in Montezuma County, nonprofits are working together to increase food security and reduce child abuse, she said.
“Nonprofits are like any other business: They have to continually look at what forces are out there and adapt,” Urban said.
Holiday giving campaigns, such as Giving Tuesday, can help generate awareness, which can translate into major donations. Last year, Giving Tuesday, a stand-alone nonprofit, said the campaign raised $400 million in the U.S.
Southwest Colorado residents interested in participating in Giving Tuesday can help their charitable dollars stretch a little further this year by participating in Colorado Gives Day on Dec. 10.
Colorado Gives Day, a campaign that predates Giving Tuesday, splits $1.5 million, donated by FirstBank, Community First Foundation and other community members, proportionally among nonprofits across the state, based on how much they raise.
Last year, 67 nonprofits in Southwest Colorado received $231,471 through 1,457 donations on Colorado Gives Day, according to The Community Foundation. This year, 77 regional nonprofits are participating in Colorado Gives Day, Pope said.
Promoting Colorado Gives Day and the associated website swcogives.org can help draw in new donors for nonprofits, Pope said.
For example, Community Connections, a nonprofit that serves people with intellectual and physical disabilities, received a four-figure donation last year from a first-time donor because the nonprofit was on the Colorado Gives Day website, said Ellen Stein, vice president of marketing and development.
“Had we not been on that website, it is quite likely we would not have received that donation,” she said.
If residents find all the requests for donations exhausting, they can also schedule a time during the year to give that is less stressful, Urban said.
“Nonprofits need support all year long,” she said. “If it’s just too much noise, turn it off for now.”