People often think I am just “talking” when I tell them about how amazing Colorado donors are. As we celebrate Colorado Gives Day 2015, I want to give a bit more context so that people understand just what I mean.
I have been raising money for more than 20 years. I can’t believe I am saying that, as it really does not seem like it has been that long. But it is true. My career in fundraising has given me the opportunity to work in 3 states: California, Washington, and Colorado. Our donors in Colorado are some of the most generous people in the world. Really and truly. To illustrate this, I am going to share some comparison data. Don’t let your eyes glaze over, I promise that it will all tie together.
The State of Colorado is ranked 18th in Gross State Product (GSP) for 2015, according to bea.gov. Gross State Product is a measure of a state’s economy, showing the economic output across various industries contained within that state. All states’ GSP roll up to the federal Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. As a comparison, let’s look at the State of Georgia, which is ranked 10th in GSP. I chose Georgia because it is the highest-ranked state in GSP that has a statewide one-day
online giving campaign. Other larger states, such as California, Texas and Florida, have regional online giving days. I also did not want to compare Colorado to a state with less GSP, so I did not evaluate states ranked 19th and lower.
The state of Georgia has approximately 10 million people, ranking 8th among all states, according the 2010 US Census. Colorado has approximately 5 million people, and ranks 22nd. The GSP for Georgia for 2015 is $493B; the GSP for Colorado for 2015 is $309B. In summary, Georgia has approximately twice as many people as Colorado, and the GSP is nearly $200B higher.
Last year, the third annual Georgia Gives Day brought in $2.3M from nearly 18,000 donations, according to the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. The third annual Colorado Gives Day, in 2012, brought in $15.4M from 69,000 donations, according to the Community First Foundation. Last year, Colorado Gives Day brought in more than $26M.
Please don’t think I am picking on Georgia, there are some wonderful and generous people there. Also, they have really good peaches. My point, though, is to show the amazing amount of philanthropy that occurs in the State of Colorado. And don’t think it is just the “big organizations” raising all of the money. The Tennyson Center for Children, a fine and respected group, was the top fundraising organization on Colorado Gives Day 2014. They raised nearly $500K, which is a lot of money and a very impressive sum. However, $26M was raised statewide on that day. The Tennyson Center raised 2% of the total. Small organizations benefited greatly from Colorado Gives Day 2014, and that has been the case every year since 2010.
I would not be surprised if we hit $30M today. Do you think we can? You can help make it happen – go to the Colorado Gives Day website and make your gift today. Let’s continue our role as philanthropic leaders in the United States.
Have a great week,