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Economy Doesn't Dampen Colorado's Giving Spirit According to Statewide Giving and Volunteering Study

Need for Increased Giving Prevails: Colorado Trails the Nation in Giving as Demand for Nonprofit Services Peaks

DENVER, Dec. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- More than half of Coloradans report that they will give the same amount or give more to charitable causes during the economic downturn, according to "Generous Colorado: Why Donors Give," the first statewide philanthropy study in Colorado, which reflects data from surveys conducted October 2008. With demand for services increasing, the need for increased giving is more pertinent than ever before.

Insight from the study, released on Dec. 4 by the Colorado Nonprofit Association, will enable the nonprofit sector to improve fundraising strategies and respond to economic pressures by better understanding what motivates donors. The report is based on 1,200 phone interviews conducted by the independent research firm Corona Research and sponsored by a grant from EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc.

For donors, a new Web site called makes learning about nonprofits and giving donations easier.

The report, Web site, and a series of TV ads are all part of the Generous Colorado Campaign, the Colorado Nonprofit Association's initiative to increase Colorado philanthropy in 2008 and beyond. Coloradans believe in giving, with 96 percent of survey respondents agreeing that charitable organizations improve the quality of life in their communities and 87 percent agreeing that the need for nonprofit programs and services is increasing. The Generous Colorado Campaign aims to translate these

pro-philanthropy attitudes into action by encouraging the people of Colorado to give more, especially this holiday season.

"Nonprofits often shine brightest during the darkest hours," said Sharon Knight, interim president and CEO, Colorado Nonprofit Association. "By understanding what motivates donors, and by making it easier to donate, Colorado nonprofits can best prepare to shine during challenging times when they are needed most."

Key findings from "Generous Colorado: Why Donors Give" include:

Why We Give

  • Altruism, or believing that giving is "the right thing to do" is the main reason Coloradans donate.
  • A family tradition of giving, religious beliefs and a desire to give back in exchange for receiving assistance in the past were the second, third and fourth most common motivations for giving. These altruistic reasons outpaced the fifth most common motivation for giving, tax benefits.

Barriers to Giving

  • The primary reasons for not giving more to charity are simply not being able to afford more and a choice to help family and friends who are in need.

What We Support

  • The top three reasons people select charities are the belief that an organization is trustworthy (98 percent), well-managed and effective (96 percent) and supports a cause they believe in (96 percent).
  • Organizations supporting social causes and meeting basic needs are the ones most commonly supported.
  • Youth, education and religion are the next three most commonly supported causes.

How We Give

  • People who donate typically do so through multiple channels, which usually include cash contributions and donations of goods.
  • Most donors surveyed prefer to make gifts directly to nonprofits, rather than through agencies and while most donors don't seek advice about who to give to, the most common person to ask is a spouse.

How We Like To Be Asked

  • Most donors are compelled to donate time or money when asked to do so by a person they know.

At, individuals can research charitable causes, access tips about giving wisely and donate directly to any Colorado nonprofit organization currently a member of The Colorado Nonprofit Association, as well as to any number of organizations through the state's community foundations, United Way agencies and other giving portals.

The Colorado Nonprofit Association released the findings from "Generous Colorado: Why Donors Give"Dec. 4 at The Gathering Place among a group of local nonprofit leaders including Michael Seltzer, visiting author and nationally renowned nonprofit advisor; Rich Audsley, executive vice president of Mile High United Way; Kevin Seggelke, president and CEO of Food Bank of the Rockies; and Doug Hock, director of community and public relations for Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. For a copy of the complete report, visit

The association also released the 2008 edition of "The State of Giving: A Profile of Individual Charitable Giving in Colorado" based on IRS data from 2006 tax returns. This annual report is sponsored by Mile High United Way and United Way of Southwest Colorado, and it complements the Generous Colorado survey with year-over-year data showing that giving decreased between 2005 and 2006. The study also showed that Coloradans earned 7.5 percent more and gave 8.8 percent less than the average American. If Coloradans gave at the national average, there would be an additional $489,000,000 available to the nonprofit sector for essential programs and services.

As with past years, the percentage of giving was highest for the lowest income category and higher in SW Colorado than any other region. Access this report at


The Colorado Nonprofit Association is a statewide nonprofit membership coalition connecting nonprofits of all sizes, missions and geographic locations. To learn more about the Colorado Nonprofit Association, go to


Mile High United Way maximizes the power of collective generosity by focusing on three related initiatives: School Readiness, Youth Success and Adult Self Sufficiency. Learn more about Mile High United Way at


EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc, is one of the leading independent natural gas producers in the United States. Based in Denver, the company operates in Colorado, Wyoming, Texas and Louisiana. EnCana and its employees are enthusiastic supporters of charitable giving and give back to the communities where they live and work through corporate grants and employee matching gifts. Approximately $7 million dollars were awarded in 2008 through these two programs.


United Way of Southwest Colorado has served Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, and San Juan Counties for 37 years. Learn more about the United Way of Southwest Colorado at

    Contact: Sharon Knight, Colorado Nonprofit Association, 303-832-5710
    Robert Thompson, Mile High United Way, 720-273-6689
    Taussig, Schenkein, 303-672-4341

SOURCE Colorado Nonprofit Association
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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