Following the September flood, many nonprofit leaders in Weld County held their breath in fear of exhausted donors who could no longer afford their customary year-end donations.
But those nonprofits are letting out a sigh of relief as they tally fundraising dollars from 2013, including even a few reports of donation increases.
“I’m not really sure the flood had that much of an impact,” said Judy Knapp, executive director of the Community Foundation Serving Greeley and Weld County.
The Community Foundation last week announced 2013 was a banner year, with a 24 percent increase in asset size. Of course, the increase at the Community Foundation is different from other agencies because it acts as a broker between those with charitable donations and the actual charities.
But at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Weld County, individual and corporate donations more than doubled during the same period as the flood, and the Pregnancy Resource Center in Greeley saw a small increase in donations by the end of 2013, officials with those agencies said.
Some nonprofits reported that Colorado Gives Day on Dec. 10 — a statewide push to promote end-of-year gifts, which Weld County agencies were more involved in last year — helped with fundraising, while others said they tweaked their fundraising campaigns or earned individual grants that boosted their budgets.
Knapp said there could be other factors at play.
“What I truly believe is, I think we are seeing an impact now from the economy improving,” she said.
Part of that is oil and gas activity, which has brought business to Greeley and Weld County at the same time that those companies make large donations to nonprofits in the region.
Oil and gas development has also resulted in a few individuals who have earned enough in royalties that they set up their own donation programs.
Knapp said the Community Foundation in December heard from someone who wished to start a scholarship fund and from someone who wished to start a donor-advised fund, in which the donor has input on where the money will go.
Both of those programs were thanks to financial successes with mineral properties.
Knapp said she was not comfortable releasing the donors’ names at this time, but she said the scholarship money will go to a student at Greeley Central High School.
Mark Tucker, spokesman for United Way of Weld County, said his organization is on a fiscal year calendar, so the organization is only halfway through its fundraising campaign.
Tucker said United Way set an aggressive fundraising goal for the year and many resources normally reserved for the campaign were refocused on flood recovery, so they are a little less than halfway to meeting their fundraising goal.
He said if United Way had set goals more typical of a regular year, they would be on track to meet it.
Bob O’Connor, executive director of the Weld Food Bank, said not counting the money donated for the flood, the Food Bank’s donations are fairly consistent with the previous year.
Also on a fiscal year calendar, O’Connor said the Food Bank hasn’t fully let go of the concern that donors could yet run dry of their resources, which would set the Food Bank behind for the next fiscal year.
Gail Holmes, executive director of the Pregnancy Resource Center in Greeley, said it could be that their increase in donations was brought on by the flood, which got people in the mind-set to give.
Holmes said the Resource Center saw generous donations at the end of the year, in particular. After a large fundraiser in March, she said, the agency reevaluates the budget.
“We just feel super blessed that our donors haven’t abandoned us,” Holmes said.