As some of you may have heard, CEC was a top $5,000 ‘High Five’ prizewinner in the second annual Colorado Gives Day in December. We’re pretty sure that our success had a lot to do with the challenge issued by our Executive Director, Elise Jones, and here, in her own words, is a recount of the day.
“Sometimes you have to lose to win. Or, more specifically, to sacrifice one’s personal dignity in order to rally the team to victory. Such was the case for me when CEC participated for the first time in Colorado Gives Day (CGD) this past December 6th.
Sponsored by Community First Foundation and FirstBank, CGD is designed to increase charitable giving to the state’s many worthy nonprofits. CEC’s board and staff agreed to help out by soliciting donations from their friends and family members.
To maximize CGD donations to CEC, our development director Beka not so innocently asked me if I’d be willing to issue a challenge to staff and board, a bet if you will, to inspire them to double down on their fundraising efforts. “Sure,” I innocently replied. “I’m a team player.”
“Okay, then – how about you agree to wear a princess dress and recite poetry on the steps of the Capitol if we bring in at least 250 donations.” As my jaw dropped in horror, Beka hastened to calm me down. “Not to worry,” she said. “It will be a tough goal for us to reach.” So I reluctantly agreed.
Little did I know how just how inspiring seeing me traipse around in a princess outfit would be to staff, board members and donors. We blew by our goal, galvanizing nearly 450 supporters to give more than $37,000 for CEC’s important conservation work. In fact, CEC won one of the “High Five” $5,000 prizes for bringing in the most donors for a mid-sized organization! As you might have guessed, I was both delighted and completely chagrined.
Days later, there I was, decked out in white taffeta and satin, tiara on my head and wand in my hand, riding on the 16th Street shuttle up to the Capitol. I was surrounded by gleeful staff who were snapping photos of the shocked faces of my fellow shuttle occupants. As I gamely sashayed up the Capitol steps to orate the obligatory poem (not an easy thing to do with all of those billowing petticoats!), I naively thought the episode would soon be behind me. Alas, the Facebook post of my devoted staffs’ video was highlighted in the Denver Post’s GCD coverage as an example of how area nonprofits went the extra mile to encourage donations—see the article by going here.
My dignity recovered, however, as I pondered how my 15 minutes of humble pie helped leverage $37,000 for Colorado’s environment, which as hourly rates go, isn’t half bad.
The moral of this princess fairy tale is two-fold: never take yourself too seriously and personal sacrifice is always a net gain in support of a great cause like CEC!”