Case Study

Client: Checkoff Colorado

Checkoff Colorado is a program allowing taxpayers to make voluntary donations to a list of charities when they file their state income tax.

The Challenge

Colorado was the first state in the country to institute a tax checkoff program, yet most taxpayers were not aware of it. To generate donations, each of the 10 funds in the program ran its own public awareness campaign. The media was overloaded with PSAs and confused about all the different messages. 

One of the checkoff funds asked Pushkin PR to come up with a plan for a collaborative campaign. We had to help the funds understand their voices would be louder if they spoke in unison. They needed a unified brand and to agree that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” And, Pushkin PR needed to launch the campaign with no existing budget. 

The Solution

We created Checkoff Colorado, a new brand identity for a collaborative statewide campaign. The goal was to educate Colorado taxpayers and accountants about this program and help them understand how easy it was to participate. We also created a new tagline, “A Simple Way to Give.” 

  • We got a website donated by students at the Art Institute of Colorado.
  • We convinced each fund to contribute to the campaign budget. 
  • We landed H&R Block as our first corporate partner.
  • We launched the campaign with a news conference at the State Capitol.
  • We produced a PSA featuring the Governor of Colorado.
  • We bought advertising on public transit and at Denver International Airport.
  • We pitched stories to local, regional and national media.

The Results

  • Now in its 14th year, this groundbreaking campaign was the first of its kind in the country. Although nearly every state has a checkoff program, this was the first collaborative public awareness effort in the country.
  • We secured dozens of local, regional and national media placements, including the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Associated Press and ABC News.
  • The campaign has been emulated by other states including California, Georgia and Minnesota.  
  • More people are giving! Checkoff Colorado has increased the program’s total donations and the percentage of taxpayers who donate. 
  • The program has expanded from 10 to 15 charitable funds. 
  • The Colorado Department of Revenue now uses the Checkoff Colorado brand to promote the program.  

As a full-service PR firm, we often act as a liaison helping disparate groups with similar agendas set shared goals and work together. We facilitate a dialogue for organizations experiencing communication breakdowns. Checkoff Colorado is a success story for Pushkin PR, as well as for the funds that united to raise money for many good causes.

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