BBB Charity Review

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BBB Reliability Report for

Colorado Open Lands

Original Business Start Date: 12/09/1981

A BBB Accredited Charity since 03/06/2012.

This BBB Accredited Charity meets all 20 Standards for Charity Accountability and is a Seal Holder.
BBB issues Charity Reports on all organizations, whether or not they are BBB accredited. If an organization is a BBB Accredited Charity, it is stated in this report.
Name: Colorado Open Lands
Phone: (303) 988-2373
Fax: (303) 988-2383
Address: 355 S Teller St STE 210
Lakewood, CO 80226-7391
Report Creation Date: November 21, 2013
Report Expiration Date: November 21, 2015
Original Business Start Date: December 1981
Principal: Ms. Liz Eckstein, Director of Operations
Customer Contact: Ms. Liz Eckstein, Director of Operations - (303) 988-2373 or
Incorporated: January 1981, CO
Type of Business: Charity - Local, Charity - Environment
BBB Accreditation: This organization is a BBB Accredited Charity.

Stated Purpose

To preserve the significant open lands and diminishing natural heritage of Colorado through private and public partnerships, innovative land conservation, and strategic leadership.

Evaluation Conclusions

This organization has been evaluated according to the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. This organization meets all those Standards and is a BBB Accredited Charity.

BBB Charity Seal Participation

Charities that meet the Standards for Charity Accountability are eligible to participate in BBB Wise Giving Alliance Charity Seal program. The seal, which can be displayed on the charity's web site and in printed materials, helps inform the public that the charity meets these standards. This organization participates in this program.


The cornerstone of Colorado Open Lands work is their Land Protection Program. Through this Program, they permanently preserve important conservation resources such as natural areas, working farms and ranches, wetlands and river corridors through the use of conservation easements. The majority of their efforts are directed toward educating landowners and communities about the various options available and then working with them on an individual basis to accomplish their conservation objectives and dreams.

The Land Stewardship Program both ensure continued protection of the lands held by the organization and serves as a model program for the conservation community. Lastly, the Statewide Leadership Program identifies opportunities for Colorado Open Lands to play a leadership role on important statewide or national issues. Most notably, Colorado Open Lands and four nationally-recognized conservation organizations have formed the Colorado Conservation Partnership. This joint-venture, along with the collaboration of numerous local conservation groups, launched the Keep It Colorado initiative to protect a million acres by 2013. Implementation of Landscape Vision Plans for 25 priority landscapes is well under way.

Total Program Expenses:$13,265,424


Chief Executive Officer:Daniel E. Pike
Chair of the Board:Charles Russell
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation:CA Russell Partners LLP
Board Size:11
Paid Staff Size:7 Full Time.

Fund Raising

Method(s) Used:Direct mail, grant proposals and Internet appeals.

Tax Status

This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.


According to Colorado Open Lands's Audited Financial Statements for the year ended March 31, 2012:

 Total Income:$13,538,426
Expenses  % of total
% of total
 Programs:$13,265,424 96.63%97.98%
 Fund Raising:$210,971 1.54%1.56%
 Administrative:$251,348 1.83%1.86%
 Other:$0 0.00%0.00%
 Total Expenses:$13,727,743
* Excess of Expenses over Income$189,317
Ending Net Assets:$5,672,320

* Excess for the year indicates the portion of income remaining after expenses.

Charity Licensing

All charitable organizations soliciting contributions in Colorado -- with a few specific exceptions listed in the Charitable Solicitations Act at 6-16-104(6)(a)-(c), C.R.S. -- must submit an initial registration statement with the Secretary of State and receive a registration number. After the initial registration, annual registration statements must be renewed each year by the 5th day of the fifth month after the close of the organization’s fiscal year. In addition, all solicitation campaigns utilizing paid solicitors as defined at 6-16-103(7), C.R.S. must be listed on separate Solicitation Notices, which should be filed online by the paid solicitor.

An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. Please understand that a BBB report is furnished solely to assist donors in making their own judgment. This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes. Copyright 2006, BBB.

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Industry Tips

Charitable Giving Tips

Whether charitable organizations use their employees, volunteers or professional fund- raisers to solicit donations by phone, mail, or in person, consider the following precautions to ensure that your donation dollars benefit the people and programs you want to help.

-Ask for written information, including the charity's name, address, and telephone number. A legitimate charity or fund- raiser will give you materials outlining the charity's mission, how your donation will be used, and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.

-Ask for identification. Many states require paid fund-raisers to identify themselves as such and to name the charity for which they're soliciting. If the solicitor refuses, hang up and report it to local law enforcement officials.

-Call the charity. Find out if the organization is aware of the solicitation and has authorized the use of its name. If not, you may be dealing with a fraudulent solicitor.

-Watch out for similar sounding names. Some phony charities use names that closely resemble those of respected, legitimate organizations.

-Know the difference between "tax exempt" and "tax deductible." Tax exempt means the organization doesn't have to pay taxes. Tax deductible means you can deduct your contribution on your federal income tax return. Even though an organization is tax exempt, your contribution may not be tax deductible. If deductibility is important to you, ask for a receipt showing the amount of your contribution and stating that it is tax deductible.

-Know that a 501(c)(3) organization must make a copy of its annual returns, (Form 990 or Form 990EZ) for the last three years and its exempt status application and supporting documents available for you to view during business hours.

-Be skeptical if someone thanks you for a pledge you don't remember making. If you have any doubt whether you've made a pledge or previously contributed, check your records. Be on the alert for invoices claiming you've made a pledge when you know you haven't. Some unscrupulous solicitors use this approach to get your money.

-Ask how your donation will be distributed. How much will go to the program you want to support, and how much will cover the charity's administrative costs? If a professional fund-raiser is used, ask how much it will keep.

-Refuse high pressure appeals. Legitimate fund-raisers won't push you to give on the spot.

-Be wary of charities offering to send a courier to collect your donation immediately.

-Consider the costs. When buying merchandise or tickets for special events, or when receiving free goods in exchange for giving, remember that these items cost money and generally are paid for out of your contribution. Although this can be an effective fund-raising tool, less money may be available for the charity.

-Be wary of guaranteed sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution. You never have to donate anything to be eligible to win.

-Avoid cash gifts that can be lost or stolen. For security and tax record purposes, it's best to pay by check. Use the official full name of the charity - not initials - on your check. Avoid solicitors who want to send a courier or use an overnight delivery service to pick up your donation.

More information:

ID: 3003498
Report as of October 4, 2015 06:46
Copyright© 2015 Better Business Bureau

An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. Donors must decide for themselves the significance of any variation from BBB Standards, taking into account the relative importance of the practice in question in the context of the organization's total performance.

This report reflects the results of an evaluation of informational materials provided voluntarily by the organization. The report is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgement.

This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.