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March 2010

Survey: 52 percent of adults 18­–64 use social media

Blog|

According to a new report released by Pew Research Center, social media use is up 45 percent for adults 18–64 since February 2005. Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next looks at the values, attitudes and experiences of the Millennial generation while also shedding light on the Boomer generation.

Pew Research Center’s survey of more than 2,000 adults shows that 30 percent of boomers use social networking sites, up from only five percent in 2005. In total, the report found that 41 percent of adults use social networking sites. (more…)

November 2016

President-elect Donald Trump’s impact on nonprofits: the potential effect of his campaign promises

Blog, Changemakers, Unconsultants|

By Lisa Cirincione, J.D., Joining Vision and Action

Joining Vision and Action (JVA) is in the unique position of working with a variety of nonprofit changemakers and has heard from many people who are concerned about what Donald Trump’s presidency means for the causes that they care deeply about. This blog post is our attempt to share what President-elect Trump promised to do during his campaign. While there is no guarantee that once president he will keep these promises, we at JVA want to ensure that our clients are aware of his publicly stated positions so that they can advocate to affect change as they see fit.

Education

Image via Jarmaluk on Pixabay.

Image via Jarmaluk on Pixabay.

K–12 education: President-elect Trump has stated that he is very supportive of school choice and promises to redirect education dollars to allow parents to send their children to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. He says that he will ask Congress to invest an additional $20 billion toward school choice by reprioritizing existing federal dollars. This likely means cuts in funding to states for their public schools. He has also said that he would like to give states the option to allow these funds to follow the student to the public or private school they attend. Distribution of this grant will favor states that have private school choice, magnet schools and charter laws, encouraging them to participate. As a state that promotes school choice, not just with charters, but also district innovation and magnet schools, Colorado may be well-positioned for this funding.

President-elect Trump promises to ends common core and brings education supervision to local communities. Theses promises have not come with any specific plans about how he intends to do this.

Higher education: President-elect Trump has promised to ask Congress to authorize reforms to ensure universities are making a good faith effort to reduce the cost of college and student debt in exchange for the federal tax breaks and tax dollars. Again, there is not sufficient information about what this will look like to speculate about its impact on postsecondary institutions other than to say that those with lower cost may receive preferential tax breaks.

President-elect Trump has also indicated that he will continue President Obama’s legacy of helping people attend a two- or four-year college, or to pursue a trade or a skill set through vocational and technical education. We will have to wait and see how this promise is put into effect, but it may be that federal grant dollars for higher education that make it easier to access, pay for and finish college will continue to be available. This is very good news for Colorado’s postsecondary institutions, as long as they are not ineligible from receiving funding because Denver and Aurora are sanctuary cities (see immigration below).

Environment

Image via artistlike on Pixabay.

Image via artistlike on Pixabay.

Among all of President-elect Trump’s campaign promises, the ones related to dismantling environmental protections are very likely to occur. He has stated that he believes that “climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese” and has asked Myron Ebell, a climate change denier, to oversee the Environmental Protection Agency transition. President-elect Trump has vowed to dismantle the energy/environmental regulatory framework established during the Obama presidency and halt Obama’s executive actions, including his Climate Action Plan. President-elect Trump is likely to open federal lands for oil and gas exploration, coal mining and logging; stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to the UN climate change programs; green-light the Keystone XL pipeline; lift production limits on coal production; and withdraw from the Paris agreement. However, state-level policies that support green energy will continue, so those concerned about the environment should support those nonprofits that will advocate for strengthened state laws to protect their wildlife, lands from oil and gas exploration, and reduce air pollution.

Healthcare

Image via creativeart on FreePik.

Image via creativeart on FreePik.

President-elect Trump promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and replace it with health savings accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, and let states manage Medicaid funds. He is also seeking changes to the bureaucracy at the FDA to speed the approval of life-saving medications. In recent days, President-elect Trump has softened his position, now saying that instead of repealing Obamacare, he would reform it to retain aspects that he likes, such as not allowing insurers to deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions. This softening may also be a result of his realization that repealing the ACA will be a difficult task since it would require a 60-vote super majority in the Senate, and it is unlikely that any Senate Democrats would support it.

Immigration

Image via Unsplash on Pixabay.

Image via Unsplash on Pixabay.

In addition to the much-heralded promise to “build a wall that Mexico will pay for,” President-elect Trump also proposed strengthening immigration screening and enforcement, and the suspension of “catch-and-release” policies. President-elect Trump has also proposed ending all federal funding to sanctuary cities, which is a city that has adopted a policy of protecting illegal immigrants by not prosecuting them solely for violating federal immigration laws in the country in which they are now living illegally. Denver and Aurora are both sanctuary cities and if this promise is carried out it could have devastating impact on Denver and Aurora nonprofits that receive Federal grants. Colorado’s largest police departments—Denver and Aurora—have recently issued statements that they will not start enforcing federal immigration laws, so there is clear indication that neither city intends to change its policies regarding immigration—the police departments want every resident to feel safe reporting a crime without fear of deportation. This promise is one to be vocal about so it does not come to pass. Because President-elect Trump will need support from Congress to carry out these promises and it is uncertain that he will get that support from Congressional Republicans who know have majority membership of both the House and Senate, let alone Democrats, so advocacy efforts can be very helpful.

Infrastructure

Image via PublicDomainPhotos on Pixabay.

Image via PublicDomainPhotos on Pixabay.

President-elect Trump has proposed a $1 trillion infrastructure spending plan over the next 10 years to improve America’s roads, bridges, airports, water, electricity grid, telecommunications networks and other infrastructure. As part of this plan, he has proposed tax incentives to encourage private investment as well. Because he views himself as a builder and these proposals are likely to be supported by both sides of the aisle, this campaign promise is likely to come to fruition. These investments in infrastructure may prove helpful to local governments who have seen revenue to pay for rebuilding roads and bridges fall from the gasoline tax as drivers have changed behavior in light of the spikes in gas prices only a few years ago.

Image

Image via 7raysmarketing on Pixabay.

Marijuana

President-elect Trump’s position on legalized marijuana is unclear. However, Jeff Sessions, his nominee for attorney general, is against legalized marijuana. In Colorado, where marijuana is a $1 billion industry, re-criminalizing the use of this plant will have devastating effects on the state’s jobs and tax revenue from its sale, which is estimated to be $135 million and funds school construction projects and youth and substance abuse programs.

Reproductive Rights

president-elect donald trump's impact on nonprofits

Image via Timothy Krause on Flickr.

President-elect Trump has said that he is pro-life and that will work to allow states to decide if abortion will be legal. Currently, 11 states restrict access to abortion, so it is likely that those states would choose to make it illegal, forcing women to seek healthcare in other states. He also promises that all future appointments to the Supreme Court will be pro-life. Because the average tenure on the Supreme Court is 26 years, those appointed by President-elect Trump will have long-lasting repercussions for women’s right to choose. Organizations such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL have long fought for reproductive rights and will continue their advocacy work throughout the Trump administration.

Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Grantee – Adams, Mesa, Montrose, Larimer, Delta, and Weld Counties

Uncategorized|

The Administration for Children and Families solicits applications from local public or private non-profit organizations, including community-based and faith-based organizations, or for-profit agencies within a community that wish to compete for funds that are available to provide Migrant and Seasonal Head Start services to children and families residing in Adams, Mesa, Montrose, Larimer, Delta, and Weld Counties, Colorado. Funds in the amount of $1,644,514 annually will be available to provide Migrant and Seasonal Head Start program services to eligible children and their families. Interested applicants may email the OHS Operations Center at OHSTech@reviewops.org for additional information.

October 2016

Social Enterprise Financing: How Do I Raise Money?

Blog, Social Enterprise|

By Rolfe Larson, Joining Vision and Action (JVA)

When you’re looking for social enterprise financing, it may seem that anything will do. However, depending on the life cycle stage of your venture, some forms of financing are better than others. You want the right kind of capital for the needs of your business at that point in time.

social enterprise financingAccording to Jeannine Jacokes (Chief Executive Office, Partners for the Common Good) and Jennifer Pryce (Senior Investment Officer, Nonprofit Finance Fund and Calvert Foundation), there are basically four stages of business development[1]:

Start-up or Seed Stage

At this point, it’s just an idea and a business plan, no track record. Your job is to find the right people and enter the marketplace, usually deeply on the cheap. Financing is very difficult at this stage, and it is often self-funded or from “seed” funders who already know you. Nonprofits can sometimes get grants to support this stage. More often than not, it involves drawing upon internal reserves and stretching staff every which way. Debt is usually a bad idea for this stage as the debt service (even if principle payments are deferred) adds a burden to cash flow at just the wrong time for the business.

Survival or Establishment Stage

This is now an operating business, with customers, but still deeply in the middle of product refinement and market adjustments as you learn from your first interaction with the marketplace. Revenue is beginning to come in the door, but that initial seed capital is running low while profitability is still just a goal. Similar to the previous phase, capital often comes from friends, family and, in some cases, funders with whom you already have a relationship. Sometimes Program Related Investments (PRIs) are available but that’s generally fairly rare. (And PRIs are still debt.)

Growth or Establishment Stage

The venture is growing, break-even or profitable, and gaining efficiencies as it expands. New competitive pressures are emerging, as there is a need for the company to develop better management and administrative systems to manage the growing demand. Seed capital has been used up but the firm needs capital to keep on growing. With some established operations and financial history, access to debt may become possible, but challenging, given limited cash-flow and collateral.

Mature Stage

This is the point of relative success, prosperity and stability, with a strong brand, loyal customers and a profitable business model. Yet no business can survive resting on its past successes, so to remain competitive, new investments will be needed to develop new products, improve old ones, or gain new efficiencies to keep your pricing competitive. Most businesses at this point need access to long-term working capital as well. Debt is the usual financing source for mature businesses, obtained from banks for whom this is their bread and butter business.

So depending on what life cycle stage your organization is in, it’s best to explore social enterprise financing that matches your situation.  There is no “one size fits all” approach. Two myths to watch out for: the one about venture capital, and the other about angel investors.

One place to get practical advice on starting or growing a social enterprise, including securing social enterprise financing, is JVA training and consulting. We offer a rich schedule of trainings as well as social enterprise consulting.

[1] Social Enterprise Alliance, Succeeding at Social Enterprise, Hard Won Lessons for Nonprofits And Social Enterprises, Wiley, 2010.

Training-based Workforce Development for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure

Uncategorized|

The overarching goal of this program is to prepare, nurture and grow the national scientific workforce for creating, utilizing, and supporting advanced cyberinfrastructure (CI) that enables cutting-edge science and engineering and contributes to the Nation’s overall economic competiveness and security. For the purpose of this solicitation, advanced CI is broadly defined as the resources, tools, and services for advanced computation, data handling, networking and security.

http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=289642

Total Rewards: It’s Not All About the Money!

Blog, Changemakers, Unconsultants|

By Sarah Hidey, Joining Vision and Action

Who hasn’t heard about (and envied!) Google’s work environment? Healthy food offered around the clock, “nap pods” (sign me up!), the ability to bring pets to work, generous family leave policies and several other innovative “perks.” I think many of us would agree: These perks would probably make it a little easier to go to work on Monday morning!

Good news! Google isn’t the only company thinking about its employees and implementing innovative programs for their benefit. Many workplaces (of all sizes) agree, and they are starting to think about compensation and benefits as more than a competitive salary, health/life insurance and vacation time. They are also exploring new ways to incentivize or to motivate their employees—ultimately helping employees be healthier and happier in their jobs.

While many may think of this as an exclusive “Google Workplace,” this concept has an official term: Total Rewards. Over the last several years, this concept was born and evolved within the corporate sector. It looks at the entire employee experience, which includes both traditional compensation (income, health benefits, retirement assistance), traditional incentives (both monetary and non-monetary), vacation/paid time-off policies, wellness initiatives and other innovative “perks” or benefits that are not monetary, such as the ability to bring pets to work, offering a day off for employees to volunteer in the community, providing discounts to services in the community and many of the innovative programs that Google offers its employees.

JVA is lucky enough to have an expert in this field officing out of its Changemakers co-working space, and he is currently collaborating with JVA’s team to help nonprofits and social enterprises apply the idea of Total Rewards to their business models. Joe Pulichene, of M3Consulting, spent the last 35 years in the corporate sector holding leadership positions in human resources, compensation/benefits and, most recently, as vice president of Total Rewards—working with companies to help them answer these questions: How do you motivate employees so that they feel a sense of purpose related to their work, are thriving and happy in their jobs, and come to work inspired? Is it true that employees are motivated by more than just money? Are there other benefits or perks that are more valuable when thinking about employee retention? The short answer is YES.

The great news for JVA clients and friends is that this idea of Total Rewards is NOT just for the for-profit corporate sector or large multi-national companies like Google!

Joe recently sat down with JVA to share some of his top tips for nonprofits and social enterprises when it comes to implementing Total Rewards.

Top Five Tips for Nonprofit Leaders

  • Be Proud. Be Loud. A key element of Total Rewards is helping employees tie their work to a greater purpose. Nonprofits already have a leg up on this compared with the for-profit sector—since most employees are working because of a commitment to the mission of the organization. However, it is still important to find ways to tie day-to-day tasks (i.e., fundraising, inputting information into a database, accounting) to the bigger purpose of the organization. Perhaps it’s by sharing stories of beneficiaries at weekly staff meetings or encouraging administrative staff to visit programs. Find out what works best for your organization.
  • Ask employees what they want. Don’t assume you know the types of perks your employees would love. Some may be more productive if their pet can come to work with them, others may value a monetary bonus, while others would prefer additional time off. Other may feel less stressful at work if they had the opportunity to participate in yoga during the day. Through surveys and conversations between organizational leaders and staff, nonprofit leaders can get a feeling for what type of perks are valuable or meaningful for their employees.
  • total rewards, work rulesThink outside of the box. Be creative. Total Rewards does not have to be expensive! In fact, there are many free or inexpensive programs and perks that could be offered. In the book Work Rules, Laszlo Block, Google senior vice president of people operations, shared, “Most people assume Google spends a fortune on doing special things for our employees. Aside from our cafes and shuttles, we don’t. Most of the programs we use to delight and care for Googlers are free, or very close to it. And most would be easy for almost anyone to duplicate. The astonishing thing is that more companies don’t come up with ones of their own. All it takes is imagination and the will to do it.” JVA experimented with this a few years ago when JVA leaders converted an outdoor patio area into a beautiful, peaceful space where co-workers could gather for lunch, take a breather in the middle of the day or find a quiet, peaceful space during a stressful project. The cost? Minimal (thanks to great finds at local thrift shops!). The impact? Employees now had a place (read: not their desk!) to gather and take breaks. All the staff (myself included) found that it added great value to our daily experience.
  • Pilot something. Once you have discovered what motivates your employees, it is time to pilot a plan. Maybe it will be a raving success and your employees will feel revitalized and excited to come to work in the morning. Or maybe it will fail. That’s the beauty of a pilot—you can always pivot, make changes and try something else. Perhaps it is a healthy eating competition between co-workers. Or allowing dogs in the office one day a week. Or planning a volunteer day for employees to get out in the community. Pick something and try it out.
  • Commit to a culture of Total Rewards. You must have the willingness to follow through. Whatever benefits you choose to offer, be sure they are connected to your ultimate mission, vision and values. When you evaluate potential perks, put them through a mission, vision, values filter. This will make any benefit you offer stronger, more likely to be followed through with and more effective. Make it a part of your culture, not an isolated program!

Come talk to Joe at next week’s CNA Conference, where he will be expanding on this topic. Evolution or Revolution?….Innovative Total Rewards Design will be from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Friday, October 21. Registration is open here.

September 2016

Social Enterprise for Foundations

Social Enterprise for Foundations

social enterprise foundations

Sometimes “the way it’s always been done” is no longer adequate. At Joining Vision and Action we are relentlessly focused on bringing research and innovation to the field of social enterprise for foundations, applying the lessons of implementation science to make grounded recommendations for your organization.

Social enterprise for foundations? Social entrepreneurs create ventures that further societal goals. Enterprising social innovators are increasingly guided by foundations eager to help achieve social change.

Foundations do amazing work, funding some of the most necessary projects propelling social change. However, funding is often impermanent. Does your organization find itself grappling with tough questions like:

  • What happens when your grantees are nearing the end of a funding cycle?
  • What does true sustainability mean for your grantees? 
  • Do your nonprofit capacity building efforts include earned income?

Social enterprise for foundations is a crucial part of any funding organization’s programming. It can help grantees:

  • Develop multiple income streams
  • Achieve greater stability
  • Realize longer-term impact

By supporting social enterprise for foundations, your organization is encouraging sustainable income and reducing their grantees’ reliance on foundation support.

Joining Vision and Action has worked closely with foundations and nonprofits alike on dozens of successful social enterprise projects. Our team knows how to meet funder expectations while supporting nonprofit development. Let us know how we can help you build a social enterprise for your foundation today!

Ready to get started? Contact us

Social Enterprise for Entrepreneurs and Businesses

Social Enterprise for

Entrepreneurs and Businesses

social enterprise entrepreneurs

Sometimes “the way it’s always been done” is no longer adequate. At Joining Vision and Action we are relentlessly focused on bringing research and innovation to the field of social enterprise for entrepreneurs and businesses, applying the lessons of implementation science to make grounded recommendations for your social venture.

Social enterprise entrepreneurs and businesses all share one desire: to achieve a measurable social impact and profitability in the marketplace.

Do you want to build a social business but you don’t know where to start?

Do you want to instill your existing business with a social purpose?

JVA’s expert social enterprise practitioners have decades of experience working with social enterprise entrepreneurs to set up successful social businesses. Our diverse and multigenerational team can help you explore potential business models, legal structures, financing options and more to turn your dream into a solid social venture with high impact. Our services for social enterprise entrepreneurs can help you:

  • What being a social enterprise entrepreneur means
  • Understand the ins and outs of social enterprises
  • Figure out whether to register as an LLC, Benefit Corp, L3C or something else
  • Determine how to fund your social businesses

Let us know how we can help you turbocharge your social venture today!

Ready to get started? Contact us

Social Enterprise for Nonprofits

Social Enterprise for Nonprofits

nonprofit social enterprise

Sometimes “the way it’s always been done” is no longer adequate. At Joining Vision and Action we are relentlessly focused on bringing research and innovation to the field of social enterprise, applying the lessons of implementation science to make grounded recommendations for your nonprofit social enterprise.

A nonprofit social enterprise can be the key to unrestricted revenue. We can help you get there.

Do you want to free your nonprofit from dependence on grants and donations?

Need help figuring out how to start a nonprofit social enterprise?

Do you want professional, evidence-based financial projections and market research?

Most organizations could benefit from greater financial stability – and nonprofit social enterprise is an increasingly popular way of providing it. By launching a mission-driven business, your nonprofit has the opportunity to:

  • Increase unrestricted income
  • Support your existing fundraising strategy
  • Diversify your funding streams
  • Strengthen your financial security

Joining Vision and Action’s experienced staff has worked with dozens of nonprofits to help them develop new income streams and achieve greater long-term impact. Let us know how we can help you develop your nonprofit’s social enterprise business plan today!

Ready to get started? Contact us

August 2016

Why systems are key to nonprofit succession planning—and your vacation!

Blog, Books, Executive Directors|

 

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By Janine Vanderburg, President/CEO, Joining Vision and Action

What is the most important element of your nonprofit succession plan?

Having good systems in place. Yup, that’s it. You can have developed leaders around you, left your board the password list and list of key donors, but without documented systems in place, the organization will flounder when you leave.

Throughout my years of work with nonprofit organizations and social enterprises, I’ve found that few have documented systems in place. Often “how we do things” is lodged in the head and heart of the executive director and/ or a key fundraiser.

Why that happens is understandable. People are focused on growth, fundraising and meeting client needs—so stopping to take the time to write down the processes and systems that make all that good work happen never seems to be a priority.

Failure to define and document systems, however, places organizations at significant risk. Work becomes person-dependent (meaning that one and only one person only knows how to do the work) or the workload keeps growing and every time a new person is added to the mix, he or she reinvents the wheel. Either way, you are failing to capture how you do what you do so that it can be replicated if successful or reviewed and modified if ineffective, wasting time and energy at the expense of your mission.

At JVA, we learned a lot about systems from participating in an E-myth coaching program. And we highly recommend the book: The E-Myth Revisited.

While written for entrepreneurs of small and midsize businesses, the book is a readable and helpful resource for any manager in any sector who is struggling to find enough time to do everything on his or her list. Among the themes discussed, the book focuses on systems, why they are critical and how they can benefit you and your organization in the long run.

Here are so basics of documenting your systems

The following key elements should be captured as part of your systemization efforts.

  1. The purpose of the system. What is it that is accomplished by the system? For example, the purpose of your payroll system is to make sure that your employees receive their paychecks on time and in the right amounts. The work of the system should be aligned toward achievement of the purpose.
  2. The flow of work in the system. What are the steps that need to take place within the system? Document the activities required, in order, with a level of detail that will ensure that someone unfamiliar with the system can read and understand how to operate it if required.
  3. The party or parties responsible for the system. Who is accountable for the system? Assign responsible positions to discrete steps within the system and for the system as a whole. Make sure that each individual involved understands the system and the components for which he or she is responsible. This process will lay the groundwork for effective staff and volunteer management by defining clear performance expectations and accountability.
  4. Periodic review of the system. Organizations are not stagnant; systems must evolve to meet changing needs of the organization and to reflect enhancements that can increase the agency’s efficacy and efficiency. By including a documented process for reviewing and updating systems, organizations can allow for innovation and flexibility while maintaining integrity, consistency and accountability.

 How to get started? Conduct a system inventory.

For a nonprofit with few documented systems, putting this process into place can feel overwhelming. Start slow, prioritize, delegate and tackle one thing at a time. Consider conducting a system inventory to create a master list of all the systems and processes either in place or needed to conduct the work of your organization. Keep adding to the list and documenting one system at a time.

Once systems are in place, develop a process to periodically review and reassess systems to make sure that they are still relevant, accurate and efficient in supporting the work of your agency. You’ll get there,  your agency will be stronger for it, and you’ll be ready for succession—or vacation!