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March 2010

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

By |March 5th, 2010|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. […]

January 2016

5 things funders do in reviewing your grant proposal

By |January 8th, 2016|Blog, Grantwriting|

by Janine Vanderburg

In my years at JVA, I’ve worked with lots of funders, and have served as a funder reviewing grant proposals.

Yes, funders do all of these in reviewing grant proposals:

  • Check your website to see if what is in your proposal matches how you describe your programs on your website. Tempted to stretch your

    No kneeling required; just do the right things. No kneeling required; just do the right things.

    program description to match a funder’s interest areas? Not a good idea. Look for funders that are a strong match with your work instead.

  • Notice when you copied and pasted directly from another proposal. Worst case: Copying and pasting Funder A’s name in a proposal to Funder B. Be careful to read through your proposal, or better yet, have someone else read through.
  • Read the notes in your audit to see if there are any red flags, or if the notes explain the red flags that might be elsewhere in your financial statement. Be sure you read them too and offer additional explanation in your cover to the financials if needed.
  • Are moved by compelling stories of those who benefit from your services. Numbers are of course important, but don’t forget to inject emotion into your proposals as well. Just don’t go overboard.
  • Feel bad when they have to turn down good projects. There are always more high quality grant proposals than funding available in any given round, and funders usually have to turn down requests that they feel genuinely passionate about. So do ask politely for feedback if you are turned down, but don’t berate and if the funder doesn’t have time to provide feedback or if their organization discourages that, be graceful and simply say thank you. There is always the next round.

Are you ready to submit your 2016 grant proposals? Do they need a refresh? Join us at Write a Grant in a Day©, where you’ll literally write a great first draft of your grant proposal.


September 2015

Why a Give-or-Get Fundraising Policy is a Bad Idea

By |September 12th, 2015|Blog, Board of directors, Fundraising|

Is someone recommending that your nonprofit board adopt a give-or-get fundraising policy?

Hang around any nonprofit for a while, and you’ll hear someone proposing a give-or-get fundraising policy.

Typically found in a board contract or policy, it might say something like:

“I agree to personally give $1,000 annually, or to raise that amount from others.”

Sounds great, right? A written commitment by your board members to raise money?

Here’s why it’s a bad idea.

In organizations that are most successful, there is a culture of fundraising. Everyone participates in fundraising (getting) and everyone gives (to the extent they are able, a personally significant gift). I like to GIVE and GET

A give-or-get fundraising policy sets up uneven dynamics on the board if wealthier board members are able to buy their way out of participating in the nonprofit’s fundraising activities. All board members should be introducing the organization to friends and colleagues, and identifying ways that they can contribute to the organization’s financing.

The better fundraising policy for your nonprofit board of directors? Give and get.

If you’re a nonprofit board member:

  • Give an amount that is personally significant to you.
  • And find a way to use your strengths and talents in the “getting!”


Membership Level 2

By |September 9th, 2015|

For $799, you get all of Package 1, as well as access to all two-day intensives (over 80 trainings, a $4,664 value)

August 2015

Maximizing Your Social Media for Year End Fundraising

By |August 28th, 2015|


Does your social media presence disappear at the end of the year when your board and staff are busy fundraising? Do you use social media in your fundraising efforts but the strategies you’re using aren’t getting much traction with your donors?

With donors in a giving mood, social media platforms have more fundraising potential than ever. We will show you how to turn your online champions into fundraisers and donors in our Maximizing Your Social Media for Year End Fundraising  training. From creating shared fundraising goals, to communicating the impact of dollars raised, this training will help you optimize your posts and get your supporters excited about supporting your organization.

In this training you will learn how to:

  • Engage people not just to give but to encourage others as well
  • Design and create an online graphic that shows real-time progress toward the goal
  • Use photos, video and testimonials to underscore the importance and urgency of the campaign

For more information and to reserve your spot in this exciting training, click here.

Price: $49.00

Nonprofit Dashboards

By |August 28th, 2015|


How are you doing? Do you need to wade through lots of reports and data to find out whether you’re in the black, meeting monthly goals, changing the world?

Learn about innovative dashboard tools that provide quick, relevant visual information for organization leaders, in real time, to understand financial and programmatic growth/challenges.

A dashboard is a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more organizational or programmatic outcomes.

Dashboards are typically developed on a single page and allow for the quick identification of where performance is going well and where improvement is needed. This method of presenting important data is quickly becoming popular as a means to communicate outcomes across diverse stakeholder positions and personal abilities (i.e., ability to understand data and outcomes).

JVA was selected to present dashboard basics to over 50 nonprofit professionals at the Colorado Nonprofit Association Conference. We’ve developed dashboards for our clients to help directors and program managers easily track metrics important to them, and to their boards and funders.

If you want to learn how to build a dashboard for your organization or department,  this training is for you!

Going to the Next Level

By |August 25th, 2015|

Going to the Next Level

You’re firmly established, and you’ve shown impact. There are a number of things you might do to get to the next level … and we can help you get there.

Sometimes what you need to get to the next level is to more fully engage others in your work. We can help you:

To train your board, staff, volunteers, grantees—learn more about our training topics and prices. We can also bring them to you on site. All pricing is exclusive of travel.

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Our Team

By |August 19th, 2015|

The JVA Team

At JVA, we’re a huge believer in Jim Collins’ principle of getting the right people on the bus. To us, that means people who are passionate about community and social change (it’s what they do when they’re not at work as well). It’s people who genuinely care about our customers’ success—the kind of guy like Collin, who brought a bell to work that we ring when we learn about a grant award going to a client. It’s people who are committed to getting it right. People who will go over the top to ensure your success. People who work together. Our Valuable Team Members Ali’s varied background brings a unique perspective to JVA’s marketing and business development team. She started her career as a Montessori teacher and then left to earn her Master’s in international studies from the University of Denver. This led her to multiple nonprofit fundraising positions, where she spent over three years successfully crafting an organization’s vision into a story. As marketing and business development associate, she’s excited to have the opportunity to bring JVA’s version of social change to life. Adam Brock is a social entrepreneur and facilitator based in his hometown of Denver, Colorado. He is co-founder of The GrowHaus and the Denver Permaculture Guild, and has won numerous awards for his work on local food and social justice including Zagat’s “30 Under 30” and Denver Post’s “Colorado’s Top Thinkers”.

He is the Social Enterprise Developer at JVA, leading the Mission, Inc. Basecamp and providing one-on-one consulting with social entrepreneurs. Collin Lessing brings more than a decade of experience in communications and marketing to his role as senior associate in grant writing and marketing at JVA.

Collin’s passion is working with community-based organizations and sharing their stories of impact with funders. He has helped several organizations advance their sustainability and growth through millions of dollars in successful grants. Christy brings more than a decade of experience in the social sector for a variety of nonprofit, education and government entities. Christy’s particular expertise is fundraising for startup organizations and new programs. In her last role before joining JVA in 2011, Christy managed a successful startup campaign of $12.5 million during the economic recession.

As a senior associate and the director of resource development, Christy is passionate about finding strategic solutions to organizational financing for JVA’s inspiring social and community change-driven clients. Under her leadership, JVA provides quality campaign feasibility studies; capital, endowment and annual campaign support; strategic and fund development planning; compelling development messaging and writing; and a variety of customized and public trainings, all of which help JVA’s clients meet their goals. Gayle brings her 25 years of work in the non-profit field managing programs, and working with local community organizations to tackle issues around poverty, education, workforce development and homelessness.

Having participated in a learning cross exchange to India, being a board member with The Center for Ethical Leadership as well as being part of the Denver’s Road Home’s […]

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March 2015

Denver Commission on Aging Strategic Plan

By |March 15th, 2015|Reports and Publications, Strategic Planning|

In early 2015, JVA facilitated a strategic planning retreat for the Denver Commission on Aging, seeking to both engage current and new members of the Commission in challenging thinking about a vision for older adults in the city role of the Commission in moving that vision forward. The resulting report reflects the energy and enthusiasm of Commission members, and a revitalized commitment to making Denver the best city for older adults.

November 2014

Giving thankfully on Thanksgiving

By |November 25th, 2014|Blog|

By Scot Kersgaard, JVA Consulting

Happy Thanksgiving.

Events in Ferguson, Cleveland and around the world leave many of us with heavy hearts and aching souls. That doesn’t mean we give up the holidays. Perhaps it means we ask a little more of ourselves this year, give a little more of ourselves.

Many of us will sit around a table on Thanksgiving and talk about what we are thankful for. It may just be a list of things, or it may be a time to talk in more depth. Some of us may do this while standing around in a circle holding hands. Many, of course, won’t do this at all, which does not imply a lack of thankfulness.

We all have holiday traditions. Some play football in the yard on Thanksgiving. Some watch football on the telly, some go for long walks after dinner, if only as a warm-up for leftovers.

Here’s an idea, though. Maybe Thanksgiving is more than a time to express thanks, eat and enjoy football. Maybe it is a time to give thankfully and mindfully, to acknowledge our own good fortune by giving a little something back.

Maybe it’s time to look at each other differently, to not see ethnic, racial or socioeconomic differences as dividers, but as opportunities for broadening our own understanding, to expect the best from each other rather than to fear the worst–and to present our own best self to the world on a daily basis.

My wife, yesterday, said to me that we need to pick up our charitable pace. Partly, she is looking at the need, which, in the field of human services in a cold climate like Denver, tends to go up this time of year. Partly, she may have been thinking about the fact that we have done OK this year, kept the mortgage paid and the heat on and the pantry stocked.

Inspired by Janine Vanderburg, who treats Colorado Gives Day like a holiday, I told my wife we could each give away $X on Colorado Gives Day in any way we each want. Much as Janine would expect, we’ve begun bartering and lobbying, with my wife telling me why we should give more to her favorite nonprofit. In the end, we will probably give more than planned.

Colorado Gives Day is great. It does not, of course, replace year-round giving. It also does not replace fundamental human kindness.

Writing checks or typing credit card numbers into Colorado Gives Day forms is a great way to express thanks. A smile and the understanding that we are all one people is a great way to express shared humanity with each other.

Let’s do both this year.