Our Expertise

What makes JVA unique

What sets JVA apart? Well, for more than 34 years we’ve been using research and innovation exclusively in support of people and organizations that focus on community and social change. Over this time, JVA has developed efficient and effective systems and processes to consistently provide top-notch products to the changemakers of the world.

What else? We are strengths-based and science-backed. In fact, we are strengths-based because we are science-backed. Social science research tells us that focusing on strengths works. It helps keep people engaged, optimistic and more willing to take on tough tasks. It keeps people from going down rabbit (or snake?) holes of worst-case scenarios and keeps them thinking about positive next steps for their organization. The tools, processes and activities we use were developed by a social psychologist.

What’s more, JVA is also woman-owned and woman-led. Read more about our founding by Janine Vanderburg here, and check out our Team page to learn more about us. Because when you hire JVA, we’re all in your court. Depending on the questions our clients face, JVA can bring in its in-house experts on fundraising and grantwriting, research and program evaluation, community engagement, strategic planning, community assessments and facilitation, board development and recruitment, and more.

Our ‘why’

JVA believes in the power of one person to change the world. That’s why we are dedicated to helping social changemakers articulate their visions and turn them into action. We know that communities often have the answers about what they need, and some help or technical assistance from a trusted partner can be all they need to achieve their vision.

We work with a diverse group of nonprofits, social enterprises and government agencies of all ages and sizes, across the country. The common element bringing all these groups into partnership with JVA is their commitment to making a positive difference in the world.

Our achievements

JVA has an incredible track record. For example, since our 1987 inception, our grantwriting has helped our clients raise over $1 billion. Talk about a nice return on investment! During that time, we have also led over 700 strategic planning projects for organizations at all points of their life cycles—from start-up to growth, to maturity and reinvention, to bold next steps.

Among our proudest achievements is our ever-growing list of happy clients. Like the dozens of testimonials we have received from satisfied customers, our survey results tell the story. A survey of 29 organizations that had used JVA for planning services revealed that JVA’s planning work contributed to their ability to:

  • Think strategically (92%)
  • Expand programming (92%)
  • Make an impact (85%)
  • Operate more efficiently (85%)
  • Achieve their goals (85%)
  • Raise funds (85%)

Asked how likely they were to recommend JVA to a friend or colleague, clients who had used JVA for strategy development and business planning services gave us an average rating of 9.5 on a scale of 10.

Check out our most recent annual report for more highlights of our recent work!

Our techniques

How does JVA accomplish all of this? What makes us so good at what we do?

JVA brings strategic thinking to all of our engagements, based on a full understanding of the sector gleaned from a wide range of work. Each year, we work with hundreds of individuals and organizations committed to significant social change.

And though we technically can’t say we wrote the book on grantwriting, we did help write the most recent Colorado Common Grant Application (CGA). That means we have a crystal clear understanding of the CGA and know how to tailor your organization’s proposal to it.

Additionally, JVA facilitators are trained in a variety of evidence-informed practices and techniques, including large group and breakout group work, pair sharing, Technology of Participation, World Café, Skilled Facilitator, crowdsourcing, interactive categorizing of ideas and themes, and sometimes even drawing. Our approach helps our clients achieve their goals—oh, and it’s a lot of fun!

We are not satisfied with what we have already learned and done. JVA uses the discipline of implementation science to ensure that whatever work we do with you is informed by the latest research and science about what is most effective in that area. Good ideas aren’t enough. Implementation science dictates that the best ideas are those that can be proven in the field. What does that mean for you? You’ll be more effective in your work.

Our areas of expertise

The JVA team will help you take your ideas for a better future from vision to action. Some of our particular areas of expertise include work with early childhood organizations, community health assessments, and issues and organizations related to older adults.

Older adults:

As the population of older adults increases both in Colorado and across the nation, JVA can help your organization anticipate needs and get ahead of the curve. We have extensive experience applying our expertise for organizations and projects geared toward older adults. Learn more on our Aging Expertise page.