All posts by vmjones

Emergent Asking: Get What You Need Now

Takeaway: Use four simple steps to ask for the help you need in any facet of life. Learn more by watching Val’s recent webinar, hosted by Bloomerang.

As we emerge from Covid (again!) we’re numb and needy. We’re overwhelmed, awkward, and weary. Despite all this, many of us don’t, won’t or can’t ask for help.

People ask all the time, some poorly, some well. Those who ask well know who, how, and when to ask. Oftentimes they succeed for themselves, their families, friends, and causes.

Sadly, there are some who don’t ask at all. Yet untapped allies and resources are all around us!

Asking is a process of logical steps which builds the momentum that will get to a “yes.” Next time you need to ask for help, try these simple steps.

Continue reading Emergent Asking: Get What You Need Now


Set Yourself Up for Success with a Tech Audit

Happy New Year! January is a time for fresh starts and resolutions to work smarter, not harder. When it comes to your nonprofit’s technology, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does our social media captivate and engage our audience?
  • Does our website support our fundraising goals?
  • Do we use the full functionality of our database?

If your answer to any of these questions is “I Don’t Know” or even “No” then we can help.

Introducing – the Tech Audit! 

The Tech Audit helps small-to-medium nonprofits assess their organization’s tech capabilities based on 150 data points. We cover three essential areas: Social Media, Website, and Database. You’ll get a detailed report showing where you’re top of the class, and a list of action steps where you could do even better.

  • Social Media: We’ll evaluate whether your nonprofit is using social media to its fullest potential. 
  • Website: We’ll evaluate your nonprofit’s website (especially the Donate Page) for ease of navigation, clarity, and ability to engage visitors.
  • Database: We’ll evaluate your database’s structure, functionality, and completeness, as well as your team’s ability to maximize this critical resource.

A Tech Audit can be useful any time of the year, particularly:

  • Before you start a capital campaign
  • When you hire a new Development Director
  • When creating your next budget

We’re constantly updating the Tech Audit to reflect the latest trends. To learn more, contact us at: email hidden; JavaScript is required


2 Tips to Get Year-End Gifts that Keep on Giving

It’s December! What’s on your nonprofit’s holiday wish list? 

How about a gift that keeps on giving… 

An endowment. 

An endowment is to a nonprofit as an IRA is to a senior citizen. People spend decades saving for a comfortable retirement. An endowment is your goose that lays golden eggs. It can ensure your nonprofit’s future by engaging your most loyal donors.  

BUT! Endowments aren’t for everyone. If you’re an established nonprofit with earned revenue and a strong donor base, it can be the perfect wish list item. If you’re a start-up nonprofit without a database… not so much. 

Your endowment secures your nonprofit’s future. Donors can fund it in the form of cash, appreciated stock, IRA rollovers, bequests, etc. (There are lots of ways to give to an endowment fund – check out my recent webinar for more examples!) The proceeds of these funds provide operating funds in perpetuity – a gift that gives year after year. 

Want to find the donors who will make your endowment wishes come true? Here are two tips you can use NOW: 

Continue reading 2 Tips to Get Year-End Gifts that Keep on Giving



Here are 3 ways to harness color, nature, and wisdom as you emerge into Spring!


Did you know more than half of consumers’ first impressions are based on color alone?

And that one in 12 men is color-blind?



How to Keep Your Sponsors Coming Back

We all love having sponsors. But how do we make them love us back?

Sponsors love knowing what you did with their support almost as much as you love having it.

By checking in with them after your event and keeping them informed of your successes, you increase the chances that they’ll return year after year!

(Bonus points if you can get them all in the same room together for a sponsor summit!)

Watch below for more information on how to foster relationships with the sponsors we love!



Why Should Anyone Serve on a Board?

Love is one of the biggest reasons why someone serves as a nonprofit board member.

Many of us push interests to the backburner as we advance our careers or raise families. But, serving as a nonprofit board member can help you reconnect with those passions and find greater fulfillment in your day to day life.

And, as a bonus, we get to spend time with people who love the same things we do!

Watch below to learn more about why board members do what they do. And remember, if you want to show your board members some love this month, give them Nonprofit Hero: Five Easy Steps to Successful Board Fundraising!


Cultivate Connection in 2021

Lucy’s first event meant the world to her and it was failing.

My daughter Lucy is beautiful, smart, a passionate political activist… and she’s on the spectrum.  She struggles to communicate and strains to organize her week, much less a rally. On that grey October morning, a few friends trickled in, slowly, so slowly. Nearby diners ignored us.

Until Lucy leapt onto the fountain base and raised her violin.

She played I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables.

Her violin sang of hopes torn apart, of yearning and love, of loss and revolution. She offered no introduction before she played nor explanation after. She didn’t speak. She just played. To her neighbors, to her town, to a country divided.

And in that moment, she united us. Friends and strangers, protesters and passers-by listened.

True leaders gather us for good, they don’t shatter us into bloody splinters. And sometimes, like Lucy, they use untraditional means to unite us, to raise us above the conflict and chaos.

Try these three tips to foster togetherness this year:

Continue reading Cultivate Connection in 2021


The Most Common Mistake in Fundraising

The New Year is an opportunity to think about, plan, and accomplish your fundraising goals. And it’s better to do that imperfectly than not at all!

As a friend and mentor once said, “You have to do it the right way, and when you can’t do it the right way, you do it the wrong way because it’s gotta get done!”

To learn how to address your board’s common fundraising mistakes and make 2021 a year of success, check out Nonprofit Hero: Five Easy Steps to Successful Board Fundraising


What’s in Your Nonprofit’s Future?

Come and Gaze into My Crystal Ball!

“You will meet a tall, dark stranger, encounter a shaman in Outer Mongolia, and ride a yak.”

If a seer had predicted that future before I met my husband Don, I’d have laughed in her face. It’s true that I love adventure and want to ride every animal that can be ridden, but Outer Mongolia?

Yet 2011 found us crouched with a golden-eyed shamaness in her smoky tent by Lake Khövsgöl.

And yes, I got to ride a yak.

Magic didn’t whisk me there. It was the sweet fruit of a series of steps, decisions made, opportunities offered, and actions taken.

You don’t need magic to boost gifts to your nonprofit, so skip the soggy tea leaves and crystal balls.  Focus on what you can do to spark support, right now, next month, and next year.   Here’s how you can use sensory language, monthly giving, and planned giving to brighten your nonprofit’s future.

Continue reading What’s in Your Nonprofit’s Future?


Why Introverts Make Great Fundraisers


Take-Away: It doesn’t take an extravert to make strong connections.

Don’t forget to book your Nonprofit Hero talk and training!

You’ll find more fundraising tips and techniques in Nonprofit Hero, Five Easy Steps to Successful Board Fundraising, available on Amazon, or for free from your local library. And via my blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Schedule a game-changing board retreat that’ll turn your volunteers into Nonprofit Fundraising Heroes, contact email hidden; JavaScript is required.