4 Yampa Valley nonprofits get fundraising upgrade | SteamboatToday.com
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4 Yampa Valley nonprofits get fundraising upgrade

Jennifer Grathwohl with Routt County Humane Society holds up a sign and waves at passing motorists on Yampa Valley Gives Day. The annual effort, which is held in conjunction with Colorado Gives Day, is a way to bring awareness and funds to local nonprofits.(Photo by John F. Russell)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — For Andres Cladera, receiving 12 months of coaching on how to fundraise for his organization Opera Steamboat will forever be beneficial.

The coaching will come from a program called Jumpstart, a 12-month capacity building fundraising program that partnered with the Yampa Valley Community Foundation to help smaller nonprofits develop better fundraising tactics.

“As a trusted resource for local philanthropy and grant making, the Yampa Valley Community Foundation has a responsibility to help build and support a healthy nonprofit ecosystem,” said Helen Beall, community impact manager at the foundation. “Financial sustainability is an important factor in ensuring that nonprofits can provide meaningful, impactful services to the community, year after year.”



The program will work with Opera Steamboat, Friends of the Yampa, Grand Futures and the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition.

“It makes our fundraising efforts more professional,” said Cladera, general and artistic director of Opera Steamboat. “We’re a small organization, and this gave us a taste of what it’s like to have the resources to manage our communication with our donors in a more professional way.”



Jumpstart is a feature from Network for Good, a fundraising software company. Beall said she discovered the program in 2019, and more than 50 Yampa Valley nonprofits were invited to learn about JumpStart and offered the opportunity to complete an assessment to identify their most common challenges, core needs and opportunities for growth.

Of the 30 of organizations who attended the informational session, 18 applied for the program, and four were selected to participate.

“This platform is not only helping Opera Steamboat, it’s also helping fundraise for other voices in the community,” Cladera said. “It’s a wonderful way for Opera Steamboat to raise funds for ourselves but also for other voices in our community.”

Nancy Merrill, founder and president of the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition, said the program will specifically help her organization consolidate a list of its donors and help thank them for donations, which she said is beneficial to small, grassroots nonprofits who often have limited staff and resources.

“For most nonprofits that started as a small grassroots movement, you kind of create things as you go along, and they aren’t always organized,” Merrill said. “I can already see there will be a ton of benefits from it in being more organized and more efficient and more thoughtful in how we work with our contacts and donors.”

Opera Steamboat got an early start in the program, beginning in September, and increased fundraising results by 34% last year.

“This was especially important during the pandemic as our performances moved to virtual, and we learned to operate in new ways,” Caldera said. “We look forward to continuing to increase our ability to communicate with the community we serve and are grateful to the caring and thoughtful donors who make beautiful, uplifting music available and accessible.”

With the Network for Good partnership, a sponsorship from Alpine Bank and a donation from Brian and Nancy Jackson, the Community Foundation will inject more than $25,000 worth of targeted, technical fundraising assistance to local grantees.

“All supporting funders are dedicated to providing high-quality organizational effectiveness services to local nonprofits,” Beall said. “With the success of this program in 2021, the Community Foundation plans to open this program to a new group of nonprofits in 2022.”


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