NRV Nonprofit Accelerator

What is a nonprofit accelerator and why participate?

Expand your capacity or your nonprofit program idea.

The Community Foundation of the New River Valley is teaming up with The Spark Mill again to offer six to eight organizations with a nonprofit accelerator experience in 2020!

Let’s face it, nonprofits are different. There is always a greater good at play that guides expansion and capacity. It is easy to get so focused on the day-to-day activities of serving that we often lose sight of our organization’s greater mission and vision.  Accelerators are similar to incubators, but they focus on growing established organizations rather than launching new ones. They are meant for non-profit organizations interested in expanding capacity, scaling up, increasing their sustainability, testing a nonprofit program idea, re-examining a long-standing program, and/or transforming a program model. This accelerator will provide the time, expertise and space necessary to reflect, change and act.

The Participant’s Journey

This accelerator experience includes a four-month program designed to advance the growth and impact of participating organizations through consulting, mentoring and peer learning.

Here is the process:

  1. This accelerator will start with a 2-day workshop to support capacity building in four areas:
  • Clarity of your organization or program model
  • Clarity of your ‘story’
  • Board engagement and strengthening
  • Planning and strategy

The workshop will be facilitated by The Spark Mill and include regional entrepreneurs that will provide additional support and guidance. Participants will be guided through creative exercises to refine strategy through business model and board road mapping, storytelling and more. You will walk away with a 30, 60, and 90-day action plan to support your identified goals.

2. Your team will then be matched with a local and experienced coach/mentor who can help address any challenges or obstacles as you work to implement your plan.

3. Your team will reconvene for a two-hour participant roundtable midway through the process to share insights, troubleshoot challenges, and learn from one another’s experiences.

4. The accelerator will conclude with a ‘demo’ day where you will be able to practice telling your organization’s story and share any lessons learned, accomplishments and next steps to a broader group of potential community partners and funders. And of course, we will celebrate all your hard work!

The Requirements

Participant organizations selected to become a part of our accelerator will:

  • Have established 501(c)(3) status
  • Not be in crisis
  • Make the time needed to take full advantage of this opportunity
  • Be flexible and open to change
  • Be ready and willing to have their ideas challenged
  • Be able to create a team of 4-6 people including the executive director, key staff, and board leadership
  • Agree to participate in all aspects of the accelerator (training, coaching, roundtable and demo day).
  • Be willing to commit $300 towards their participation.
  • Complete the application.

Key Dates

Stay Tuned! Dates will be announced soon. 

Click here to see information about last year’s event and get an idea of what is to come, with some tweaks, this year!

Who is The Spark Mill?

The Spark Mill is a Richmond-based strategic planning and nonprofit consulting firm. They are experts at helping companies and organizations of all sizes make leaps, manage transitions, and plot transformative futures. For more information: