#116: 2021 Advice from the ‘Nonprofit Nerd’

communication strategy donor retention marketer on a mission podcast Jan 22, 2021

Jarrett Ransom, the self-described “Nonprofit Nerd” talks with Cindy about strategies to build your relationships with your donors. Concentrating on “Return on Relationship” instead of “Return on Investment” will get you much farther in your retention efforts.

But what are the building blocks you can use to create these better relationships with the people who are key to supporting your organization?

Jarrett says these five steps have served her well throughout her career in nonprofits:

  1. Get to know your audience and understand their main concerns. Get beyond the data fields in your database. 
  2. Customize your language - getting the right message to the right audiences using donor avatars.
  3. Take advantage of anniversary dates as an opportunity to reach out. 
  4. Create virtual “meet-ups” so your donors can get to know your staff and board - and vice versa. (Also a great way to keep volunteers in touch during the pandemic.)
  5. Pick up the phone and have a conversation.

Regardless of how you go about building those relationships, remember it isn’t always about setting up the next donation; it’s about creating the connection, particularly during a time as tumultuous as the past year.

“If you can focus on your return on relationship, you’ll retain these people as donors,” said Jarrett, adding that they’ll remember the time you took to get to know them better and reward that in the future. 

To learn more about Jarrett and her company, visit

Here on Facebook:

On Instagram:

Click here to listen!

Rate, Review, and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to subscribe today. I don’t want you to miss an episode. They are each designed to help you take immediate action on the most important nonprofit marketing strategies that will help you move your mission forward so you can accelerate the growth of your organization and create the impact you most want in this world. 

Click here to subscribe 

And if you’re feeling extra motivated, I would be very grateful if you left me a review too. 

Reviews help other nonprofit leaders, marketers, communicators, and fundraisers find my podcast so we can all move our missions forward with love and respect for the work we all do in making the world a better place. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what the most helpful part of the podcast was for you. 

Thank you!

 Get on Google Play (Button via 

PS. Be sure to join the Smart Marketing for Small Nonprofits Podcast community - Facebook group. Click here to join the conversation.