Self-Care for Success

Jarrett Ransom is the self-professed Nonpprofit Nerd. She and her company, The Rayvan Group, have been working exclusively with nonprofits across the US since 2009 and have helped them raise millions of dollars since. Jarrett holds an MBA in business and a Certificate of Grant Writing from The Grantsmanship Center Institute, and her accolades include being named an AZ Central Who’s Next Nominee, a Greater Phoenix Athena Nominee, and she received the Global Women’s Summit Leadership Award just to name a few highlights.

We talk about how self-care for success was instrumental as she scaled her business from start up to six figures (as a single mom!) and:

  • why she is passionate about serving the non-profit sector
  • the common thinking and challenges that plague non-profits
  • her top tips for non-profit fundraising success

“That is how I ramped up to six figures, I really got clear on what my inspiration was, I got clear on those inspired actions and creating a business plan around that. I hired a business coach. I started having some conversations with high level entrepreneurs that took their businesses seriously and not as a hobby.”

Connect with Jarrett

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JM: Hey, Jarrett. How are you?

JR: Hi Jen. I’m great. Thanks for having me.

JM: I am so glad you made time for us. I am thrilled to talk to you and learn a little bit more about what you do. It has been super fun having you in the Catalyst Founders Group and just getting to know you as a person. You are just so fun and dynamic and I love everything that you stand for and the work that you do. Speaking of, tell me a little bit more about your work because I know that you work in the nonprofit sector and you do help nonprofits to raise more money.

JR: Right. Simply put, I am the nonprofit nerd. I am your nonprofit nerd and I geek out on that topic literally for hours. Just like you said like I have worked exclusively with nonprofits in, gosh, 2009 and probably before, but I’ve really dedicated my professional career to the nonprofit sector. I absolutely love it. Like I said I’m a nerd in that area and really just working with nonprofits to build the community. Nonprofits exist because there is a problem in the community and nonprofits offer solutions for that and I love working with community and building that supportive area.

JM: I love that. Community is so important. It’s interesting because I talk to a lot of my clients about building community around their brands. Oftentimes for for-profit organizations, we’re talking about usually like a virtual community, we’re talking about why it’s important for your audience to have a relationship with one another with you positioned as the authority. What does that mean in the nonprofit sector? When you are working with a nonprofit to build community, what does that mean for them?

JR: Great question. It really depends on the organization; are they local? My hometown now is Arizona, so does it mean that they serve a certain area in Arizona? Does that mean they’re regional, statewide, national, international? Community really does take on a different shape and a different definition depending on the organization and the strategy that they have for impact. It also means other nonprofits like I believe in abundance and collaboration. When possible, when egos can be set aside—and I can help nonprofits really partner and collaborate to make a really big difference—that expands their community. I can’t really answer that like in one simple sentence but really it just depends on the impact of the organization and really where they want to take their program.

JM: Their goals and their audiences. What are the benefits of building community for a nonprofit? Why is that important for them?

JR: Simply put, so many nonprofits exist off of resources from other entities and individuals, so be it financial resources—and I’m talking donations like charity cash, checks, credit cards, things like that where we are supporting a nonprofit—and then also in kind, whether that’s volunteer time or in kind products. That community really serves as your main point of resource and really just the lifeblood the organization need. Again, it could be through money, by way of financial donations or it could be volunteer time by way of time, energy, and talent from your volunteer pool.

JM: Why do you think nonprofits are so challenged by that? I mean everybody is like part of what I do, I would no longer be in business doing anymore of building a sense of community, we’re so simple and so obvious to people and of the benefits, we are so obvious, but that community, I mean it’s similar to for-profits in that community is supporting the livelihood.

In a for-profit, you want that community because that’s your pool of prospects, that is where your clients are coming from. Ideally they’re telling each other about you so that you are not having to work so hard at prospecting, selling, and client acquisition. It’s this similar in the nonprofit world where you need that community where people support you and they come out to volunteer and they do tell other people why they should be donating or getting involved. It is that pool of prospects who are able to give cash and in kind. Why is it that you think that nonprofits seem to have such a hard time with that? I mean, there are a few that come to mind that are rock stars at it, like the really well established nonprofits that are total rock stars at it. I’m curious to hear your thought on it because I don’t work in nonprofit, but in the nonprofits that I’ve worked with, it just seems like many of them do have such a hard time with developing that community and developing that pool of donors and in-kind. What are some of the challenges that they have that you see in a regular basis?

JR: You know me well and I promise to keep this clean right on TV, but I’m going to be honest and really disrupt this by saying so many nonprofits, especially the small to medium, whether it’s a startup nonprofit or under like that million-dollar operating budget, I think, and I truly believe this, too often, they’re changing their mission, they’re changing their case statement, and they’re chasing the dollar. Their strategy is not fit whereas the larger nonprofits, the larger for-profit even like Fortune 500, we know very clearly their mission and their strategy.

But when you are a startup nonprofit or even like that middle-sized nonprofit, you are doing what you can to keep your doors open and that’s what I love to work with nonprofits about. It’s your board members, your development director, even your founder and CEO is, “What is your case statement? What is your need for support? Let’s get very clear and sound on that and not change it every six months to try and fit that square peg into a round hole because there’s now money for something else and you think, ‘Oh, we can do that too.’” That’s really what I want to say is so many kinds, especially the starting nonprofits, they try to figure out their niche and they are often going in circles chasing their tail. That shouldn’t be the case. I really believe that they have a hard time connecting and building that true rapport and community because too often their message and their need changes.

JM: That is really such a good point both in for-profit and nonprofit worlds. I might call that in the for-profit world an issue with branding, vision, mission and knowing who you are. Oftentimes we do see that where entities or personal brands become sort of shapeshifters so depending on who they’re prospecting or who they think they might be able to land as a client or a donor, depending on which world you are in, we have this tendency to want to shapeshift and sort of become what that donor or client wants from us. It’s so important that we don’t do that because one of the key foundational principles for being able to build a sense of community is knowing what you stand for, knowing who you are, and in building a reputation for that. I definitely see that in the for-profit world as well. Jarrett, tell me why nonprofits? What originally drew you to that work?

JR: I’m originally from Georgia to South Carolina. I grew up in South Carolina, but small hometown. Literally it was the kind of hometown that my dad knew when I got a speeding ticket before I even got home.

JM: Ooh, that’s rough.

JR: I know. It’s a really small town and it’s very rough. Imagine sitting at the dinner table and your dad saying, “So do you have something to tell me?” and I’m going, “Oh, gosh.” What I’ve realized, honestly, Jen, was I am still at heart a small town girl. I feel the culture and environment of that small town in my roots when I am working in the nonprofit sector. I did, I dabbled in the corporate sector for a while, very short stint, but truly like every moral fiber of my body is part of the nonprofit sector. I really just believe the nonprofit sector sees me, and often their other staff, contracted police, and whatnot, as a part of their family. It still has that sense of hometown and I just love it.

JM: That’s awesome, that real sense of connection and supporting your community. Now I think working sometimes with a nonprofit is easier said than done or working with nonprofits. I hear this from so many people who work in the nonprofit sector, consultants, or vendors to the nonprofit sectors, sometimes it feels like it’s tough to grow because they have such a hard time finding those dollars. How did you scale your business from startup to six figures? This is like a huge question. This is like, “Tell us how you did it?” and I’m sure there are so much that went into it but how did you do that? What was the mindset? Take us through a little bit of the strategy and some the challenges that you have had to overcome and the lessons that you’ve learned in scaling your business from startup to six figures.

JR: You are right, and I did scale from startup to six figures as a single mom, Jen. Anyone that’s out there and thinking, “Oh, I want to start a business and I want to be successful and I want to be an involved parent and…” you can do it. I want to share that it’s so possible. I started The Rayvan Group, which is my nonprofit consulting firm, in 2009.

JM: So not that long.

JR: Not that long ago. I was a reduction in force though. That means the economy crashed at that time, I was asked to layoff my staff. Six months later I was laid off.

JM: Ouch.

JR: I know it wasn’t pretty but truth be told, I curled up into that fetal position, I drank a lot of wine, and I ate a lot of pizza all by myself.

JM: It’s therapeutic.

JR: It is very therapeutic. I thought, “I’ve got to make this work.” Now both of my parents are very entrepreneurial. My dad was a landscape architect and my mom did a little bit of everything including owning a high-end gift beautique, so entrepreneur runs in my blood.

JM: Through and through.

JR: It is through and through. In my DNA, I joke and I say, “I’m very familiar about growing up and eating spam one month and steak the next.

JM: That’s why we say, I’m like, “Well, if we have to go back to eating beans out of can, it will be fine, we’ve done it before.”

JR: Right, “We’ve done it before, we’ve been there before.”

JM: True entrepreneurial spirit.

JR: That’s right. It totally is. Truly at the time, I thought, “Okay, I have a skill set, I’d already achieved my masters in business administration. I am employable.” But at that time, there weren’t a lot of nonprofits that were really seeking to add to their team because the economy was down.

One of my professors, because I was getting my MBA, he said to the classroom, “Once you have your MBA, you’ll never ever, ever become an employee.” I thought, “What the heck is this guy saying?” He goes, “You simply become self-employed,” so literally, I think the answer came to me half a bottle into that wine, half a pizza into that box, and it was like a light bulb of this professor and I thought, “That’s it. I’m going to start The Rayvan Group.”

Rayvan is my middle name and I always knew that I wanted the group to be bigger than me, myself, and I. But truth be told, for the first couple of years, it really was me, myself, and I. In 2015 was really when I kicked my butt into gear. I mentioned single mom, so I had my son in 2010 and so there were some like squirrel moments when that’s like funny objects of a full-time job. I know, you laugh because it’s so true.

JM: We’d come along and that looks attractive.

JR: Yes, it seems like, “Oh, I can do this, I can do this J-O-B,” and the truth is I’m a really bad employee because I have opinions and strategies.

JM: We joke that we’re unemployable now. My husband and I are both self-employed and we’ve got three businesses between us so we joke that we are unemployable now.

JR: Right, oh, I know. What really did it for me honestly was to look at my revenue, get to know your numbers no matter if your numbers are negative, if your net is negative then get to know your numbers and get to know—I live through inspiration—so get to know what inspires you or what motivates you, map that out in a strategy. That’s exactly what I did. Oh, by the way, I wrote a book called Inspired Actions, I mean that was gosh, it’s been a couple of years ago.

JM: Do you sleep, Jarrett? I don’t know how you do it all, you’re like, “I want to write a book,” which actually I have seen and read and you’ve got a really cool deck of cards, you’ve got some great content. It’s always interesting to me when somebody who’s been through a lot of challenges creates something like that where you are wanting to inspire and support other people. I think it’s easy to get bitter and beaten down and frustrated and you have got some great content. It’s good stuff.

JR: Yeah. I say this because I live everyday through inspiration. If my business, my service line, my customers, or my market is not inspiring me, it’s time for me to take ownership and make a shift like it’s time for me to figure out in my business strategically, what inspires me? What do I love to do? What motivates me? Because that’s where I want to focus my time. I will tell you, that is how I ramped up to six figures is I really got clear on what my inspiration was, I really got clear on taking those inspired actions, creating a business plan around that. I hired a business coach. I really just started having these conversations with some high level entrepreneurs that also took their jobs and their career seriously not as a hobby. I’m super glad to say this, I’ve employed several women along the way, so not only is this me and my family that I’m taking care of, there are other women and parts of the economy that I’m able to contribute to and I love that.

JM: I love that. I love that too. I think that’s incredible that you’ve been so intentional about supporting other people’s lives. I do think it’s very easy as entrepreneurs sometimes for us to become wrapped up on our own challenges and the rat race and sometimes forget that people are depending on us and that has always been an important value to me as well.

I want to take one second and just unpack everything you just said because holy Lord, there were so much wisdom and you were just like, “Oh, I did this and I did this,” and I’m like, “Whoa, people want to know about this.” Two things really stuck out to me. Something that I think is very interesting is the concept of staying inspired and I am having this conversation over and over. If I look back at season one interviews for the Catalyst Conversations podcast, one of the things that comes up all the time is how important it is to stay inspired. Being inspired and being purpose driven attracts people to us. It resonates with the right people, it creates that emotional attachment. It does feel like it’s difficult sometimes when the tank is empty, the tank is empty and I think it just goes back to how important it is to create space so that you have time to think and listen to your intuition and inner guidance and think about the things that you are doing that are bringing you fulfillment and being able to leverage that. But staying inspired is so important because it does attract the right people and it makes that process a little easier.

I’ve talked to so many women who have said the same thing, as soon as they weren’t feeling that anymore, it was time to make a big change, it was time to do a 180, it’s either, “I needed to adjust my audience. I needed to adjust the services. There were things that I just was not loving anymore.” I think sometimes, money is super important, I spent so much of my career being nice and I want to help everyone and they can’t afford it, I’m not really sure that I can justify what I should be charging so I’m going to give it away like all the stupid s*** that goes through your head when you are a new entrepreneur and now I’m like money, like money talks b******* walks like the money is what you’re going to use to impact the causes that you care about, money is what it takes to take care of your family and have a lifestyle that honors who you are. Really focusing on that success and staying inspired through that entire process and making the changes that need to be made along the way so that all happens.

The other thing I want to point out is that you got help. I think that is so important because many times I think especially as women entrepreneurs, we try to do everything alone. I don’t know where this comes from, I know for me like I have this amazing husband, he is awesome, he is supportive, he is a cool guy. For some reason he does dishes and laundry almost exclusively in our household, like we’ve got this really nice division of the household responsibilities. But for some reason I have this like self-imposed expectation that I’m supposed to do everything, I should do all of the cleaning, I should do all of the shopping, the cooking, and remember the birthdays and the cupcakes to go to school like all the crazy things.

JR: Yeah, I don’t have that.

JM: I’m so happy for you. I think you have to get to this place where not only in your home but at work, you have to be able to get the help and support that you need and it did take me a while to find. I have my A-team and anyone who’s listened to a few of the podcast in this season, I talk frequently about what I call my A-team and my A-team is my CPA, it’s my wealth advisor, it’s my therapist, it’s my coach, so even though I’m coaching and consulting with women entrepreneurs, I have my person that can see from the outside in at the obvious things that I’m missing.

You have to have that help, you have to have that support, and you have to have a support system of like-minded people who get what you’re going through. Like you said it’s like you reach out to these high level successful entrepreneurs and you’re talking to them about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. I think the fastest way to success is to surround yourself with the kinds of people that have achieved what you want to achieve. I know that’s kind of an old adage and there are different quotes and versions of that concept floating around out there. But it’s so true like coming from a nuclear family, growing up of people who experienced scarcity and lack and had some interesting thoughts about money, I had to relearn that money is just a tool, that money is not good, money is not bad, there is plenty of it to go around, but I had to start spending more time in nice places to get comfortable being in them and want to be in them and seek them out. I had to spend more time with people who had already accomplished, got to where I wanted to go and then suddenly it’s like you can see it. Then you can visualize it so that you can actually go out, do it, and manifest it. There is some really, really good advice there. I just want to make sure we unpack that.

You mentioned doing this as a single mom, balance I think is this crazy myth, speaking of this crazy self-imposed expectations, how did you make that all work?

JR: I had to, first of all. There was no other option, I have to. But I have an A-team as well and a lot of the players were the same players that you mentioned and A for me also means Authenticity; who are my authentic friends that I can go to. When they say, “Hey, Jarrett, how are you?” they really mean how are you.

JM: Like what’s really going on.

JR: Totally, what’s under the surface, and they are ready for tears, they are ready for hugs, they’re ready for whatever I need. But truth be told, I have a house cleaner, I have a landscaper, I order my groceries online, I pick them up after I pick my son up from school, I do crock pot meals and simple things like that, and self-care. Self-care and self-love is so critical, I think, for everyone not just women but really for everyone, so making sure that I take that time to stay sane for me so that I can show up first and foremost for my son and then of course for my clients and community and friends. That’s really how I do it.

When the weather is great in Arizona, I’m very active outside, hiking, mountain biking, camping, we do a lot of camping out to nature and that’s really what keeps my balance. I always know when I’m [inaudible 00:21:13] so that’s really what helps me to keep my household and my business running successfully simultaneously.

JM: Making sure that you’re making that time. You guys are always out doing something too. You have like the best Instagram which is one of those Instagrams that I can scroll, scroll through and I’m stuck in the office having one of those days, I’m like, “Oh, that’s nice.” We’re kind of more glamping family than a camping family but I always think like, “Oh, that looks nice, we should do that, we should go there.”

JR: Wow, if you ever want to try it, you are welcome to join us. We have so much fun.

JM: We should do it, we just need to find a place that has like showers and toilets, that’s the only thing I ask—I’m not too much of a diva, I’m a semi-diva—and wine. Wine, toilets and showers.

JR: We can do that. We can make that happen.

JM: It’s the minimum criteria and I need to know that there’s a target not too far away.

JR: Oh, gosh.

JM: Anyway, so tell me more about that time in your life when, here you’ve got this young child, I know your son is around, at the time of this recording, the same age as my younger son so he’s eight I think right now, right?

JR: Yes, he is. He’s eight.

JM: It’s nice because they get to this age where they are a little bit more self-sufficient in some ways but I just think like, “Oh, my gosh, how do you do that when they’re young and so dependent?” I know from talking with you that there was some big cross-country moves in there, tell me a little bit about that time and what was happening and how you got through that?

JR: Yeah, I moved cross-country so back to my home state of South Carolina when I was about six months pregnant and then we moved back to Arizona when my son, at that time, was about six months old because I just realized like, I moved to South Carolina to be closer to my family, my parents in particular, but it wasn’t my tribe or my village of support. I fell into a really bad depression. I’ve struggled with depression for several years. It wasn’t feeding my soul, South Carolina, and that area, and that environment was not feeding my soul.

Even though I don’t have any family here in the state of Arizona, I have chosen family, my friends have become my family and my A-team, my authentic people have really just been lifesavers, truly lifesavers for me. I actually share some of that story in my book Inspired Action, truly where I struggled so much with depression that I didn’t know if I was going to get out of it. I know it sounds super cliche and so many of us have heard this before, but it’s like you look at your child and you think you have to do this for them and as an infant, truly like I would go to work, I laughed because work was easy, work was a piece of cake, and this was, I mean is J-O-B.

JM: Compared to parenting.

JR: Yeah, oh completely. Not my career like what I wanted to do for myself. I am talking a J-O-B, I’m an employee. That was easy. I showed up, I drank coffee, I did some emails, and I came home and that was the hardest job I had. But looking at him and in his eyes and his face, it was like nothing matters, nothing else matters other than this little child right now. I’m really big on resilience and I’m really big on grit. It’s like digging into where do you want to go and how do you grow and overcoming those obstacles while staying positive. Because it’s so easy for us to fall into victim mentality but the reality is we all play a part.

JM: It’s so true, really looking at what it is that you are contributing to your situation. Also I want to applaud you for talking openly about experiencing depression, just as a quick side note, I come from a nuclear family of drug and alcohol addiction, mental illness, and depression. I’ve experienced severe anxiety. I mean, looking at you from the outside like so pulled together, so polished, so successful, and to know that you’re dealing with that stuff or have dealt with that stuff too is so important to let people know you are not alone, and that you are not the only one, and absolutely you can overcome. You had to get the support and the help that you need to do but absolutely it’s not something to hold you back so thank you for sharing that.

JR: Yeah. Also about that Jen, thank you because I know that when I show up, I am confident and I am poised, and people think I do have my s*** together but the truth is I still struggle with anxiety and depression, a little more anxiety these days than depression.

JM: I’m familiar .

JR: Yeah, but there are days like I didn’t want to get out of that. They are days I did not want to go hiking which I know feeds my soul. It’s real but you are not alone for sure. I’m always open about that because I think if we keep it closed up inside, then other people think, “Oh, it’s taboo,” and it’s not, it’s not taboo at all.

JM: Yeah, absolutely. I know for me that when I stay quiet about it or when I isolate, it wins. It’s like for me, it’s being open and honest about what is happening at the time and what’s going on and definitely sharing that with people who need that support. Tell me some of your best nonprofit tips, another big question for you.

JR: Another big question so I can talk for hours.

JM: You know what? We’ll have to do this again. I just feel like I could just keep talking to you and like getting great ideas from you, but tell me your top two or three tips, for anyone listening who might be in leadership in a nonprofit and maybe they’re struggling with their strategy like you mentioned before and they are having a hard time really communicating their purpose and developing their sense of community, what are some of those common challenges that you see on regular basis and what’s some of the advice that you would give to them?

JR: Definitely create a strategy. I’m not talking about strategic plan that sits on a shelf and collects dust like I’m talking create a strategy that is going to work for you and your nonprofit. Then get a coach like have someone to hold you accountable, to challenge you, to call you on your b*******, someone that’s going to say, “Hey, Jen, you said you were going to call this donor and did you do it? Where are we on that?” Because it’s so easy to get lost in a non profit. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small nonprofit or a multi-million dollar nonprofit like there are so many moving pieces.

You can look at your fundraising, my two main genius zones are strategy and fundraising like those are my two main real [helpers 00:28:03]. I have worked with so many executive directors, founders, CEOs, and development directors to create their own personal strategy and to work with them as their executive coach, to hold them accountable, to push them, to educate them. That’s my streams, I love to coach, facilitate, and to [inaudible 00:28:34] and educate and so really just embodying the “teach a man to fish.”

Without a strategy, whether it’s a nonprofit strategy or your own personal goal strategy, you are not going to get that far because your message will be diluted, a board member will throw an event on your plate and you’ll say, “Yes,” and it’s like, that stuff happens.

JM: That’s the nonprofit way, never say no.

JR: That’s right. It’s like, “We have a potential of raising some money, but what’s the return on investment?” Go back and prepare a strategy.

JM: Right, what’s the cost? I think so many times, both in my social media company and now with catalyst working with nonprofit leaders or within nonprofit organizations, so many times that focuses on the dollar, which isn’t wrong, it’s a necessity like it’s a fact of life but I think so many times, we’re not really stopping and thinking about the opportunity cost, not the financial cost versus a financial gain which is important, but also really looking at, “How many people does that take? How many hours will this be? What else could we be working on instead and would that be generating either more financially, intellectual property, branding, content, or moving toward any of our other objectives that we’re working on?” It’s very, very good advice.

JR: Yeah, absolutely. That’s my genius zone and I love helping them create their strategy for that. That’s the one take away whether you are starting brand new or you are already established like make sure you go back and you go to your strategy, is it serving you and invest you? Is it inspiring you? Are you motivated to do that?

JM: Absolutely, and are you able to keep your team inspired?

JR: If  you’re fortunate enough to have one.

JM: Right, exactly, hopefully. Some kind of team volunteers. You mentioned finding a coach, specifically, you talk a lot about coaching around strategy and fundraising. If a nonprofit is listening, dollars are scarce and if you do come across money, it feels like it should be going back to a program participant, it should be going back to the mission, so I think for a nonprofit to really feel like they can invest in spending money, there has to be this return, what advice would you give or what questions would you have them asked if they are vetting coaches?

Let’s say nonprofit is like, “Gosh, we have limited resources but we know if we don’t reinvest here, this is not going to be sustainable into the future so we’re going to go ahead and spend the money on a coach, we’re going to have somebody come in and consult with us,” what are some of the questions that you would advise them to ask or how do they know that they are really going to get what they need? Because I know you are in this industry that has some similarities to what I do both with social media, branding, and business consulting and that consultants feel like a diamond dozen when you’re the buyer, they are everywhere. Sometimes just because somebody has sharp branding or a nice-looking website doesn’t mean that they know what they are doing or if that they’re going to be able to come in and help you, especially in the nonprofit world, or if you are for-profit and you are a startup or if you are in a sales trench, gosh, spending that money can be so hard. What would you tell them to do to make sure that they are actually hiring someone that’s going to further their mission?

JR: Yeah. First of all, definitely see it as building your infrastructure because investing in your infrastructure and really creating your sustainability is critical because too often, especially nonprofits, we [throw of something, stuck on the wall 00:31:54] and we hope it sticks and then we throw something else six months later and then something else six months after that and we are not tracking our trending or analyzing anything that we’ve done and anything that has worked and hasn’t worked.

JM: That’s huge.

JR: Yeah, huge. Knowing that you are developing your infrastructure, I am a big one on, “Is this person the right fit for us like culturally, our personality and care to life?” Because there are tons of us out there and I, too, of interviewing you to see like is this an organization that I can get behind? Especially with nonprofits, I’d say, “Ask the consultant what mission are you both passionate about,” because I’ll tell you, I don’t work a lot with faith-based organizations, I [inaudible 00:32:44] the majority of my work with human services, so that’s really my focus. We do have some clients in the arts but again the majority of my work is within that basic-need community.

If you are working for someone that has another niche, there are other consultants that have that focus that could be the same focus as you. Then ask your consultant have they been in your shoes before like I mentioned when I started my company it was 2009, I was running a twenty-one-million-dollar operating nonprofit as their chief development officer. I’ve been in their shoes, I’d asked for a major gift, I have one capital campaign.

JM: You are not asking anybody to do anything you haven’t already done yourself, I mean, that’s huge, that’s a big deal.

JR: That’s huge, and to make sure that you are not clinging in a simple [inaudible 00:33:34] or anyone that just wants to teach it and has not been on the flip side of it because I really think that is huge.

JM: That’s excellent advice. Interesting little thing that you mentioned in there that I keep hearing from more and more of the women entrepreneurs that I really love that are very accomplished, it also comes down to the questions that they ask you, this has come up several times for me in interviews and some of the webinars and classes that I have been teaching, but so many of the service providers say it’s important as a buyer to ask certain questions and get comfortable but so many times, the things that we are asking, we’re kind of coming from our perspective and it’s usually around resources and human capital, “I don’t have time to do this, are you going to take care of this? What are the things that you do? What is the process? How much is it to going to cost? How long is it going to take?”

I just had this conversation with Brandy Lawson, who you know, of FieryFX yesterday in a class that we taught together and that’s great.

JR: I was in it.

JM: Oh, yeah, you’re there. But so many times, we think from that perspective about the questions that we’re asking but it’s also super important to pay attention sometimes to just being quiet and seeing what they’re asking us. They should relatively quickly want to sort of get into the driver’s seat and tell you, “This is the process, this is how it goes, this is what I recommend and why, this is how we have done it,” and then they should want to know, “What’s your mission? What are you trying to accomplish? What is working and what is not? What have you tried before?” They should be asking you questions that show that they’ve done this a lot and they really know how to get to the heart of what you are trying to do. I just wanted to put a finer point on that. I think it’s great advice as a buyer, especially when you are looking at purchasing a service, making sure that you are paying attention to what that supposed expert is asking you and really just kind of seeing how that differs, the compare and contrast between different service providers. I feel like that makes it really obvious when somebody’s worth the results.

JR: Yeah, I think that’s a great point.

JM: Thank you so much, Jarrett. This has been super, super enlightening. I have not talked to a lot of nonprofit experts for the podcast and so I think that this is really valuable information. I’m sure that there are listeners that would want to reach out to you, how can they get a hold of you?

JR: Yeah, check out my new website, it’s That links also to my business, The Rayvan Group, that I mentioned [for the event 00:36:09] 2009 and will also link to my book so if you are interested in taking some inspired action in your own life, there is that too. Check me out. Instagram is @nonprofit_nerd. Check out my handle on Instagram there.

JM: It’s such good stuff too so definitely check it out and if you’re listening and you’re really like in your car driving or you are listening while you are doing dishes, go to my website because we have show notes for every episodes so you can hop in there and you can find Jarrett’s episode in the show notes, you can read the transcript—sometimes, oddly, I like to read, maybe it just feels like a lost luxury to just read instead of listen or watch something anywhere these days but if you’re a reader, it’s there. But we also link to all of our guest’s websites and social media so if you go to, you can feel free to reach out to me.

You can contact me that way but you can also go to the Blog and Podcast tab in the navigation and you can find Jarrett’s episode and we will link to her there as well. If you’re a nonprofit leader or if you’re just a fan girl like me and you think Jarrett’s cool because she’s awesome, reach out, I’m sure she would love to hear from you. Jarrett, thank you so much, you are the best. I loved talking with you.

JR: You’re welcome. Thanks, Jen.

JM: Have a great day.

JR: You too, bye.