Nerding Out with The Nonprofit Nerd

Nerding Out with The Nonprofit Nerd

August 12, 2021
43 minutes

Jarrett Ransom · Founder and CEO, The Rayvan Group and Co-host of The Nonprofit Show | Jarrett Ransom, aka The Nonprofit Nerd, is the Founder and CEO of nonprofit coaches The Rayvan Group and co-host of The Nonprofit Show. And today, Nonstop Nonprofit is bringing the show to her.


Finally, Justin Wheeler, Funraise CEO and Co-founder and bad-ass fundraiser, met his match. This podcast guest is someone so invested in nonprofits, so into impact, so devoted to the sector, that he was barely able to scrape the surface of the topics on his agenda. Jarrett Ransom, aka The Nonprofit Nerd, is the Founder and CEO of nonprofit coaches The Rayvan Group and co-host of The Nonprofit Show. And today, Nonstop Nonprofit is bringing the show to her.

Justin prepares for every podcast and brings with him an agenda—points to hit and questions to ask—but Jarrett blew his agenda out of the water with compelling arguments, perspective shifts, and just straight-up data. It's clear that she's on the cutting-edge of nonprofit trends and she's used to these types of trailblazing topics.

Subjects on deck today: identifying our biggest challengers, using history to inform the future, women in philanthropy, corporate competition, and—buzzword alert!—nonprofit sustainability, capacity building, and infrastructure. Oh, and cute stories of kids' generosity, of course.

This is gonna be fast, furious, and full of unicorn moments, so buckle in and listen as Jarrett and Justin nerd out about the good, the bad, and the future of the nonprofitsphere.


Hello, I'm Justin Wheeler, and welcome to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit!

Y’all, today I met my match. Today’s podcast guest is someone so invested in nonprofits, so into impact, so devoted to the sector, that we barely scraped the surface of the topics on our agenda. Jarrett Ransom, aka The Nonprofit Nerd, is the Founder and CEO of nonprofit coaches The Rayvan Group and co-host of The Nonprofit Show. And today, Nonstop Nonprofit is bringing the show to her.

I go into every podcast prepared with an agenda—points to hit and questions to ask—but Jarrett blew my agenda out of the water with compelling arguments, perspective shifts, and just straight-up data. It’s clear that she’s on the cutting-edge of nonprofit trends and she’s used to these types of trailblazing topics.

Subjects on deck today: identifying our biggest challengers, using history to inform the future, women in philanthropy, corporate competition, and—buzzword alert!—nonprofit sustainability, capacity building, and infrastructure. Oh, and our kids, of course.

This is gonna be fast, furious, and full of unicorn moments, so buckle in and listen as Jarrett and I nerd out about the good, the bad, and the future of the nonprofitsphere.

Justin Wheeler Jarrett, welcome to the Nonstop Nonprofit podcast, how are you doing?

Jarrett Ransom Hey, I'm really good. Thanks for having me.

Justin Wheeler Awesome. As we kind of jump into the podcast today before we dive too far in, I'd love if you could just tell us about yourself and how you got involved in the nonprofit industry.

Jarrett Ransom Yeah, absolutely. So I would say I got involved by default. So I really was raised by very generous parents. And my mom in particular had my brother and I both really engaged in our community. We grew up in a small town outside of Columbia, South Carolina, and we were just really committed to our community as well as our community members. So, you know, we were baking cookies and wrapping presents and making donations and, you know, of in-kind gifts in particular. And then we were doing like litter cleanups and pickups as a kid. And I just truly loved that. I loved the spirit of engagement. I love the spirit of civic connection and that really planted the seed of my nonprofit lifestyle, but really just evolved me as a global citizen. And so by default, but I really got into fundraising, and here's the best part there is I did the breast cancer three-day walk with my mom. So after years of selling Girl Scout cookies, knocking on doors for cheerleading and soccer camps and you name it, then I really moved into professional fundraising and I loved it. I loved it. And so I was like, I think there is a career to be had here. So that's what got me into fundraising. And it's been a really fun journey.

Justin Wheeler That's awesome. And so much so that you're referred to as The Nonprofit Nerd. So unpack that for us. Why are you The Nonprofit Nerd?

Jarrett Ransom Well, let me grab my props, right, so my undergrad is mass communication and theater, so, yes, there's a bit of thespian in me but my nonprofit nerd glasses, and the reason I call myself that is truly because I find myself nerding out over this topic. Until I like to say, you're blue in the face because chances of me turning blue in the face over this topic is very, very rare. And so I just I love it. I love talking about how do we build sustainable business models? How do we scale our programs as well as our rock star talent and the impact of our service. So all of that's just really fun and it also lends to my personality. So it complements the mug, the rainbow unicorn mug, but it also just complements the, like, fun style that I like to bring to the work that we do, because oftentimes we do very serious work, very crisis-driven kind of reaction work. And I do find that bringing some levity in is a lot of fun. So when it comes to branding and who I am, it's like, yeah, I am Jarrett, I am president and CEO of The Rayvan Group, but I'm also your Nonprofit Nerd.

Justin Wheeler So the challenge is officially accepted. And I think we need to set up a challenge where we just keep talking about fundraising and whoever stops loses. So I think we're going to have to...

Jarrett Ransom It's just like that blinking game. Who's gonna blink first.

Justin Wheeler Exactly. Exactly. So you also have a more corporate title as a CEO and president of The Rayvan Group, which is all about helping nonprofits build and scale their businesses. So talk to us a little bit about that and what you're doing on that side of the nonprofit stratosphere.

Jarrett Ransom Right. Yeah, I'd love to. Thank you. So 2009, I started my fundraising consultancy and that also was by default. I was impacted by being a reduction in force. And so I was asked to lay off my team. At that time, I was chief development officer of a $21M dollar operating budget, so laid off my team. I was also in my 20s and that really impacted me emotionally and just spiritually of going through the motions of making these decisions that are very, very impactful of everyone's life. And then six months later, I got the hatchet and I was laid off. So I was like, oh my gosh, what do I do? Right. Gratefully, also, my very generous parents were entrepreneurs, so I have ridden, ridden or rode somebody please correct me this roller coaster of entrepreneurial life. Right, as as a young child. So I started The Raven Group. Then I really started to be honest as a grant writer, because at that time in that economic crisis, Grant still needed to be managed. They still needed to be reported. They still needed to be written, just like we experienced most recently during our Covid-19 impact. Right. There was so many emergency grants that became available. There were so many foundations and corporate social responsibility departments that started giving away money through grant avenues. So I started really namely, I should say, as a grant writer. Over time my personality was like, you've got to get away from this. So I've pivoted well before the word pivot became cool and now not so full, well before Friends. Like I'm pretty sure I should be the one getting the royalties. So yeah. So now I do a lot more coaching. I do executive coaching, I do strategic planning. And that's a year long, very methodical process with me. And then I also cohost The Nonprofit Show, which is a live daily webcast. And so I like to as I say, I, I play well with others. I share toys. Right. And I really, really love to be of service in a lot of different avenues. And the other way that I haven't shared yet is I come in during big transition, so I come in to serve as your interim CEO, CDO or COO. So chief executive officer, chief development officer or chief operating officer. And so those I've moved from like, hey, let's write grants, let's put food on the table, not only yours, but mine. And then really into like, what is that I love to do? Where's my genius? Where do I feel is like my superpower? So, yeah.

Justin Wheeler Well, your superpower seems to also be in raising money. You've raised $86M dollars. How have you done that?

Jarrett Ransom You know, there is a knack to raising money and I hope that will dive into this because I think we talked about this on a preliminary conversation, but it's really about getting out of your own way when it comes to your own money story. Right. And so I coach and teach that practice and method often with my clients, because whether we're attending, or sorry, I should say, whether we are planning a gala, we tend, I have found, we tend to really shop with our budget and we need to shop with the donor budget, the supporters budget. So a lot of the techniques that I use and coach with not only the board of directors, but just the nonprofit leaders in general is really about getting out of our own way. Let's create that big picture. You know, if money wasn't an issue, what would you ask for? If money wasn't an issue, where would we be in 10 years? Right. And so really creating that picture, let's visualize it. Let's do a little bit of manifestation. But then let's also find our roadblocks of where are we putting roadblocks in our way like we are often our biggest challenger and competitor. So, yeah, there's a lot of that that I talk about. OK, let's just identify what is our opportunity and possibility and where might we be cutting ourselves short. So could be grants, and I'm big on diversifying your revenue streams, could be grants, could be earned income, it could be individual donors, which as we know, she'll be the majority of the pie. But there's so many different ways to bring in revenue. And I preach all the time about diversified revenue streams, but sustainability. So those are a couple of the ways and how I've helped to raise over $86M dollars. There's a couple of capital campaigns in there too. So those are like really big, big hauls and successes. So it's been a lot of fun over the years

Justin Wheeler in regards to sustainable revenue for nonprofits. Sorry, I hear a lot of leaders talk about the nonprofit market, it's different. You can't build sustainable revenue. You can have obviously a strong recurring donor program. But at the end of of the day, we're reliant on donor's generosity. So how do you help organizations become more confident in building sustainable revenue for it for the organizations?

Jarrett Ransom You know, I hate to say this, but I find all too often that organizations are really falling short when it comes to measuring their previous year's success. So when I come in and I'm like, hey, let's start out. Are you ready? Get your glasses. Let's do this together. Let's see who turns blue in the face first. It's really about what have you tracked from previous years? Right. Let's look at what's been tracked. What are your trending revenue-generating areas? Where are you losing money? Where might you be leaving money on the table? What's working for you and how how long can we ride that wave? And then also really just identifying, OK, based off of here's what your history tells us. And again, these are numbers. So if you have a really phenomenal CRM, that helps. Right. So a client relationship management tool, that really helps. So bringing in these elements of what are the facts and what are the numbers from previous years? Where is it we want to go, which is back to like, hey, if money wasn't an issue and then how do we gap that, right? How do we gap that? And when I talk about gapping, I also talk about who do we have at our table are let's just consider we're all sitting around the table and talking about I'll take on this job and that responsibility in this task and so on and so what. So really moving into do we have the right people? Do we have the right champions. Do we have the right board members? Do we have the right rock star talent? Do we have the right volunteers? And so when it comes to that gap, right, it's really identifying what models have you used? Consistency is usually the other thing that's lacking. Right. I find too often organizations, they don't know their numbers and their past history and they also rarely do anything consistently. So that really helps us to identify. OK, let's now identify where is it we want to go so that we can grow to that next level to see what is it we need to do next. So there's a couple of tips and techniques for the way I work with my clients. Also very customizable, right? Because I want to work with the systems and the tools that they have and that they need for their size and scope, because I think that's also very important.

Justin Wheeler Got it. That makes a lot of sense and agree. You know, like we get stuck on this idea of the only way to have predictable revenue is for it to be recurring, which, you know, definitely a good revenue stream to grow and to own. But I love the focus on sort of your historical as in your performance, like what is our average growth year over year? What could we expect? What can be forecast? Take out the anomalies and build a strong budget based off of historicals? I think that's a great way to approach being confident around a sustainable revenue for the organization.

Jarrett Ransom One of the things I did, and I would love to just drop this in the, is I did really a grant assessment with a client. So what was their grant history so focused only on grant dollars? What was their grant history? How many were they submitting? How many were they winning? What was the average ask amount and what was the average award amount and truly we created a strategy, which I wish I had the numbers right in front of me, but it really like doubled their impact. And I'm talking financial impact because we actually reduced the amount of grants that we submitted. We increased the ask amount. Right. And that made all the difference in the world. So our award rate went up, meaning we received more yeses from our applications or proposals. We were submitting less, but we were receiving a higher return on investment. So we were reducing some cost when it came to staff time or consultancy time and really seeing a positive impact by that slight tweak. And that's just one example of what's been successful.

Justin Wheeler I love the approach of, you know, there's always different variables or levers that can be pulled to increase efficiency or ROI. And when we do when we look at sort of online revenue, specifically revenue being generated from your website, you know, a lot of people think, oh, we just need to spend more money on ads or we need to acquire more traffic. But if you look at well, there's some other variables to look at the average donation size. How do we increase the average gift size coming in through our website? Yes, you can increase top of funnel or you can also just increase your conversion rate by having a better website, better technology, making it more user-friendly. So lots of different levers to pull across revenue channels. And so I haven't really thought about it from a grant perspective before. So I love that story. OK, so I want to talk about a couple. There's a couple of different sort of like subtopics we're going to talk about today, because when you and I spoke I think it was about a month ago, I walked away from the conversation, just very excited to get you on the podcast and to talk about a few different things. And so the one of the topics is women in philanthropy. And, you know, when you think about the, if you take a step back and think about the nonprofit sector, we know it has this mandate to create impact, right? To be on the cutting edge of change. But there still seems to be some pretty big gaping problems in the nonprofit industry, specifically as it relates to women in leadership, pay and so forth. And so just like to from your perspective, if you can talk about what you're seeing, what you've experienced, why is this such an issue still today in an industry that is supposed to be focused on changing the world?

Jarrett Ransom Oh, my gosh. As it take a deep breath, right? There's a lot in that statement. So I do believe that the rise in women in philanthropy is now. It has been happening, but it is now right? Like currently, women control more of the financial pie than ever before. We also, we women typically inherit twice, right? So that's from our parents and then from our partners. We also are giving around $6.3 billion. That's with a B, billion dollars of charity. And that was that's a number from 19. So women are giving and making upwards of $6.3 Billion. This is collective. And we women make up about 47% of the nation's top wealth holders. And that's really we are talking about $2M dollars in assets and above. So that's kind of the threshold that I was pulling the numbers from. And by the way, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, they've got some phenomenal stats when it comes to this and some of those came from there. So I do want to source and reference Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. So there is a movement happening, right? Like it is in the works. And I really, again, just believe that the rise in women in philanthropy is now. Many women are working right alongside their male partner and their male counterpart. Maybe when it comes to these intimate relationships whereas before and I can even look at my parents, right. My mom stayed home. She was the caretaker. I mean, she was the vice president of my dad's business, but she really stayed home and that was her domain. Was homemaker, raise the children. Be there for pickup's. Thank you, Mom. You took me like many years of soccer and gymnastics and cheerleading, and we really burned the rubber when it came to to the car rides. But so that is happening, right? Like that is happening now. And so we have a lot more increased ability, right. To make these decisions. When you look at our staff, I'm going to say the majority of the nonprofit sector is led, and I don't have that statistic, but led predominantly by females, right? So women identifying as women are individuals identifying as women. However, I still see and this is the makeup that I still see is most of our board members are male. So I'm seeing there's a gap there, right, so the board of directors, this body of governing individuals are still predominantly male. The staff in particular, I'm still seeing predominantly women. And then I'm also seeing that shift, as I talked about, and so nerd-ily shared the statistics about the rise in wealth for women. So there is a lot going on when we talk about levers., There's a lot of levers being pulled and twisted. It's kind of like the old twist it, pull it, bop it. Like a lot of that happening right now. But I do think it's really cool. And the other thing I know about women is women tend to sprinkle their wealth among various causes and missions where men tend to go deeper with one, two, maybe even three philanthropic causes. So that's kind of shifting our sector and our community at large right now. But when we talk about gaps, there's still, there's huge gaps, right? There's pay gaps that are still happening. And I preach right alongside so many others that we are a workforce and we are a large workforce in the nonprofit sector, makes up a huge workforce in our nation. But to retain the talent, I really think we need to pay competitive wages. And I'm not talking nonprofit competitive wages right? So having our salary on job descriptions, having that change in our culture is phenomenal, right? Like, let's have an equitable practice that shares here is a CEO position or any position to be honest, and here is the salary range. That helps us close that gap. So there's a lot of best practices that can really be implemented. And I also believe that it comes with a culture of transparency, a culture of communication, that we openly talk about this within our team. So internal team, board team, stakeholder team. So when we do push out any job description, we are sharing that salary range to help close that gap.

Justin Wheeler So many things to kind of remark on here. It's so good. So actually, I think it came top of mind. A couple of things. In regards to the percentage or the dollar amount coming to charities from women. Yeah, I think it's important to note Mackenzie Scott just obviously made a huge contribution to several charities. I think she but added a couple more billion to that number. But what I love about her giving strategy is it's unencumbered, it's without strings attached. She gave hundreds of millions of dollars to a few different nonprofits last week where it had not a single restriction tied to it. And I don't know why this is the case, but I feel like this is going to definitely set the bar high for other philanthropists and funders because we should trust organizations to use the funds at the discretion where they think it's going to be most needed. I don't understand why that's such a hard concept to understand? And I love that Mackenzie has made such a strong statement with her giving. And so it's interesting to see how that impacts other philanthropists and so forth.

Jarrett Ransom I love that, too, and I'd love to just like piggyback on that before we move to the next one. So you said a lot of amazing things we should trust, right. The organization to do what's right with the donor dollars? I fully agree with that. And when we are able to have that, then we can start truly investing, as I call the rock star talent, because too often we have designated dollars that are only program-specific, right? Or restricted is the other word that's trying to come out. So when we receive dollars and we say it can only go to this designated fund and this program, you know, it's the chicken and the egg. You can't do the program without the people and you have to have the people to the programs and vice versa. So that donation by Mackenzie, it really sets the bar and I think sets the tone and challenges, both encourages and challenges, our philanthropist, right, to really consider how you make a gift and how you can truly trust the organization.

Justin Wheeler Absolutely. Something else you talked about is just sort of this competitive pay and not like competitive to nonprofits, but competitive to for-profits and alike, because we need top talent. We need the smartest and brightest people to be solving the world's hardest problems. I spoke with this leader at a nonprofit, she went through this exercise with her organization where she publicly posted internally to their team everyone's salary and compared it to for-profit in the states and the cities that they lived in, sort of like at an equal level of like if you were working in the nonprofit space, this is what you would get paid. And she took this, she made this for a couple different reasons one is for pay equity, wanted to ensure that the females on her team were being paid as much as the white men on her team, specifically iswhat she said. And then secondly was to show that, hey, like paying, like having competitive pay with a for-profit industry is absolutely critical. And we need to get over this frugle, poverty vao sort of mentality as nonprofit leaders.

Jarrett Ransom Scarcity.

Justin Wheeler Scarcity, exactly. Exactly. And so I think that bringing more attention, awareness to this type of conversation is important. I was talking to an individual yesterday who's been working the nonprofit all his life and has a family and can't even afford to stay in the nonprofit industry because they can't afford to provide for his family. So I think this is an important conversation, an important topic. So in your process, in working and coaching with executives, how much does this come up? How much do you have to really encourage organizations to pay more to focus, or invest more overhead? How much work is that on your end?

Jarrett Ransom All the time, right? And I will say the buzzword comes up with capacity building and infrastructure. And those are really the words that are really taking, I don't know, reign right now is let's invest in infrastructure. Let's invest in capacity building. I just helped an organization approve a seventy-five thousand dollar deficit budget that was intentional. There are two reasons you have a deficit budget. One, holy crap, what has happened, something's in trouble. Secondly is intentional. And this was by and far an intentional strategic move by the board. Right. And so truly, truly, it really was to increase their infrastructure. And so they are bringing on and an executive director, they're bringing on an executive to lead the organization to the next level. Now, we've educated the governing board. So now how do we take that and educate the stakeholders that invest in a deficit budget, right? So it really is about how do we narrate this? How do we share the narrative impact with, whether it's grants, or investors, or major donors? The other thing I love in our community is there are blank check donors, right? There are angel investors. There are blank check donors that will say whatever you need, you call me. And so this is a great opportunity to say we are investing in our infrastructure, we are investing in our people. We believe in equitable pay and practices. And it is so important, right alongside that. And I know I get super excited and I tend to like have this huge run-on sentence, but as a board member, right, so what we can do for our nonprofit community is as a board member, it is incumbent upon you to advocate for proper pay for competitive wages. It is incumbent of you to advocate for unrestricted dollars, right? And so when people say, well, what can I do? If you are on a review committee and you have the ability to educate the review committee on how you might be able to advise how that money is spent, this is a wonderful opportunity to really help to verbalize that narration of the importance so that we can see a little bit more competitive simulation between the for-profit and the nonprofit. Because we are running corporations, we are running really large corporations and we exist to solve the community problem. Right. So if you want to eradicate hunger, if you want to eradicate homelessness, right. Like you have to invest in the people that are doing just that. And I'll get off my soapbox. I might go down like a foot in height, but yeah, it's so important for all of us, not only those that work in the sector, but serve in this sector, it's so important.

Justin Wheeler And I think, you know, and what I'm seeing is, now more than ever, nonprofits are competing for corporation dollars like never before or consumer dollars, I should say, like never before, because as businesses and corporations are becoming more conscious of how to be a better player in the community's that they're in and so forth, they're starting to tackle big, important social problems. And, you know, they're well suited for it, honestly, with the sort of talent and resources that they have. So I think nonprofits need to take a long and hard look at sort of the way they prioritize capacity, the way that they prioritize their infrastructure so that they're not least because they're obviously uniquely positioned to solve the problem, I think better than a corporation, but they're still going inherently going to be this competition for consumer dollars as businesses become a lot more public about their social impact and so forth, which kind of leads me actually to the next kind of topic about time, talent and resources.

Jarrett Ransom Treasure!

Justin Wheeler Thank you. Treasure. Time, talent and treasure. So unpack that for us. What does that mean?

Jarrett Ransom That so that was a podcast. Vanessa Shaw is her name. She's a business growth strategist, and I've worked with her, but I've also seen her work with so many other amazing entrepreneurs. And so her podcast is Get Rich Without Being a Bitch. But I came on and I was a guest there to talk about how when women earn accrue, gain more wealth, oftentimes women are like embarrassed. We don't want to talk about it. We feel shade thrown at us from other people in particular are our peer, females. And so it's really about like how do we as women really use our wealth to do more good in our community? And so that is a topic of discussion that I am really immensely devoted to because I have done my own work of my childhood shadows and whatever we could get super woohoo if we wanted. But about what is my own money story, right? Like what is my money story? How has that impacted me with my own glass ceiling? And then also how I talk to donors to make investments into the community in particular, either the organizations I worked with or work with in the consultancy space. So it's really about, you know, how do we use our wealth for good and to be philanthropists? So the one thing I like to do first is like, let's define philanthropy, right? Because so many people think that it really is the million-dollar charitable donations that are made. But the definition of philanthropy is goodwill to fellow members of the human race. That's it. It doesn't say a dollar amount. It doesn't say how many zeros you need to put behind a number to be called a philanthropist, right? So going into that, we've got three ways of how we can give our philanthropy: time, talent and treasure. And those three T's are really known throughout our sector because we have time. And typically, the more earning you make, sometimes you might free up some time or you've got staff that has time, right? Like there's so many CSR, corporate social responsibility, efforts in corporations that say one day a month we want our staff to go volunteer. That's time, right? Talent. Maybe you are an accounting firm and you want to provide pro bono, your talent, to an organization and then treasure truly is typically associated with that financial contribution. So that is writing a check or making some kind of a planned gift. So time, talent and treasure are the three T's when it comes to philanthropy.

Justin Wheeler I feel like and correct me if I'm wrong, is it's harder for organizations to create strategies around time and talent because the treasure seems so concrete, right? It's like we need money in our bank account to do X, Y and Z, and so in your experience in working with organizations specifically around time and talent, how have you helped organizations understand the value, how important actually someone's time or talent could be to the actual mission of the organization?

Jarrett Ransom Great question. And I really think it depends on where the organization is in their life cycle, right. Like we all have a life cycle. So are they a startup or they growth or the maturity? Where are they and where could they best use extra hands on deck when it comes to time and talent? Because it could be cleaning up a playground, right. Or it could be working in their donor database. And there's so many applicable talent areas where maybe there is a business development professional that is really good and it's like their jam to work into a CRM system. Let's use that talent into our CRM system and see what works and how we might strategize to be a little bit more efficient. Now, these are a little think outside the box opportunities, which is who I am is The Nonprofit Nerd. I think outside the box because I love to ideate. Like, bring me solutions, not challenges because we are finding solutions. So really goes to that time and talent, right? Like what is it going back to the first of the conversation, where do you want to be in five years, ten years if money wasn't an issue and then we want to see truly if we can source what we need through time and talent. If money wasn't an issue, what is it you need? And let's source that.

Justin Wheeler From my own experience, and I spent a lot of time as a fundraiser building a couple different nonprofits, I've seen how talent being able to really optimize the talent from your supporters or donor base, whoever might be, actually has a direct impact on your fundraising ability. And as sort of an anecdote to that point, I remember an individual came into our like info box at an organization called Liberty In North Korea. And he was like, hey, like, I'm an engineer. I really care about this cause and I want to build something if there's a need for it. At the time we couldn't really think of anything. We didn't have like a checklist of things we needed for engineers to build. We spent some time overseas and we realized, you know, actually we could develop an application that would make our programs more efficient, more secure and more effective. So let's talk to this engineer. Fast forward talk to him. We built this application and it went on to also show a lot more transparency around where donor dollars were going as they were deployed to the field to fund our programs overseas. And that that's an example of like being able to use talent as an opportunity, as a gateway to raising more funds because it could open up a lot more opportunities and doors for you as an organization. But it does, you know, to your point, it does take time and focus to really think through, you know, where are we trying to go in three to five years? And how does this align to that and to those goals and to the vision.

Jarrett Ransom And who do we need, right? Like who do we need to play with us to help us go and grow? And that is a great story. I love that story and it's exactly perfect.

Justin Wheeler So as we kind of transition here, another question I'm excited to ask you about, we talked about this a little bit on our call, and it's about sort of the future generation. And I'm particularly interested, and as it relates to philanthropy, I'm particularly interested to this, and this couldn't have been more timely just last night, like I was putting my oldest son to sleep. And he's nine years old. And I noticed on his desk he had three jars. One said savings, one said spending and one said giving. And I mean, he knows where all the different organizations are involved in and so forth but we didn't prompt him to set this up. And so it I reminded me of a conversation we had on our call about just like the future generation of philanthropists. And so I know you have also a similar story. I would love to hear you share your story and kind of talk a little bit about how we can as leaders invest in this next generation.

Jarrett Ransom I think our sons would really get along. So I have I'm going to say 11, because in just here in a few days, he will be turning 11. And I am so very grateful for the ability to share my work of what I do in my community and again as a global citizen. So it's not just here in the Metro Phenix area. It is everywhere throughout the world. And there's been several opportunities where I've had the great pleasure and privilege to take my son with me, sometimes out of just sheer oh my gosh, I don't know what else to do with you right now. So you're coming with me, kid. Single mom, right, and so he's really he's been by my side a long time. There's so many stories in which I truly could share. And just like my mom planted the seed in me of giving my time to my community as a young child. Right. I really feel it's so important to plant the seeds of philanthropy to our children, whether you birthed them, raise them or not, like it is again incumbent upon us as citizens upon this Earth to demonstrate philanthropy to our younger generation. So, again, I don't care if you know it is your DNA or not, but really about demonstrating time, talent and treasure and how our younger generation can truly be a part of that and create their own plan. And we have seen so much impact happen through multiple generations of giving, right? I think, not to be political, but the Obama campaign did a great job at like five dollars helps. Like, it doesn't have to be five hundred, but like five dollars, two dollars. So really showing that impact. So one of the stories I like to share is I went to a charity gala that was family-friendly and I wish we had more of these because I am so tired of the black-tie dinners and the cocktails and all the booze flowing. And like, I have to get a sitter or a nanny or someone to take care of my son. I want to bring him with me. So this event in particular, it was a boxing foundation and they provide after-school boxing to underserved, underprivileged, you know, at-risk youth. And so I took my son with me to this. I said I set a budget for our family, which is a family of two. And I said, here's our budget. So if it comes a time in the night and you feel compelled to share any, all, some of this budget, this is up to you, right? So I gave him the bid card. Let's just call this our bid card, right, and it had the big number on it as I fold my paper. So it's like let's say here's our number on it. And so he was sitting there with me actually on my lap and the auctioneer started and, you know, he turned around to me, and again, he's sitting on my lap like we were super close. So people all around us and he's like, mom is now when we use our budget. And I'm like, you got it. And so the auctioneer was going and going. And then finally he turned around and he's like now, and I was like, Dude, totally up to you. Like, This is yours, buddy. Whenever you feel the need, like. It's within this budget, and I said, but I want you to know you're not going to camp, right like this isn't an opportunity for you to say it's not sticking up because I didn't want him to get misconstrued. And I was like, see these kids in the ring because they actually had some of the children there. And I said, you're giving an opportunity for one of these kids or a kid like them to attend after-school camp. And sure enough, he raised his his his bid page or bid padel, whatever you want to call it, and it was phenomenal to see the movement of literally just from his lap, up in the air with his bid sheet and from the people. Right. Like, I was like, no, no, I'm not the donor. He's the donor. That's been super cool. And we've we have many, many occasions and opportunities like that. Another time I won't get into it. But another time we were at the checkout, right, in so many places now will say, would you like to increase your amount to support X, Y and Z? And he always gets to answer that question. So there's so many ways to do that. And I really think it's it's our responsibility to demonstrate philanthropy to all of our children.

Justin Wheeler Absolutely. And I think the other added benefit is oftentimes kids can be a great conduit to bigger giving through their parents. And when I was I was on the founding team, an organization called Invisible Children, and we were mapping out sort of like ideal donor profile. Who is the best type of donor for us? And we came to the conclusion that it was a 15-year-old kid because we knew that one, we could inspire them around our mission, that they would care and that they had tremendous amount of time to actually raise funds. But secondly, when their parents would see them get involved and start caring about something that was much bigger than themselves, it obviously ignites the parents. And the parents want to support that that type of engagement. And so I think oftentimes we overlook these small-dollar donors, but there's usually there's an opportunity for more as well, just as a way for the parent to support the kid. So I can't believe that we're already at forty-two minutes. This has been such a fun conversation. I want to make sure our...

Jarrett Ransom And neither of us are blue yet!

Justin Wheeler Neither! I could keep going. I really could keep going.

Jarrett Ransom Another time.

Justin Wheeler We will have to do that. We'll have to. But I want to make sure that our listeners can find you. So what's the best way for our listeners to connect with you outside of the podcast?

Jarrett Ransom Of course. Yeah. Thank you. So again, I co-host as well The Nonprofit Show, which we've had you guys on there, so, so grateful. The My personal website is The Rayvan Group. and then the easiest and to connect to all of that is Instagram and it's Nonprofit Nerd. So @nonprofit_nerd. You'll find me there. And I love to get nerdy.

Justin Wheeler Well, awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time and for the great conversation. I really appreciate it. Have a wonderful rest of the day.

Jarrett Ransom Thank you.

Justin Wheeler All right.

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