The Power of Consistency and Utilizing Data: Building Donor Relationships in a Small Community with Jennifer Coughlin

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 “Learning what you are raising for, being as specific as you can be with your audience, and realizing that can impact what people were willing to spend were really good learning points.”
– Jennifer Coughlin

Episode #174


In this episode of What the Fundraising Podcast…

In this episode, we are joined by Jennifer Coughlin, who bravely opens up about her profound voyage through the challenges of raising a child grappling with a rare genetic condition. With only around 250 diagnosed cases worldwide, Jennifer’s youngest daughter, Edith, faces a myriad of obstacles, including visual impairment, developmental delays, seizures, epilepsy, and intellectual disability.

Jennifer’s life took a drastic turn when she received Edith’s diagnosis, prompting her to leave her career at an investment bank to prioritize her daughter’s care. Through this challenging transition, Jennifer found solace and support in the NR2F1 Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting families affected by this rare condition.

As Jennifer delves into her unexpected role as a fundraiser for the foundation, she reflects on her initial hesitation and subsequent immersion into the world of nonprofit work. Drawing from her background in strategy and operations, Jennifer leveraged her skills to develop a comprehensive fundraising strategy despite being new to the nonprofit sector. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of the NR2F1 Foundation.

Throughout the episode, Jennifer shares valuable insights and strategies she has learned along the way. She emphasizes the importance of storytelling and engagement, especially in a small and tightly-knit community like theirs. By sharing personal stories and utilizing various networks, Jennifer and her team have been able to amplify their message and garner support for their cause. She also  discusses how they leverage Givebutter, a tool that streamlines the donation process and provides valuable donor data to engage donors, express gratitude, and track fundraising progress.

Furthermore, Jennifer highlights the significance of building deeper connections with donors beyond initial contributions. Through personalized follow-ups, thank-you videos, and transparent communication about the impact of donations, Jennifer and her team strive to cultivate lasting relationships with supporters. Despite the challenges they face as a small team of volunteers, their unwavering dedication and strategic approach have yielded remarkable results. As the episode concludes, Jennifer emphasizes the power of community and encourages others to leverage their networks and embrace discomfort in pursuing their fundraising goals.



Jennifer Coughlin


  • Support for this show is brought to you by a beloved nonprofit fundraising platform Givebutter. Our friends at Givebutter really understand what it takes to stay connected to your donors and how to use your CRM to do it. Their free fundraising platform empowers millions of changemakers to raise more, pay less, and give better every single day. To learn more about them, head on over to givebutter.com/mallory

  • If you haven’t already, please visit our new What the Fundraising community forum. Check it out and join the conversation at this link.
  • If you’re looking to raise more from the right funders, then you’ll want to check out my Power Partners Formula, a step-by-step approach to identifying the optimal partners for your organization. This free masterclass offers a great starting point

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Get to know Jennifer Coughlin:

Jennifer Coughlin is the Vice President of the NR2F1 Foudnation, non-profit organization dedicated to those living with rare variants on the Nr2f1 gene. These variants cause a neurodevelopmental disorder called Bosch-Boonstra-Schaaf optic atrophy syndrome (BBSOAS.)

Jennifer is proud Mum of Alice (4) and Edith (2). After spending Edith’s first year of life going from specialist to specialist and undergoing countless tests, Edith was diagnosed with BBSOAS two weeks after her first birthday. The immediate shock, fear, lack of answers and desperation fortunately lead them to the NR2F1 foundation.Having spent some time understanding the incredible work the foundation has been doing, Jennifer was keen to get involved in any way she could, driven by the desire to help Edith and others in the BBSOAS community.

Being based in the UK this also demonstrates how the foundation truly is helping families and patients around the world. After having been an active board member for 6 months, Jennifer was voted in as Vice President. This role allowed Jennifer to utilise her work experience, bringing efficiencies and processes to the board.


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I teach nonprofit fundraisers to bring in more gifts from the RIGHT donors… so they can stop hounding people for money. Fundraising doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.


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