140: Unlocking Donor Engagement: Strategies for Building Stronger Relationships

This episode is sponsored by:

watch on youtube


“It’s not just about a campaign. It’s about the messaging and leading with your values.”

–  Sara Hoshooley
Episode #140


In this episode of What the Fundraising Podcast…

My special guest’s Catherine Ashton, Sara Hoshooley, Natalie Monroe, Jordana Merkin, and Katelyn Baughan join us to talk about ways to build stronger relationships through different marketing strategies with donors. We delve into the world of donor engagement and relationship building and discover the strategies and challenges faced by fundraisers in creating meaningful connections with donors.

Have you heard these three myths about donor engagement and relationship building? Myth 1: Donors only care about the bottom line. Myth 2: Building relationships with donors takes too much time and effort. Myth 3: Donor engagement is only important during fundraising campaigns. In this episode, our guest speakers, Catherine Ashton, Sara Hoshooley, Natalie Monroe, Jordana Merkin, and Katelyn Baughan, will debunk these myths and reveal the truth behind the importance of donor engagement and relationship building for fundraisers and nonprofit professionals.


Catherine Ashton

Katelyn Baughan

Jordana Merkin

Sara Hoshooley

Natalie Monroe


  • Many thanks to our sponsor, Bloomerang for making this episode possible. Bloomerang offers donor management and online fundraising software that helps small to medium nonprofits, like First Tee of Greater Akron, a nonprofit that empowers kids and teens through the game of golf. After just one year with Bloomerang they doubled their unique donors, improved donor stewardship, and raised more funds. Head to bloomerang.com/whatthefundraising to learn more about Bloomerang. 
  • 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

Brought To
you By:




Get to know Catherine Ashton:

Catherine Ashton is on a mission to change the way nonprofits raise money. As the founder of Giant Squid Group, Catherine works with start-up and small nonprofits in Austin, TX and Chicago, IL to land donors, win grants, and fund their works. With her coaching and support, her clients raise millions of dollars each year and have an incredible impact on their communities. When Catherine is not working with her team, she’s hiking with her husband, three-year-old daughter and their two rescue dogs.

Get to know Katelyn Baughan:
Katelyn is a nonprofit email consultant who is passionate about helping good causes harness email to inspire generosity. After working with a variety of leading nonprofits and managing multi-million dollar digital fundraising campaigns, Katelyn fell in love with email marketing and its power to raise funds and increase ROI. Katelyn’s launched her marketing consultancy KB digital in 2018, to spend more time with her family. In her five years of business ownership, she’s worked with a variety of well-known nonprofit clients like National Geographic, The Trevor Project, UNHCR, The Cancer Research Institute, and The National Breast Cancer Foundation. Katelyn has a B.A. in Communication from The University of Maryland, a Digital Marketing Certificate from Georgetown University, and is certified in advanced Google Analytics, AdWords, and inbound marketing from HubSpot Academy. You can learn more about Katelyn at katelynbaughan.com.

Get to know Jordana Merkin:

After a decade as an in-house nonprofit marketer, Jordana Merkin founded Voice for Good to bring her insider knowledge and outsider perspective to help growing nonprofits clarify their messaging to connect to those who matter most to achieving their mission. Her work as a mission-driven marketer includes messaging guides, communication plans, and copywriting—all so leaders of small nonprofits can raise awareness and funds for their organizations.

Get to know Sara Hoshooley:

Sara is a fundraising consultant and coach who LOVES working with small nonprofit organizations. As a former small charity Executive Director she understands the challenges and opportunities facing small but mighty nonprofits. Her unique approach uses each organization’s strengths to grow fundraising in an authentic and achievable way.

Get to know Natalie Monroe:

After a career in the wine industry learning the intricacies of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, Natalie landed in nonprofit with the military-to-ag movement. There she told the stories of veterans turned farmers feeding our country, and began to embrace the power of video messaging. Now she gets to share the magic of the MemoryFox story collection tool that would have been a game changer in her last role. Natalie is an avid book collector, loves music that makes her want to dance, and believes walk-up songs shouldn’t be reserved for baseball players.


Other episodes you would enjoy



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.


Scroll to Top

You're one step away from getting my favorite tools!

Just put in your name and email to let the magic begin….