Nonprofit Nation is hosted by Julia Campbell, digital marketing and fundraising expert, nonprofit consultant, and author of Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits and How to Build and Mobilize a Social Media Community for Your Nonprofit in 90 Days. Julia helps nonprofits build movements, and in her work she teaches nonprofits how to build community, audience and raise influence on social media channels. On Nonprofit Nation, Julia sits down with nonprofit industry experts and practitioners to get advice on the best ways to build a thriving movement and a vibrant, passionate community around a cause. Topics include fundraising, storytelling, and marketing of course – but it also dives into mental health issues, leadership strategy, digital wellness, and much more. Julia’s guests share practical wisdom, entertaining stories, and real-world tips that will help you strategize, plan, and grow your nonprofit. You never know exactly what you’re going to learn when you tune into Nonprofit Nation, but you can be assured that it will be worth your valuable time and attention. Be sure to click the subscribe button on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.


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[00:00:26] Dawn Crawford: Welcome to this episode of the Create Good podcast. Today we have Julia Campbell, who’s a great nonprofit practitioner, and [00:00:36] we’re so glad to learn from her and learn about her own podcast. Hey, thanks for joining us.

[00:00:41] Julia Campbell: Thank you. I’m really happy to be here.

[00:00:43] Dawn Crawford: Great. So tell us a little bit about your podcast and your business.

[00:00:48] Julia Campbell: Well, I started my business 13 years ago, and I started out as a grant writer for hire, and then it has morphed into digital marketing, digital fundraising — oh, I think of all the different iterations of my business in the last 13 years…so right now I provide nonprofits specifically [00:01:12] with digital marketing and digital fundraising strategies.

So I try to help them eliminate the shiny object syndrome and focus and prioritize and create a plan for their digital marketing, social media marketing. And if they’re running a digital fundraising campaign, help them plan. Because as you know, there are so many different avenues. There are so many different channels and platforms, so much information coming at us.

It’s very hard for a small, you know, time-strapped nonprofit to really understand the landscape, but also be able to really focus and implement [00:01:48] in the way that’s going to get them the best results. So I do consulting, I do speaking. I have online courses, and of course my podcast, which is called Nonprofit Nation.

Now I’m a journalist. By training, I always wanted to be a journalist and travel the world and interview interesting people and tell their stories. I love writing, I love interviewing. So for me, a podcast is just a really natural extension of all the things that I love, and I think that it took a while to create the [00:02:24] podcast for me because I wanted to be fairly established, like I didn’t wanna be reaching out to people that I wanted to talk to and have them say no. I wanted to have made a lot of connections before I launched the podcast and I probably recorded maybe like 20 episodes before I even launched because I was so scared to launch the podcast.

I think that I, I just have that perfectionist syndrome and I work with a company — Taylor Shanklin, who’s another podcaster, her company on the podcast production, and she just said, you gotta get off, [00:03:00] you gotta get off the train, or you gotta launch the train, or whatever. Whatever she said to me really resonated like, you gotta just do it.

[00:03:06] Dawn Crawford: Yes, absolutely.

[00:03:08] Julia Campbell: And there’s never gonna be a perfect time. There’s never gonna be a perfect situation. And that really, that made me realize that I have something to say. My audience and my guests all have something important to say. So, I mean, my theory and really my vision for the podcast is to highlight some voices that you know, like Joan Gary and Beth Canter and Amy Sample Ward.

And I’ve been really lucky to have some pretty [00:03:36] fabulous people on the podcast, but highlight voices that you might not have heard and people doing really interesting things in the space, whether it be a practitioner or a consultant, or a nonprofit or a software company. So to highlight things that I find interesting because I feel like I, I’ve been in my audience’s shoes, I’ve been that marketing person, development person and I wanna hear different perspectives and they’re not always tactical. Sometimes they’re very high level, but sometimes they are very practical. So it’s just sort of learning as we go. And I’ve [00:04:12] been doing it for over a year now, and I absolutely love it.

[00:04:15] Dawn Crawford: That’s great. That’s fantastic. Yeah, it’s interesting how that diversity — yeah, cuz Create Good is very much focused on sharing their nonprofit communicator’s slice of life. We find that that’s a perfect niche for us. And that’s great to have that much diversity. That’s a really good addition to everybody’s podcast list.

Your experience as a journalist, how do you feel like that’s kind of helped your nonprofit communication skills and expertise?

[00:04:42] Julia Campbell: Oh, I absolutely think it’s really helped, especially in marketing, because when you train as a [00:04:48] journalist, when you learn what stories are gonna resonate, you start to realize there has to be some relevancy. There has to be a hook and an angle. So if you are trying to get the attention of your editor or trying to get on the front page of your newspaper, I remember working for the Daily Free Press, which is the student run newspaper at Boston University. And just really was very competitive because it’s a journalism school, communications. I was in the College of Communication and there’s a lot of fantastic, talented people and you really have to have your [00:05:24] eye, you have to really have your, your eyes always open, your eyes peeled for the next story.

You have to have your ear to the ground. You have to know your audience, who you’re writing for. Who you are trying to reach, and you have to find the sort of interesting things that are gonna connect to them. And not only that, you can’t just tell it in a boring way. You can’t just say, “Oh, we’re gonna have you know, a music festival on Saturday.” You can’t because — no, I mean, great. That’s an ad. You can put up a flyer. You can put like a little mention in the paper, but if you want people to really read it, you [00:06:00] have to start with a story. Start with a story of a musician who’s playing in the festival, or a student that’s organizing the festival.

Start with something that is human interest, something that’s gonna grab attention, and that informs all of my marketing teaching right now because I think that it’s interesting nonprofits learn in fundraising very quickly that the story works. So your annual appeal letter, your events, your direct mail appeal, all of that, you have to have a story.

People understand that, but they don’t understand the same is true in [00:06:36] marketing. Like if you send out a press release and it’s just, “We are having a gala,” no one is gonna pay attention to that. No one’s gonna pick that up. Journalists, first of all, there are few and far between right now.

[00:06:48] Dawn Crawford: Yes, they are.

[00:06:49] Julia Campbell: When I studied journalism, it was the late nineties and there were a lot of jobs to be had, but right now we know that it’s just really challenging.

And also everyone really could be a journalist has a platform with blogging, with podcasting, but finding that interesting angle, that story, that relevancy, that [00:07:12] timeliness and connecting it to the audience, that really is a skill. I think nonprofits really do that well when they see, when they change their mindset about how marketing and promotions should go, because it really should be storytelling.

[00:07:27] Dawn Crawford: Agreed. Absolutely. And it is amazing. Yeah, we encounter that too with our clients that , there’s…they forget to put the person first. Right. And that, yeah. That’s something that we’re really working on some specific clients with this year is about tell the story of your, even your program, through the lens of one person, right?

How does it affect Steve? [00:07:48] How has this changed Steve’s life? You know? That’s such a good reminder. So–

[00:07:51] Julia Campbell: And statistics are great, but they’re not the focus point. Like statistics are great to show legitimacy and to show that this is a problem worth solving, but that’s not what’s gonna grab someone’s attention.

[00:08:02] Dawn Crawford: Absolutely. Absolutely. So we’re both busy professionals. What, what really brings the joy? As we’re kind of rolling, rolling into this new normal, and you know, facing a lot of stressful outward influences of news and media, and just you know, general life. Trying to [00:08:24] survive. You know, what, what brings you joy about your work?

What makes you keep coming back to this well of nonprofit work?

[00:08:32] Julia Campbell: Well, now that we are getting together in person a little bit more, being at conferences and traveling and going and speaking and being in rooms with people, that really brings me a lot of joy. So when, I mean, I launched my business and then I was virtual. I’ve been working at home my entire business, so I’m very comfortable doing virtual trainings, webinars, conference calls, zooms, [00:09:00] things like that. But getting together in person, there’s just something very special about it. And then to hear people when I talk to them or come up to me say, “Wow, your podcast really helped me,” or “Your webinar — you did this webinar on X, Y, Z, and it really made me think about something differently.”

Those kinds of stories, I mean, they really, really helped me. And then of course, what really brings me joy is when my consulted clients, you know, actually do get results or like —

[00:09:33] Dawn Crawford: Yeah.

[00:09:34] Julia Campbell: overcome some kind of obstacle that [00:09:36] they’ve been having. But I really like that kind of light bulb moment that people have when they start seeing things in a different way and they start seeing what’s possible and they start becoming inspired and, and almost reigniting their own motivation.

That really brings me joy.

[00:09:55] Dawn Crawford: That’s awesome. 


[00:10:33] Dawn Crawford: The Create Good Conference is coming back in April and we are really excited to see our crew, our new faces, our faces who have been with us every year at the conference. But yeah, it is exciting and, you know, slightly terrifying to get back [00:10:48] on that horse after three years, but — but it is gonna be a good ride and it’s gonna be so much fun.

So really looking forward to that.

[00:10:55] Julia Campbell: People are much more forgiving now.

[00:10:57] Dawn Crawford: Oh, that is true, yes.

[00:10:59] Julia Campbell: They’re more laid back. I’ve found.

[00:11:02] Dawn Crawford: Yeah. Yeah. Ours was always laid back. Yeah.

[00:11:04] Julia Campbell: Or not as tight — Yeah. About in being in person. They’re just excited to get out of their house.

[00:11:08] Dawn Crawford: Exactly. I think we all are. Well, thank you so much for joining us on the Create Good podcast today. It was really great to get to know you and get to know a little bit more about your podcast.

[00:11:18] Julia Campbell: Oh, thanks. I really appreciate it. I’m just so thrilled that I’m allowed to do this, that [00:11:24] people are giving me their time and their expertise. I’m always surprised and honored that I get to share this with the audience and my listeners, people writing to me. 

I just got an email this morning about a podcast that I released today, an episode on internal communications, and she said that it really helped her now realize that she’s got to either find another job or improve the internal culture at her organization. And I thought, wow, that is amazing. So

[00:11:53] Dawn Crawford: A success.

[00:11:53] Julia Campbell: Just feel really, I just feel so proud and happy to be able to do this work.

[00:11:58] Dawn Crawford: Well, awesome. We’ll keep up all the great [00:12:00] work and thank you so much and to everybody listening out there, have a great afternoon and we’ll see you on the next episode. 


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