Helping lead Marketing & Growth at charity: water. Charity nerd. Adoptive dad. 5X fantasy baseball league champion.
I didn’t want to be there.I was tired. I just got back from a trip. It was late. It was cold. But I decided to go anyways. It was January 2015 and the school I was attending was having a special service in response to the death, destruction, and devastation of the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that tragically took the lives of over a quarter million people in Southeast Asia. I cried.And as the service continued they showed pictures of people, regular people, amazing people, local people, and people not from the region… helping. Carrying people. Picking up debris. Setting up medical clinics. Searching for people. Connecting kids to their families. I cried. And I decided right there in the back of that chapel on the Northside of Chicago that this is what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to help.I changed my major to focus on business and nonprofit management and then accidentally/intentionally went to grad school (long story) to further study nonprofit management. And I got to work.I started as the first full-time employee for a startup nonprofit doing development work in Zambia. We had no budget. They could only pay me for 9 months. But we had to raise money. So I did the cheapest thing I knew how to do… focus on digital.Helping. Nonprofit. Fundraising. Digital. That’s essentially my story so feel free to stop reading if you want.But if you’re still here (thanks mom), I continued on this journey by moving back to Canada aka the motherland to do ePhilanthropy (was never nor is now ‘a thing’) and then oversee all marketing for the Canadian arm of a multi-national Microfinance NGO.I loved it. And I hated it.The work and people were amazing but I felt trapped. Felt like I couldn’t try or do new or cool things. Felt like I had to have all the answers when I didn’t. Felt like there was nowhere to really go from here. So I got out and I got into startups.First with a digital agency servicing nonprofits and then with a technology company that would become Canada’s fastest growing Donor Advised Fund. I loved it. But there was something I needed to do. After a healthcare (encephalitis anyone?) and a few months to muster the courage, I started my own company. The Josephson Group.What. An. Ego.Through this adventure I actually started a few ‘companies’. I had a digital agency working with a dozen or so nonprofits in Canada and the US. I had a Google Ad Grant services company working with a couple dozen organizations. And I had a blog and podcast that kind of fuelled them both. I loved it. And I hated it.I was spending less and less of my time on the things that I loved and was good at (strategy) and some of the things I did love and was good at (writing) were a burden more than a joy. My partner and I were starting a family through adoption and the emotional and financial roller coaster of entrepreneurship coupled with the emotional and financial roller coaster of adoption was one too many rollercoasters and I needed a change.Enter Jeff Giddens, Tim Kachuriak, and NextAfter.They were looking to expand and wanted someone to help lead marketing, research, and training to reach more and equip more nonprofits with digital fundraising knowledge and skills. It was perfect. I sold the agency, advertising services, and blog and went to work for NextAfter. I loved it.I even moved my family (with son, Hendrix) from Vancouver, British Columbia to Dallas, Texas… during COVID… to be closer to the amazing folks at NextAfter and help better grow the newly formed NextAfter Institute. It was amazing. We created 7+ online courses and trained thousands of digital marketers all over the world. We cranked out 8+ original research studies analyzing digital fundraising in 9 different countries. I loved it and thought I’d be there for a long time until one day, maybe, I’d go back to an international nonprofit and try to take all that I had learned and apply it with one organization. That day came a lot sooner than I’d thought.Someone from charity: water reached out about joining their team to help lead marketing and growth. I was pretty sure they had the wrong person, got their wires crossed, or were trying to get in touch with someone else at NextAfter but it was me they wanted to talk to. And so began the easiest most difficult decision I had to make in my career (FWIW, the decision to adopt was by far the easiest most difficult decision of my life).So now I get to help lead marketing and growth at charity: water and fight imposter syndrome each and every day.Helping. Nonprofit. Fundraising. Digital.That’s my story. Well most of it and the short version. I don’t know what brought you here or if you read all of that but I’d love to hear from you so please feel free to email me or connect on Twitter or LinkedIn.
I don’t know if you could tell from my ‘About Me’ section but I love to talk. My grandfather was a pastor, my mother was a news anchor and now speaker, my father was a teacher and now speaker, and my brother is coach so, basically, my entire family gets paid to talk. Our family get togethers are awesome… and exhausting (just ask my partner…).Anyways, I love the opportunity and challenge of speaking. I’ve been fortunate to have opportunities to share some of what I’ve learned and am learning with folks in-person and online all over the world. Some people didn’t even hate it… which is nice.Here are some logos to show you how good of a speaker I am.
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