Nonprofit Nation with Madison Gonzalez

Nonprofit Storytelling Around Tough Topics

Julia Claire Campbell Nonprofits, Podcast, Storytelling

Listen to the full episode at or look up Nonprofit Nation on your favorite podcast app! 

Storytelling can be a huge struggle for nonprofits – especially when serving vulnerable populations and dealing with difficult-to-discuss topics, like end-of-life care. As nonprofit professionals, how do we start? Where do we get stories, if we are working on tough topics? How do we ensure that the stories are authentic and real, but don’t exploit our clients?

This week I invited award-winning storytelling and nonprofit Executive Director Madison Gonzales to share how she does effective storytelling at her organization and in her consulting work. Madison is the Executive Director at Morning Light, Inc., an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that fosters community programs in Indiana for the terminally ill, seniors, families and the home-bound.  She’s also a National Public Speaker, Storyteller of the Year Award-Winner, Best-Selling Author of Dear Mirror, Events Manager, and Published Poet.  As a storytelling coach and consultant, it is Madison’s mission to empower others to share their stories for impact and income.

Here are some of the topics we discussed:

  • Tips for small nonprofits on collecting stories, especially with a focus on difficult topics that people may not want to discuss openly
  • Questions to start the conversation and encourage people to share
  • Strategies to get buy-in from other staff members around storytelling
  • How she uses a three-part email story series at Morning Light (and gets great results)

A Madison quotable:  “In just having conversations and taking a genuine interest, you might be surprised how many people just want the chance to tell their story.”

Connect with Madison:
Dear Mirror: A Poetic Journey of Self-Reflection and Empowerment

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About Julia Campbell, the host of the Nonprofit Nation podcast:

Named as a top thought leader by Forbes and BizTech Magazine, Julia Campbell (she/hers) is an author, coach, and speaker on a mission to make the digital world a better place.

She wrote her book, Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofitsas a roadmap for social change agents who want to build movements using engaging digital storytelling techniques. Her second bookHow to Build and Mobilize a Social Media Community for Your Nonprofit, was published in 2020 as a call-to-arms for mission-driven organizations to use the power of social media to build movements. Julia’s online courses, webinars, and talks have helped hundreds of nonprofits make the shift to digital thinking and raise more money online.

Julia’s happy clients include Mastercard, GoFundMe, Facebook, Meals on Wheels America, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

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