Putting a Community’s Needs Ahead of Fundraising

(Hildy Gottlieb’s interview of Sonya Campion was originally published in The Chronicle of Philanthropy on June 13, 2012)

Sonya Campion has seen philanthropy from a number of angles, first as a longtime fundraising consultant and now as the co-founder of the Campion Foundation, which she started in 2005 with her husband, clothing retailer Tom Campion, whose company, Zumiez, sells clothes for skateboarders and surfers.

Using the lessons she learned during her 30-year career as a fundraising consultant, she is now leading a foundation that is working to protect the environment, end homelessness, and improve the performance of the nonprofits it supports.

Along the way, she says, she has learned that organizations that have a deep commitment to the communities they serve, paired with clear, effective communication, are most likely to be effective in raising money and achieving their missions. She saw this firsthand when a Native American tribe she was working with shut down its capital campaign during fishing season—when tribe members had to work long hours to make a living— and later resumed the campaign and achieved its goal.

In this episode of Making Change, Ms. Campion reflects on the lessons she has learned during her career and offers advice to nonprofit and foundation leaders who want to foster change.

Subscribe to Making Change on iTunes

Hildy Gottlieb is the co-founder of Creating the Future and author of “The Pollyanna Principles: Reinventing ‘Nonprofit Organizations’ to Create the Future of Our World.” In this podcast, Making Change, she interviews leaders to discuss how those who are working for the greater good can effect more social change. New episodes of Making Change appear once a month.