Ep 11: Scott Jackson: Finding The Charity Within

This is a transcript of Erica Mills Barnhart’s interview with Scott Jackson on the Marketing for Good podcast. You can listen to the episode here and listen to more episodes on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. Enjoy!

SUMMARY KEY WORDS

people, marketing, nonprofits, community, world, campaign, global lens, forge, servant leadership, evolution, impact, kindness

Erica Mills Barnhart  00:15

Welcome to the marketing for good podcast today, we have Scott Jackson with us. Scott is President and CEO of Global Impact, a nonprofit that inspires charitable ventures around the world. Currently Global Impact is supporting individual donors, donor collaboratives, nonprofits, and, corporations with their COVID and non COVID fundraising and marketing needs. Before Global Impact, Scott was founder and CEO of TradeEC, I don’t know if I’m saying that right, you’ll correct me in a second, Scott, one of the first marketing and communications firms in North America to specialize in international trade promotion, technology transfer, market access, TradeEC went on to join forces with global PR and communications firm Echo. Scott then went on to serve in leadership roles at both Path and World Vision, and interestingly, I didn’t know this Scott, you were a founding member of the Management Committee of the One Campaign to Make Poverty History. So definitely gonna talk about that. He is the author of the very beautiful book, Take Me With You: One person’s journey to find the charity within. I’ve had the great good fortune to work with Scott and I can say he truly embodies the term servant leadership. So it was my pleasure, my distinct pleasure to welcome you to the podcast today, Scott.

Scott Jackson  01:28

Well, thank you, Erica, and thank you for hosting this podcast. I think it’s such an important one to have during this time, and knowing that people are listening to Marketing for Good gives me great joy.

Erica Mills Barnhart  01:40

Oh, thank you. Thank you. Me too. So I will never ever forget that moment, a few years ago, I forget how many years ago it was now and you were giving a talk, a keynote, at the Global Washington conference. And you were talking about your book and then you saying acapella at the end, and I can’t remember the song, but I totally remember the feeling and the room and everyone was just captivated. And do you remember which song It was?

Scott Jackson  02:11

Yes. It’s called I Wonder. And it’s a song that my my stepfather, black Baptist minister, used to sing a lot. I wondered if you love the Lord as I do.

Erica Mills Barnhart  02:28

Mmm, it was it was just amazing. I remember like, I think my mouth was actually like, open as I was, because he was a keynote with an acapella song? It was so beautiful. I feel like so many are on a journey to find the charity within in general. And that can be hard work. And especially now people are really, you know, they’re they’re reflecting and trying to figure it out. Will you share a bit about your journey?

Scott Jackson  02:56

Well, thank you, Erica. The book title Take Me With You comes from the fact that my mother was an abused spouse. And every day when she would try to escape that situation, I would say, as a young child, take me with you. And she finally did and we escaped that situation. And then she married a black Baptist minister in 1968, the same year that MLK Jr. was assassinated, and all heck broke loose, and we were losing a custody battle. And so we escaped to Vancouver, British Columbia, and made our way ultimately, because we didn’t have work permits down to Sequim, Washington. So hence, how I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. And we then were found through the school system, and my mother was held for kidnapping contempt of court and I was taken back by armed escort to Kansas, which is where we were from and I escaped again, with a Bible with phone numbers in it and a green knit hat with $20 bills sewn inside and made my way back across the country, to the state of Washington, where my mom and Jefferson, my stepfather had taken the case to the Supreme Court, and had overturned it, but unless I was in that state, they wouldn’t be able to have the appeals trial. So when I showed up in the state of Washington, we were able to have the trial and I was able to live with my mom and Jefferson. We were too poor for him to adopt me formally, so Jefferson, I just went to the courthouse and changed my name for $25. But for me at that journey, and the role that Jefferson and Sidney and the community of Sequim played, education, my teachers, college, all of that helped me understand particularly later on in life, that there were kids all over the world like me that regardless of their circumstances, were having to make a choice to be positive in the world or to deal with the anger and the circumstances they were given. And so really, the charity within is really about how all of us take our story, whether it’s a positive or a negative story, and how do we make sure that we choose the positive? And I think it’s often the other people in our lives that help us make that choice. So it’s about you know, not only making the choice but realizing that each of us are someone else’s other and someone else’s chance to reach their potential.

Erica Mills Barnhart  05:41

Every time I hear your story, I get chills. It’s just in it and you make so much sense. And you and your leadership style makes so much sense when you hear that story.

Scott Jackson  05:57

Well, it’s you know, it’s so important, you know, to realize that often it’s little things, right? Whether you’ve raised your voice or you take out maybe the stress of something else, and people don’t even know, you know what you’re reacting to, especially during this time of a global pandemic. We all have a lot of extra stress on us. And I think that one thing we can all do is just be as kind as possible to everybody we meet and as understanding as we can be.

Erica Mills Barnhart  06:33

Yeah, kindness, I mean it. I tried to go back I mean, I’m thinking right now actually not of marketing so much, but of my kids and homeschooling and you know, just trying to trying to go back kindness. It’s hard. I am not always my best self. One of the great things about this is I think myself included, a lot of us have really established that being I mean, deep respect for all the teachers out there. I was not I was not called to teach middle school I can tell you that for darn sure when my, my son is middle schooler so. You again, this isn’t surprising given your story, but you are one of the most authentic people I know. And that comes through in your leadership style. Did that come naturally? Or did you have to kind of find your way there?

Scott Jackson  07:22

Well, Jefferson was a great role model because no matter what people threw at him any sort of prejudice or anything he had to deal with, he always, he always came back and tried to deal with it positively. So he was a great role model, but it it’s been a learned thing for me. You know, early on in my career, I think I probably carried my feelings more on my shoulder. And even now, you know, if you’re an intense person, you can always hide it. But I think that the notion that you know, sometimes they say a whisper is a roar. And I think all of us as we particularly look at marketing professionals and people in leadership, that we have to remember that our words are often amplified to the people that we’re speaking them to. So, it helps me try to remember to learn everyday to be more, more measured and thoughtful, but it’s a learning I think it’s a learning process. I think you everyday you have to say, how do I make sure that I’m not a barrier to somebody else?

Erica Mills Barnhart  08:32

Do you have a specific practice for that?

Scott Jackson  08:37

You know, asking questions. So, you know, often especially in kind of, I think, you know, urgent decision making and important marketing decisions that people make, is that we want to move forward into action as quickly as possible. But I think instead of kind of saying, here’s what needs to be done, if you can say, here’s what I’m thinking, what do you think? You know? So the more you can ask questions, rather than just jump to the action or assume what what the answer is, that helps me. I also think it’s just, you know, wanting to genuinely care for people. And I think, I think besides asking questions, the thing that really helps me is that somewhere along the line in often the role that Global Impact plays, that I play, is a behind the scenes role. And somewhere along the line, I became so empowered by seeing other people succeed. So if that’s kind of where you get your motivation, then every day you want to try to make sure that you’re, you’re helping the other people that are that are around you. That helps me. So it’s not really very selfish at all. It’s about, okay, how do I really help this person? Because if I help them, I’m going to really, I’m going to be empowered by that.

Erica Mills Barnhart  10:09

And that’s true servant leadership.

Scott Jackson  10:12

Well, thank you.

Erica Mills Barnhart  10:13

Yeah, yeah. So you have a long, long history in marketing, both in house with nonprofits, Path, World Vision. And also you have agency experience, which is, so that, you know, gives you multiple perspectives. I’m curious if working on the agency side first, sort of influenced how you approach marketing and branding as a leader?

Scott Jackson  10:41

Absolutely. I mean, I think, first of all, getting a chance to work on the agency side. Our small agency was focused on marketing in developing countries. And then as part of Apco, certainly it was a worldwide agency approach and Apco is known for their public affairs campaigns and marketing, you know, as opposed to always consumer marketing. But I think I think what I learned in the agency world is the power of story and the power of sharing the narrative. So that so that the bringing that to the nonprofit sector, and you’re such a great professional at this, about how you do that and the words that you choose, but I think the power of our stories, and then using those stories for the change in the world. I first got glimpses of the power of the story in the agency world and seeing how that can be used for changing the world. I’ve been able to experience in the nonprofit sector.

Erica Mills Barnhart  11:52

Yeah, that makes, thank you for the kind words by the way, and that makes that makes sense. I am always intrigued when you know somebody comes from agency or working on their their own and then comes into the different contexts. And the the power of narrative and the power of story feels even more important now than before. I want to actually go back just for a second to the idea of authenticity. Because I feel like what I’m seeing, and I’m curious if you’re seeing this because you work with so many nonprofits, is these like dueling forces, where, I mean, nonprofits are really, really struggling, obviously, under COVID. And so there’s a part of them that is just scrambling to, you know, try to stem the tide, or the inevitable is this feeling, but also this the sense of and the ones that I think are successful right now are just coming back to like, what is the essence of who we are and how can we go back to the basics, go back to what is authentic to us as an organization, and shine a bright light on that. And I’m wondering if you’re if you’re seeing the nonprofit’s that you work with and serve at Global Impact is also kind of struggling in this way?

Scott Jackson  13:17

Yeah, the notion of authenticity is a really important one. And I haven’t thought of it in those terms. But I think that the nonprofit’s I see that are kind of making sense of this right now are taking a COVID lens, if you will. So they’re not they’re not ignoring that we’re in a global pandemic, those that are ignoring, I think are going to have a really hard time. But those that are saying, how does this COVID crisis affect my organization and the COVID lens I think is the most successful is when they start authentically with their own staff and their own operations. How are they taking care of their own staff and families and doing their best with that? Whether they’re keeping them on staff or whether there’s furloughs, you know, what, what, what is the role that they’re playing with their own kind of immediate organizational family? And the second, then element to that lens is kind of how does it affect their mission? Some are on the frontlines, others are not. And how are they making sure that they’re pivoting their programs to be relevant during this crisis? And then thirdly, is how will it affect their long term programs and missions? And I think that that nonprofits that take that kind of three part lens are really authentic because they really are having to look at it first from their own personal lives, to their organization and then to their mission.

Erica Mills Barnhart  15:02

I love that, that the COVID lens, I get, I spent so much time referring to the COVID cloud that I say, you know, I like think of it as a lens who feels much more positive. It’s so very you, Scott. I, one of the things we talk a lot about on this podcast is the idea that successful external engagement, which is where so often when we hear marketing, we think about the external shininess, but that that the success of that is really predicated on solid internal alignment. And so how I’m curious how you keep your team aligned.

Scott Jackson  15:37

We, we’ve really gone to going deeper as a community in our communications. So it’s interesting because I’ve learned more about our individual staff members in the last seven to eight weeks then probably I’ve learned in several years, so getting a chance to beyond regular, you know, video conferencing calls, being able to see each other actually having calls where there’s no agenda, learning about people’s families, meeting their children, you know, sharing when they have illness in the family. So I think, I think one way is just to take advantage of what technology and marketing tools have brought us, which is really an opportunity to not only survive this crisis, but to really forge community and forge, you know, relational opportunities. So I think that’s been very powerful. That’s probably been one of the, the really positive things that have come out of this is no longer kind of a barrier to connecting with each other that there’s kind of no excuses, really. And I think I think that that helps to then align to the daily work, that there’s no question there’s more pressure, I think, particularly in the nonprofit sector on marketing and fundraising. So the work we’re doing with our nonprofit partners, and even our corporate partners, there’s more and more pressure to, you know, help us raise the funds help us raise the visibility of what we’re trying to do, whether it’s on the front lines or otherwise. So I think, I think community, encouraging people to not bear that pressure of their work all personally, and then just kind of taking it one day at a time.

Erica Mills Barnhart  17:40

I love that you refer to it as forging community. I think often, we sort of take community for granted, and then it will kind of form itself and although sometimes that’s extreme, you know, that happens. That’s true. I just love this invitation to really be kind of fierce about it, I mean, forge is intentional. And the more we can intent, you know, use this opportunity to intentionally build community, the better both internally and then, you know, and then eventually externally. I think that’s a really interesting way of thinking about it.

Scott Jackson  18:20

Yeah, and you know, I think in any organization, you have people who are really good at that, and others who are not, so it’s been fun for me to kind of follow, we have some really good ambassadors at forging community and getting out there and making sure people are getting connected. So, you know, allowing myself to follow them and be part of it has also been a good lesson.

Erica Mills Barnhart  18:47

Yeah, I mean, one of the things that has definitely come out of this is I don’t know that we’ll ever fully go back to you know, you have your professional self and your professional life and your personal life and your personal self. You know, when you’re doing all this from home, like, inevitably, you’re gonna, you know, you’re gonna see the cat and the dog and the kids and the, you know, we’re just like human. And I feel like this is one of the biggest historical lessons we will have. And we’re just all human.

Scott Jackson  19:15

Absolutely, there’s no separation. And we will, yeah, I think you’re right. I think I think it will break down those barriers.

Erica Mills Barnhart  19:24

Yeah. You were involved with the One Campaign to Make Poverty History. I don’t know if all of the folks listening will be familiar with that. We will you share a bit more about it because it is sort of left an indelible mark in my mind as a shining example of marketing for good.

Scott Jackson  19:45

Yes. So in early 2000, there was there were actually three campaigns. One was called Better Safer World, which was a collaborative marketing campaign to see if we could increase support by the American public for Foreign Affairs and for US Agency for International Development funding. And so a number of large NGOs were part of this, this effort, Saved the Children, Care, World Vision. And I served as on an Executive Committee, a 3 person, Executive Committee for that coalition. And and then there was Data, which was essentially, Bono’s initiative against HIV AIDS in Africa. And then finally, there was an initiative called Bread for the World to increase awareness of poverty alleviation by Bread for the World. And the three came together with Bill Melinda Gates Foundation to form the one campaign. And we didn’t initially start with the word One. But the song kind of led us there. And Bono led us there. And so we did announce the campaign in the front of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and to this day, it’s evolved and emerged and shaped. But the whole notion of bringing bring-

Erica Mills Barnhart  21:36

Oh, Scott, we’re, we’re losing you. So you might need to repeat whatever, whatever you were telling us. I like that we had just talked about being human and then I don’t even know what just happened, who knows.

Scott Jackson 

I, my internet was still up and I could see you then finally your picture went away.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

I just disappeared entirely into the ethers. Okay, where I think I lost you was you had just told us about launching the One Campaign to Make Poverty History and you were in front of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

Scott Jackson 

Okay, got it. Okay, so off, I’ll finish that. So. And what’s wonderful is that to look and see now 15 years later that the One Campaign is continuing, is much more of an established voice, if you will, or amplifier, not only with US Congress, but with governments across Africa and Europe, Asia, and it’s being amplified by other important voices like Global Citizen and other other movements. So it’s wonderful to see it continuing the great work that it is.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Okay, I know, I’m not the only one who wants to know, did you meet Bono?

Scott Jackson 

Yes, I did. I wouldn’t say that I could, you know, call him up and chat with him on a regular basis. But, but during that time, had a lot of interaction with him. And he really is the real deal. So talking about being authentic, he really understands the issues. In fact, he and his wife had their hearts touched by visiting the famines with World Vision in Ethiopia in the 1990s. So he really has a passion for the issues and comes at it know, deep in his soul. I actually toured with the band and would work with the One Campaign, you know, members of Congress and other influencers and bring them to the, to the, to the U2 tour in 2005, was one of the American tours, North American tours. And that was fun.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

That must have been I bet you have a lot of stories from those days. I can only imagine.

Scott Jackson 

I do and probably a little more hearing loss.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Oh, I imagine. So I have gone on record as saying I think in terms of like the best marketers, for musicians, my vote goes to Kiss but U2 is a very close second. So it it makes sense from sort of a brand perspective that Bono would have brought that superpower and just will forever be grateful to him and everybody else who worked on to get that campaign launched and it is wonderful to see that it’s still going strong.

Scott Jackson 

Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, the the AIDS concerts really set the stage for celebrities and musicians being able to lend their voice to, to really marketing for good. And so that’s, that’s been wonderful to see that continue.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of folks, by folks, I mean, maybe some younger folks who are listening, grew up with that and grew up with sort of celebrities lending their, their shininess and their influence to causes but that’s actually pretty, pretty new.

Scott Jackson 

Yeah, that’s right. Probably the last 20 years is where we’ve really seen it had an impact.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah, yeah. So So yeah, I mean, so that’s, you know, when I think of the evolution of marketing and when I get asked about that, that’s certainly something that always comes to mind. I mean, I think it’s one of the things that  is true in life is the only constant is change and evolution. To that point Global Impact just merged your joined forces with Geneva Global, right?

Scott Jackson 

Yes, yeah.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

You talk to us about that, in the context of, because Global Impacts been around for a really long time. I think it’s important for listeners to really understand like the staying power of Global Impact. And, and you know, how that how you have staying power for that long and then where you landed today in this most recent evolution?

Scott Jackson 

Yes, Global Impact started almost 65 years ago as a workplace giving federation like United Way only for the International sectors. So, organizations like Save the Children and Path and World Vision, Care, had to be members of Global Impact so that they could qualify for employee giving programs, both with the state and federal government and also with the private sector. But more broadly, as a nonprofit as you suggests to support and inspire charitable ventures and grow global philanthropy. We really work in kind of three areas. One is we have advisory services that we help to design and implement marketing and fundraising campaigns. And secondly, is we will serve as a campaign manager, or program manager, where we actually hire staff and help support that initiative, initiatives like the One Campaign. And thirdly is really where we serve as a fiscal sponsor, and actually do all the financial reporting, receive and get the money out, you know, to various causes. We’re doing a lot of that work right now with COVID related nonprofit responders. And so when we looked at how do we grow our capacity, we had been tracking an organization called Geneva Global for a number of years and they really have those three same core competencies advisory, program support and fiscal sponsorship, but they do a lot more work with high networth donors and foundations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And so by coming together, they were a for profit B Corporation. And they’re now a formally a subsidiary. Global Impact is a nonprofit. But it gave us some tremendous firepower across the whole continuum of marketing and fundraising for foundations high networth and corporations and everyday donors.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

So that’s an exciting evolution.

Scott Jackson 

Yeah, it really is. It’s been interesting from a marketing we’re both kind of b to b brands, you know, so we’re, we’re kind of the behind the scenes-  Yep. Business to business, but being visible enough that people can find us and in many ways, it’s been interesting because actually sharing those two brands, and having those two vehicles of nonprofit and for profit for clients and partners to work with has actually been been really powerful these first six months. So it will interesting to see how we evolve our brand and talk about our work together.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Business to business Mm hmm. Yeah, it was fun when I saw the announcement. Of course, we had done work together just previously. And then when I saw the announcement, and I saw so you redid the logo was part of that branding work. And then I’ve seen it side by side with the Geneva Global logo, I instantly was like, yeah, this is this is good alignment, because the logos work so well together. And if your logo is like, you know, I think of it as your flag that you waive the tip of sort of the visual piece of your identity. And I was like, Yeah, those look good together.

Scott Jackson 

Yeah, I think they really have and the colors, all of that was perfect. And we we can’t thank you enough for the rebranding that Claxon Marketing did for us. You guys did a terrific job.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

It was our pleasure, our pleasure, our pleasure. So I always like to ask guests, a final two questions. So we have to have both motivation and inspiration, inspiration meaning to breathe in and motivation being about action. So will you share with us what inspires you and what keeps you motivated to do this work?

Scott Jackson 

You know, there’s a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. that essentially that there’s no greater no greater really aspiration for someone than to serve others. And I think that that during this time in which the whole world is coming around a crisis together and is that that’s really important. It’s important for us to not only think of ourselves and our families, but also to think of the others in our lives. And so for me that, quote, has some real meaning right now. And then I am inspired every day by what people are doing for each other. Actually, those actual acts of kindness just are mind blowing to me, whether it’s employee assistance programs, or nonprofits who used to do housing, and now we’re just delivering food to people, I mean, it’s just restaurants. It’s just amazing to me, how the whole world is really putting, you know, their neighbors in front of themselves.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

We come full circle back to the idea of kindness.

Scott Jackson 

Yes, absolutely.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah. Thank you so much, Scott. for being here sticking with me through my epic technology glitch. Listeners if you want to continue the conversation as always head on over to the Marketing for Good Facebook group. I’ll be there. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode and anything else about Marketing for Good. Thank you for making the world a better place. Be well, do good, and we’ll see you soon.