Interview: Susan Fochs on The Make an Impact Podcast

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Hello ONA Friends and Family!

I’m so excited to share this very special blog post with you all because we are getting the inside scoop on our founder and CEO’s newest adventure!

Starting Operation Not Alone is the spark that started Susan’s love and passion for non-profits. Ever since then her goal and personal mission have been to Make an Impact! She has done so in more ways than one and continues to do so through her new Make an Impact podcast which gives you all the insight, wisdom and advice you could want about the nonprofit world! With just one month of podcasting under her belt, she has already been bringing some exceptional content and experts onto the show!

So, I thought it would be fun to get to know our founder and the show’s host a little bit better with an exclusive interview right here on the ONA blog!

Why did you decide to start The Make an Impact Podcast? What about the podcast platform made it appealing to you as opposed to a blog or something else?

This idea came to me about a year ago. It was one of those ideas that hit me like a freight train while I was on my lunch break while at my marketing job. I came back from that break and wrote down every idea for episodes, guests, names, etc. which filled 3 pages in my notebook. I held off launching it for a long time because I wanted to wrap up grad school and clean off some commitments from my schedule, so that I had the time to really dive into the podcast. 

I also choose the podcast route for many reasons. First of all, I am a huge podcast fan and usually have something in my ear and I saw the great audience diversity it allowed me to get in front of. Second, I get *so many* questions from people about how to start their own non-profits that I wanted to be able to discuss, candidly, with the masses. Third, podcasts allow the listeners to hear tone and inflection, versus a written piece of content. Fourth, I knew it would be a great opportunity to sit down and have impactful conversations with the best people in the non-profit field, that I never would be able to chat with otherwise. And lastly, I didn’t want to get dolled up for the camera everyday, so I stayed away from a YouTube Channel. 

What is something you’ve learned in the process of creating a podcast or in the first few episodes?

It’s so much more work than I anticipated! But, I learned that I oddly enjoy editing, which I thought was going to be my least favorite part. I also just learned that the rankings process is basically a popularity contest with ratings and reviews, which is a little annoying. 

How did you become so passionate about learning and teaching others about non-profits?

This is definitely something I never anticipated. This passion really developed over the last few years when people started flooding me with questions about how to start their own non-profits, how to fundraise, how to build a board, how to run a well curated social media, and the list goes on. Then within the last year, these questions started coming to me on an almost daily basis. 

After collaborating with people on their non-profits and helping them get them off the ground, it became a little addictive, if we’re being honest! I love watching other people light their world’s up with impact and craft a new generation that they want to see. Being able to play a small role in that is incredibly humbly. 

What do you want to be when you grow up?

The first female President of the United States – haha. 

Then I wanted to be a high-powered lawyer, an environmentalist, an activist, a pediatrician, and then Miss America. So basically, I’ve always been rooted in the idea of having a helping career; even when I didn’t know it. 

What is your favorite book? Non-profit and for fun?

Sorry, I couldn’t choose just one!


  • Thirst by Scott Harrison
  • Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie
  • Chasing the Bright Side by Jess Ekstrom 


  • Girl Logic by Iliza Shlesinger
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle
  • Only Love is Real by Dr. Brian Weiss 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Oh gosh – that feels impossible to narrow down. 

Overall, I’ve really embraced the idea that the universe is always listening and guiding you to what your life can be. And once you’re on that path, work as hard as you possibly can to build the life of your dreams. The universe is always listening and that’s how we get the concept of ‘universal intelligence’. 

Also, don’t be afraid of therapy. Find the right one for you and heal yourself from the inside out.

When you aren’t out changing the world and ‘making an impact’, what do you enjoy doing?

Taking a nap, haha! I try really hard to rest, slow down and just enjoy my surroundings and my people. Some of those things include: sipping coffee slowly, sitting on the beach and listening to the birds and the waves, snuggling my twin rescue kittens, watching my routine Netflix binges, enjoying stand-up comedy specials, hiking, kayaking, or grabbing a really well crafted cocktail with friends. 

You also just started a consulting business with the podcast. What questions can we bring to you? How is that going to work?

I am so excited to open up this avenue alongside the podcast! This is really for anyone in the founding and new stages of their non-profits trying to get them off the ground, or if you’re looking to scale and grow your non-profit, especially through grassroots efforts. 

This opportunity allows me to give people 1-on-1 work and conversations about their initiative, instead of giving catch-all info, which is on the podcast. I am able to really dive into the problem areas, hurdles, and niches for those nonprofits and I am thrilled to grow that client base and watch them change the world.

What can we expect to see in future episodes?

EVERYTHING! Amazing guests have been coming up to bat to share their founding stories, empowerment through social activism, to more step-by-step explanations of details to non-profit founding steps. I also plan on being very raw and unfiltered about the challenges that the helping field faces and how to combat them as we craft a new generation of non-profit and social entrepreneurship work. 

Allison Foster

Director of Communications

Susan Fochs

Founder & CEO

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