Fundraiser LW Robbins Acquires KerstenDirect

April 2, 2014       Paul Clolery      

Direct response firm LW Robbins in Holliston, Mass., has acquired KerstenDirect of Richardson, Texas. The companies have merged operations and Tim Kersten was appointed chief executive officer of the combined company, which will be called RobbinsKersten Direct.

Operating from dual offices, the company will continue to provide multi-channel direct response fundraising strategy and advanced data analytics. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Direct response firm Stratmark was renamed KerstenDirect in March 2013. The name change coincided with the announcement by Stratmark founder John Walvoord that he was transferring ownership of the company to Kersten. Walvoord recruited Kersten to join the agency in November 2011 as president and chief creative officer. Kersten took the additional title of CEO when Walyoord retired.

Lynn Edmonds, who led LW Robbins for the past 12 years, will continue with the firm through the end of 2014 to assist in the leadership transition. She also retains a seat on the board of directors.

The combined agency will have more than 100 employees, said Kersten. Asked if there would be job losses based on redundancies, Kersten said: “We don’t comment on personnel matters. I can say, however, that senior leadership of both companies are part of the new entity. We are extremely pleased with the strength of the combined teams.”

This acquisition “brings together two highly regarded agencies with complementary strengths to provide even deeper and broader expertise to help nonprofits raise more net revenue to support their missions,” said RobbinsKersten Direct Chairman Walter Beinecke. “We are proud of LW Robbins’ 40-year legacy as a direct response fundraising agency and nonprofit industry leader. Adding to that heritage KerstenDirect’s next-generation digital fundraising capabilities, advanced data analytics, and direct mail acumen make the new agency an attractive choice for nonprofits looking for trusted counsel and breakthrough strategies.”

Beinecke said the two companies have been in discussions since late 2013, prompted by the firms’ desire for growth and a more robust service offering to clients. “To stay ahead, nonprofits need to integrate every channel and drive higher net revenue by leveraging both the science and the art of the fundraising discipline. I am optimistic that RobbinsKersten Direct under Tim Kersten’s leadership will set a new standard, helping nonprofits to reach and exceed their fundraising goals,” said Beinecke.

RobbinsKersten Direct offers complete direct mail strategy, award-winning creative, and production; email marketing, SEM/SEO, media, website design, and site optimization; and advanced data analytics and modeling solutions.

KerstenDirect benefits from the resources of a larger company that is a significant and well-regarded presence in the nonprofit community, said Kersten. “LW Robbins gains leading-edge online fundraising and advanced data analytics capabilities,” he said.

The combined agency’s clients include Brigham and Women’s Hospital, BrightFocus Foundation (Alzheimer’s Disease Research, Macular Degeneration Research, and National Glaucoma Research), Coast Guard Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, National Park Foundation, Special Olympics, St. Labre Indian School, Susan G. Komen, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, and more than 35 food banks nationwide.