Nomadic Lists

February 15, 2005       Clint Carpenter      

Some shakers in the nonprofit list industry have also been movers of late.

Princeton, N.J.-based American List Counsel (ALC) has been plucking brokers and managers of nonprofit lists from competitors. Also, Lisa Greene and Frank Quaranta have formed Specialized Fundraising Services (SFS), their own list brokerage, list management and direct marketing consulting company with offices in Spartanburg, S.C.

SFS was formerly an independent business division of The Listworks Corporation based in Hawthorne, N.Y. Greene will be president and chief executive officer of Specialized Fundraising Services. Quaranta was vice president at Listworks and is executive vice president and chief operating officer of Specialized Fundraising Services.

By the beginning of February, Listworks had reportedly shut its doors, with SFS, Macromark, and RMI Direct Marketing taking more than half of Listworks’ list portfolio. Reportedly, the company’s approximately 50 employees were told on Feb. 1 the company was closing. Calls to the company were not answered and a voice mail message was not returned.

Listworks had not filed for bankruptcy as of Feb. 1, and several employees had moved to Macromark in Brewster, N.Y.

ALC hired three fundraising veterans as part of a commitment to grow its nonprofit data brokerage and management business, according to an ALC statement released in early January. ALC nonprofit clients include March of Dimes, Habitat for Humanity, Covenant House, ACLU, and Children’s Cancer Research.

ALC hired Jeannette Cassano, Steve Kehrli and Brian Schulz. All are formerly of Oakland, Calif.-based Names in the News, a nonprofit list brokerage and management company. Collectively they have 30 years of experience and will operate from the West Coast.

Names in the News officials did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.

“We’re in a growth mode,” said Susan Rappaport, president and chief operating officer of ALC. “We’re identifying nonprofits as a real strong area going forward and as an area that needs help approaching data marketing,” she said.

Overall, ALC is seeking growth of 10 to 20 percent across its business divisions this year, and upward of 30 percent growth within the nonprofit market, Rappaport said. Specifically, ALC projects growth in nonprofit list brokerage, list management, list rental fulfillment and data processing work, she said.

A list broker represents clients and puts together plans to help choose the best list for solicitation programs. A list manager represents clients’ donor list and rents it to mailers.

SFS is technically a start-up but has a pool of roughly 35 nonprofit clients that includes the American Diabetes Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Christian Appalachian Project, according to Greene.

Quaranta and Greene said they decided to go it alone so they could work exclusively in the nonprofit marketplace and have more control over the direction of the company, Greene said.

“We basically want to be able to steer our own path and make all the decisions and create a company that” works solely with nonprofits, Greene said. She added that they plan to be “fierce competitors” in the marketplace.

Without getting into great detail, Quaranta said he left Listworks on “fairly friendly terms.”

Listworks Corporation officials didn’t immediately return telephone messages seeking comment.

Industry insiders estimate there’s roughly 100 to 150 donor lists that are decent-sized and frequently used. Greene said there’s roughly 20 substantial-sized nonprofit organization lists. SFS represents the interests and acquisition programs of five of the largest organizations. Greene classified the largest organizations as those that drop 10 million-plus pieces of acquisition mail annually. The 10 million-plus organization lists have 200,000-plus names, Greene said.

SFS also works with a handful of organizations that mail in the five million-piece range annually, she said.

Most of the organizations have list properties, but SFS did not have signed contracts as of late January, Greene said.

The move by SFS is a continuation of consolidation and specialization within the industry, insiders said. But it’s still a fragmented industry and the SFS announcement shouldn’t have a significant impact on others, insiders said.

Greene and Quaranta downplayed the newly formed company’s impact on the list industry and nonprofits. “I don’t really see that it will have a general impact across all nonprofits,” Greene said. “I don’t see that it will affect the rest of the industry other than bringing new ideas and competition to the marketplace.”