How did you get into direct response fundraising?
I started my career as a journalist because I wanted to tell stories and help make the world a better place. Along the way I made the move to public relations for a non-profit which eventually led to a career in direct marketing for good causes. The nice thing is that through this rewarding career I’ve accomplished my ambition to tell stories that help make the world a better place.
What’s the best part of your job?
There is a lot to love. It’s hard to narrow it down but I guess the best part is getting to work with our clients. Great people who have devoted their lives and careers to the greater good.
The worst part?
The worst part is delivering bad news when a package or list test fails. However there is an upside to even that because we learn something from every failure.
Your favorite escape from the job?
In a creative industry it is absolutely imperative to get away and take a break to recharge the batteries. Creativity is the first thing to suffer when you are over-worked. For me its reading, dining out with the woman I love, or playing guitar with some buddies on the back porch.
Rod Taylor is a Principal and President of New River Communications, a direct response fundraising agency based in South Florida. Rod oversees all accounts with specific focus on results analysis and strategic planning for such prominent non-profit organizations as The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities and Cross International. Before co-founding New River Communications in 2000, Rod served as Chief Fundraising Officer for Food for the Poor, one of the largest international aid organizations in the country. Prior to this he was a Vice President with Grizzard Communications Group in Atlanta. Before beginning his career in the non-profit marketing field as public relations director for The Salvation Army of Palm Beach County in 1989, Rod worked as a journalist for the San Antonio Express News. Rod’s fundraising philosophy is informed by his experience as a journalist. “The most important truth I’ve discovered in twenty years of fundraising for non-profits is simple. Tell a good story and people will respond. ‘People give to people, not organizations’ is a cliché but it’s very true. If you can take the donor or prospect inside a life that has been changed – pull them in and make them care, you’ll get a gift.” Rod has been a frequent speaker at industry events including the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference and various Direct Marketing Association conferences.