Phillip Smith

Donordigital merges with Fenton Communications

Had my socks blown off today when I read this:

Dear Friends, I wanted to let you know about some very exciting news for Donordigital: We are merging with Fenton Communications. I know this is not the typical message on Progressive Exchange, but I think it will be of interest. As you may know, we have been sharing San Francisco offices with Fenton for the last five years and have worked with together for several clients. Fenton, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is the largest public interest communications firm in the country. Its 50-person staff serves clients from offices in New York, Washington and San Francisco, offering communications strategy, advertising, branding, message development, and media relations. Fenton's clients include, Human Rights Watch, Refugees International, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, National Farmworkers Alliance, Friends of the Earth, the Global Fund for Women, and the American Land Conservancy, among many others. With this merger, we will be able to offer our clients not only our online services, but also a much wider range of strategic communications services, including positioning, branding, message development, and media relations. While not all of our clients or Fenton's clients will want to avail themselves of this broader range of services, Fenton's staff and skills will dramatically add to Donordigital's ability to help our clients make a big bang in this increasingly distracted and multi-channel world. Donordigital will continue to work under its own name, but we will be part of Fenton Communications. I will serve as Managing Director of Donordigital and Executive VP of Fenton. VP Jenn Smith will continue to play a leadership role at Donordigital and begin assuming one at Fenton Communications too. We'll be expanding our staff to Washington and New York. My personal relationship with David Fenton and Fenton Communications goes back more than 20 years. When I was campaigning against the U.S. wars in Central America, I hired David to promote Neighbor to Neighbor's direct response TV show. A few years later, David hired me to run Fenton's Washington office. Three weeks after I started, I took off with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and a 707 full of journalists for a two-week trip around the Frontline States, the countries surrounding South Africa. I was Jackson's press spokesman, wrangling reporters and producers from the Times, the Post, CBS and ABC, as we met discussed how to end apartheid with the leaders of Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, etc. Fenton Communications handled much of the media around the anti-apartheid movement in the United States, and later managed media relations for Nelson Mandela when he toured the U.S. We look forward to continuing to work with all of you to change the world. Nick

We’ve had folks from both Donordigital (Madeline, Rachel) and Fenton (Michael) out to Web of Change; I hope this doesn’t mean they send less people!


Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.


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