Founder of Russ Reid Dies
(Press release, Dec. 9, 2013) — Russ Reid, a marketer who determined that nonprofit organizations could benefit from a modern, professional approach to raising funds, died Saturday, Dec. 7, at his home in Sierra Madre, Calif. He was 82 years old.
Reid started the agency that still bears his name in 1964 to assist nonprofits raise money. That company continues to help nonprofits raise millions of dollars a day, every day.
"Russ's heart was always in helping organizations that help people," said Tom Harrison, chairman of Russ Reid. "His application of marketing acumen to nonprofits has literally changed the lives of countless children and families around the world."
Reid started his company in Waco, Texas, in 1964. His rationale: "We believe the best talent, creativity and technology should be put to work to solve the most pressing problems of our world today."
Russ Reid applied marketing strategies such as direct mail, direct-response television, radio advertising, public relations, government lobbying and digital communication to help such diverse organization as American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Boys Town, World Vision, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Operation Smile, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Prison Fellowship, Habitat for Humanity, The Salvation Army, Nature Conservancy of Canada, and rescue missions and food banks across North America.
With 300 employees in Pasadena, Calif.; Fairfax, Va.; and Toronto, Canada, Russ Reid today has grown to be the largest agency in the world helping nonprofit organizations grow.
The philosophy of putting creativity and innovation to work to help nonprofit organizations fund their operations resulted in major changes in successful fundraising techniques.
One of the landmark innovations Reid developed was the long-form television fundraising program. The idea of showing the need of children in Ethiopia for World Vision or the help for sick children at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital or the results of life-altering cleft lip surgery by Operation Smile has moved millions to become involved in these organizations. The programs show the real-life victims of poverty, disease or deformity, and the work the organizations do to bring relief to suffering and positive changes in the lives of the victims.