Michael Tomlinson – Executive Highlight

Michael Tomlinson – Executive Highlight

Michael Tomlinson
President and CEO at Brewer Direct Inc.
Website Address: www.brewerdirect.com


What services does your company provide?

Creative, Media Buying and Planning, Social Media, SEO, Marketing Strategy, Photography, Other

About Brewer Direct Inc.:

Brewer Direct Inc. (BDI) is the leading faith-first, full service, multi-channel fundraising and marketing agency that specializes in working with rescue missions to release generosity to help a hurting world.


How do you define success?

The most obvious and liner metric for success is the fundraising results we help our client partners achieve, or as we communicate, the effective releasing of generosity of their supporting community.

However this is only one part of our intentional perspective of success.

We also pursue an agency culture of personal and professional health, built on the virtues and values of integrity, authenticity, excellence, personal growth, and generosity.

Who we are as a team of experienced thought leaders is as important as what we do, and in coming alongside partners we seek to offer this culture and example to them. We are very selective with whom we serve, seeking cultural alignment so that we can develop long-term relationships that include both the provision of wildly successful marketing, communications, and fundraising initiatives, and where success is also defined by our becoming an extended part of our partner’s team, received as wise counselors to all growth-focused efforts, and not merely providers of a commoditized service.


What makes your company unique?

Our philosophy of fundraising significantly impacts both our strategies and approach to serving clients, and ultimately, is as much a reflection of who we are as what we do.

Our philosophy of fundraising is influenced by 5 core principles:

• Abundance, Not Scarcity

The United States of America is a tremendously wealthy nation and its people are among the most generous in the world. As such, there is sufficient financial resources in virtually every U.S. community and plenty of good and generous people to share their wealth with the organizations who depend upon it to serve others.

There are many incredible nonprofit ministries and organizations that, when fully funded, are dedicated and equipped to accomplish the important work of their cause. For these reasons, despite every region facing some significant challenges, we are fervent believers in the expanded, solutions-driven, kind and supportive generosity of others can be released and unleashed by effectively presenting those who have with those that need.

Where other agencies and many not-for profit organizations’ fund developing strategies illustrate a fundamental perspective that money is scare, donors are few, and one must fiercely compete against other appealing parties to “own” donors and claim their rightful share of wallet, Brewer Direct rejects this perspective wholly. In fact, we believe the exact opposite. There are always time-proven, creative, and effective ways to participate in and leverage this abundance.

• Opportunity Meets Capacity for Great impact

The challenge then becomes connecting. When opportunity meet capacity, when an authentic case for support is met with a desire to be part of the redemptive upside of humanity, the result is tremendous impact.

To make these connections we must be active and engage donors where they live and interact, communicate clearly with value-driven language, make it exciting, fun, and rewarding. We must be excited and excitable, confident and committed, and transparent as we invite supporters to be part of the good work being accomplished in and through the mission.

• Missionally Aligned – Kingdom Called

As individuals, we are also supporters of many important causes that are championed by good nonprofit organizations. However, Brewer Direct is laser-focused on helping those whose Kingdom focus is more than just a part of the culture – we come alongside those who’s ministry is boldly faith-forward.

Sharing this calling to do good work that glorifies Jesus Christ, promotes the Gospel message, and demonstrates Christian values provides tremendous synergy between BDI and the partners we serve. Even before nailing down the Where, When, and How of strategic fundraising initiatives that will yield more robust donor relationships and release more generosity, we connect on the Why that undergirds the heart, purpose, and vision of the mission.

This alignment ensures shared goals, greater collaboration, easier intra-partnership communication, increased dedication to success, and allows for real relationships to develop between the agency’s team and mission’s team that prove to be encouraging, supportive, and inspiring both in the context of raising funds and in being in ministry together.

• Stronger Together

We are energized by collaboration with experienced professionals who are all-in for the cause. It’s a privilege for BDI to come alongside missions who welcome the opportunity to expand their talent pool and capacity by adding our team’s deep experience and BDI’s operationally sound organization to the mix. Ultimately, not only are we stronger by serving together in ministry outreach, but time-after-time we’ve experienced exponential results because of the collaboration and leveraging of the talents among our collective teams.

• Responsible Stewardship

With the same seriousness and rigor that a mission must consider whom they ought work with to raise more support, generate authentic and expanding relationships, and pursue key mission goals, so too does Brewer Direct consider whom the agency will invest our time, talents, and gifts.

Having served both as partners to and within faith-first nonprofit ministries for decades, we’ve learned that achieving short and long-term fundraising goals is exciting and rewarding work, yes, but ultimately it is the relationships formed with partners and the co-laboring, the journey itself, that is most fulfilling and what supercharges the effectiveness and outcomes of mission partners.


Who in the industry inspires you and why?

In our respective industry I am inspired by many colleagues who, in addition to being experienced, smart, and technically capable marketers and fundraisers, also continually grow, have tremendous energy to serve others, are driven by the opportunities to change lives, and who ultimately put their client’s needs first. I’m inspired by leaders who walk the walk of their values, who never “arrive” despite success and industry affirmation, and who know that the next great idea, the next leader, the next game changer can come from anywhere and in anyone so they’re always curious, interested in others, and do not let their ego dominate their focus. (I’m not sure if you’re looking for specific names here. If you are, I can provide some examples, and why with each).


What is a tip for success that you would provide someone in your same industry?

We all need to be incredible listeners. It goes without saying (in our line of business) that partners desire more supporting relationships (donors), more resources (dollars), and more shine for their organization (influence). However, every organization is also an ecosystem of individual people who have these needs *and more*, who also need and desire internal health and fluidity within the organization as they pursue positive outcomes in the outside. Understanding these important collateral needs, as well as what type of cultural alignment the partner is seeking with one’s organization will be AS vital as the fundraising initiative’s more direct success metrics. After 30 years serving organizations both inside and as an agency or consultant, I’ve learned that the journey is as important as the destination, both for oneself and for the organizations we serve. Understanding that, fueled by listening to gauge who they are and what ALL they need, will drive rewards, personally, professionally, and relationally.

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