Merger unites three companies with pubmedia clients

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Three companies that work with hundreds of public broadcasting stations are merging into one company under a new name.

Brook Venture Partners, a Massachusetts-based venture capital company, acquired Allegiance Software and DMW Fundraising, a division of DMW Direct, in a deal finalized Nov. 14. The companies are joining the Brook Venture company Member Benefits to operate under the banner of the Allegiance Fundraising Group. Brook Venture invests in healthcare IT, software and database marketing.

Each company provides different services to a mix of clients within public media and other fields. Allegiance Software sells a database management system for fundraising and donor relationship management as well as data storage and radio traffic and billing software.

DMW provides strategic planning, creative development, prospect list services, production, campaign management and results analysis. And Member Benefits manages a MemberCard program that stations offer as a premium, giving donors deals at local businesses.

“We are looking to put together a turnkey one-stop shop — if that’s not too cheesy — for small and medium nonprofits” to improve fundraising, said Brook Venture analyst Eli Sevigny. Clients will be able to choose which offerings they want to use “but also have the ability to leverage all those tools together,” he said.

A Brook Venture partner who has been active in nonprofit fundraising was the force behind Brook Venture acquiring the companies, Sevigny said. He declined to disclose what Brook Venture paid for the companies.

With the merger, Brook Venture expands its footprint in public media. “That’s a great niche for us, but I think we want to move beyond public media,” Sevigny said, noting opportunities with animal shelters, food banks, and civic and cultural organizations.

Allegiance Software CEO Rich Aukland has been named CEO of Allegiance Fundraising Group. Joanna Adams-West, president of Member Benefits, and Debbie Merlino, president of DMW Fundraising, will become managing partners, said Sue Guttormson, director of marketing for Allegiance Software.

Allegiance has 172 public media clients, Member Benefits has 105 and DMW Fundraising has 43. A “small number” of public media clients use all three companies, said Guttormson, who declined to provide specific numbers.

The organizations will each maintain their current offices. Brook Venture hopes to add staff, according to Sevigny, and representatives say no layoffs are planned. Services to clients will not be disrupted, Guttormson said.

Joshua Hamel, membership manager at WUCF-TV in Orlando, Fla., said he’s curious to see what additional services and integrations Allegiance will offer. The station has been a client of Allegiance since the summer of 2013. It had worked with DMW Fundraising and Member Benefits but dropped their services for financial reasons.

Hamel said he’d like to see a “prettier and more comprehensive” program for confirming emails gathered by the station “that’s a lot easier to design and work with than what’s offered currently from Allegiance. Other than that, I’m just going to wait and see.”

Allegiance plans to expand its software development department, Guttormson said.

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