Larry Montali is co-founder and Creative Director of New River Communications. He has guided the agency’s creative campaigns and strategy for accounts including Grand Canyon Conservancy, The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities New York, The Tunnels to Towers Foundation, Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation, the United States Equestrian Team, the Hole in the Wall Gang, and many others. Prior to co-founding New River Communications, Larry was Creative Director at Food for the Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the U.S. Larry has also worked as a writer and editor for various newspapers and magazines. His work has appeared in a wide variety of publications including GQ and Esquire magazines. He has also developed media kits, brochures, appeals, and other direct response materials for a broad base of clients including some of the most well-known organizations in the nonprofit sector. Larry earned a Master of Arts degree in Writing from The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He has lectured on effective writing and marketing and won many awards for his creative campaigns, including the DMAW’s Gold Maxi and prestigious “Big Idea” awards. “I’m always pleased when our creative work is recognized,” Larry says, “but it’s the results and ROI that matter most to me. I know that means more people have understood the need and cared – and that more will be fed. My motivation doesn’t come from plaques or ribbons – it comes from the hungry and poverty-stricken families I’ve met in Haiti, Latin America, Africa, Mississippi, and knowing that if we succeed, those children and families will be better off for it.”
How did you get into direct response fundraising?
Like many in this field, I took a circuitous route. An interest in writing and photography, and a soft spot in my heart for life’s underdogs, led me to journalism. But I wanted to have a more direct impact on addressing needs near and far, and I discovered that writing and creating to help nonprofits do their good work gave me that chance.
What’s the best part of your job?
“Working hard at work worth doing,” as Teddy Roosevelt put it, pretty much says it all. Like any job, this one has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I’m grateful for the chance to use my abilities to do some good.
Worst part of your job?
I’m an optimist so I’ll say “most challenging,” not worst. And that would revolve around getting every detail right on every job we do. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears go into making that happen. In a detail-dependent business like ours, it isn’t easy.
Your favorite escape from the job?
Indonesia sounds good. Barring physical escape, running (5Ks, ½ marathons, 100-mile relays, you name it) does me good. Wailing on the harp (“harmonica” to the uninitiated). Strumming my guitar. Music. Reading. Keeping a half step ahead of my kids. It all helps keep me sane and replenishes the creative juices.