Sean O’Neil

Sr. VP/New Business Development

Sean brings important problem-solving skills to New River Communications’ clients honed during years as a Creative Director and Partner in several commercial agencies, in addition to the not-for-profit world. His expertise lies in creating programs that are successful, hard-hitting, cost-effective, and accurately reflect the organization, its image, and goals. Prior to joining NRC, Sean was a principal of Copland O’Neil for 13 years, a South Florida-based direct response agency, serving clients such as ASPCA, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Relief Services, North Shore Animal League, and Environmental Defense Fund. Sean started his career in commercial advertising, leaving behind the corporate world in the mid-’90s to step out in faith in ministry work. Through his church, Sean moved to North Carolina to work with a Christian children’s ministry and kids with cancer. It was upon his return to South Florida that Sean became initially involved in direct response marketing at Food for the Poor. “I’ve been blessed to find a career where I can use my design sense, writing talent, and other skills while helping others and making a difference at the end of the day.”

How did you get into direct response fundraising?
Right after college (go ‘Noles!), I went to work in the commercial advertising business as a copy writer and later as Creative Director. While I always enjoyed the creative side of the business, I knew there had to be greater fulfillment than making car dealers, real estate developers and bankers even richer (the majority of our clients). I discovered that I could put my writing & design talents to use in the nonprofit sector, make a decent living, and feel a lot better at the end of the day in what I’d accomplished.

What’s the best part of your job?
Besides living five minutes from my workplace, dressing South Florida casual and getting to play with my colleagues’ dogs that frequently visit our offices? Well those are certainly perks but nothing beats hearing a client tell you how New River has helped their cause above and beyond expectations. We have many long-term clients which I believe speaks volumes about our work and service.

Worst part of your job?
Six to eight weeks after a campaign and you discover that brilliant idea you had for a package wasn’t so brilliant after all. Unlike image or brand building advertising, direct response provides hard data… the donors get to “vote” with their checkbooks on any given campaign. Knowing exactly how well your strategy and creative impacts results is actually what I like most about this business – however, it can be a hard pill to swallow when a campaign bombs in the mail!

Your favorite escape from the job?
Anywhere on a golf course, in the water, around a tiki bar, or in front of a tv screen when college football season is on!