Global Marketing Firm Invests in Local Branch

Since its acquisition of Mail America in 2014, the Forest branch of global marketing firm Innovairre Communications has grown by leaps and bounds, and even more growth is on the horizon.

Innovairre is the worldwide leader in fundraising, supporting nonprofits and agencies. The global company is comprised of over 4,000 professionals, who support over 500 nonprofits on five continents through the use of advanced data analytics, progressive digital marketing, leading-edge technologies, hyper-personalization, and a proven creative and testing methodology. This support has helped their nonprofit clients collectively raise more than $5 billion each year.

Mail America’s proximity to numerous nonprofits played a major role in Innovairre’s initial decision to acquire it. “Innovairre was really looking for opportunities in a centralized location,” says Chad Stephenson, Senior Vice President of Operations at Innovairre. “When you’re mailing, you want to find a location that can get your product to the final customers in a timely manner, and the Central Virginia area does that for us. A lot of nonprofits are based in this area.”

The Forest branch of Innovairre plays an integral role in carrying out the company’s motto, which is “We Help People Who Help People.” It houses the company’s highly effective “Genuinely Penned Equipment,” which are specialized handwriting robots that wield real pens to create authentic-looking messages in mass-generated mail. According to Stephenson, “the personalized touch of ‘Genuinely Penned’ has taken our clients to a whole new level of marketing success.”

The addition of this cutting-edge technology is only one of the many ways the Forest office has grown since 2014. “We have new quality processes, we invest even more in our employees and their education, and we have brought on more high-tech jobs,” Stephenson says. “These are mind and body jobs: there are physical components to them, but at the same time, they are highly technical. It’s a career—not just a job—for the group we have here.”

Additionally, the Forest branch recently integrated the production facility from the Louisville, Kentucky branch, a move that will lead to a large hiring increase. “Bringing in the facility from Kentucky, we’re planning to bring on around 67 new full-time employees,” Stephenson says. “We’re also looking at adding over 200 homeworkers. These will be groups that will drive through, pick up product, and take it away. We’re really looking forward to adding this service.”

All of these developments have contributed to Innovairre’s ability to produce and deliver products more efficiently. “We’re now able to produce product faster, and that becomes a big driver for nonprofits, who are vying in a competitive market for donations,” says Stephenson. “In case of a disaster, [a nonprofit wants] to be the first to get the money back to the individuals who need that support.”

Innovairre recently announced an upcoming investiture in the Forest office that will allow it to help even more nonprofits in their efforts to help those in need. “To ensure success for all parties, in the past 36 months, we have invested $20 million on a global basis in state-of-the-art equipment and employee training,” Stephenson says. “In Bedford County, we will be investing $4.85 million, adding a dozen new jobs, and retaining and retraining 72 employees to both better compete in the new economy and support nonprofits even more effectively.”

Stephenson believes that the Forest branch is the ideal place for these developments to occur. “This investment in Bedford demonstrates our confidence in both the people of this community and in the local and state authorities who are truly great partners in ensuring our neighbors can be assured of securing and maintaining terrific careers,” he says. “We will be working with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to attract and train qualified talent from the area, including recent high school and college graduates.”

The proximity of many high schools and colleges is an especially large draw for Innovairre. “We’ve found that Bedford County is really willing to work with us on programs developing folks coming out of high school and college programs that are geared toward digital platforms,” Stephenson notes. “I don’t think anybody comes out of school and says, ‘I’m looking for a job in direct mail or printing,’ so we have to figure out what we can do to make our business one that people want to grow into. Bedford County has really helped us with that process.”

Although it is a global company and one of the largest employers in Bedford County, Innovairre strives to maintain a close-knit atmosphere amongst its employees. “We’re a large company with a small company mentality,” says Stephenson. “We all work toward a common goal of helping people help people, and that fosters that same feeling of community among our employees.”

A family-like atmosphere is especially pronounced at the Forest office because 45 family members from 20 families work together there.

Communication is the cornerstone of both Innovairre’s company culture and its mission to help nonprofits succeed. “We’re always looking at better ways to target communications,” Stephenson notes. “This entails looking at cutting-edge machines that are available and at different ways to help nonprofits achieve personalized communication and enhance the effectiveness of their delivery.”

In the future, Stephenson believes that Innovairre’s desire to support nonprofits—both globally and locally—will continue to drive growth and innovation. “We feel such an obligation to the charities that we serve and to our employees,” he says. “We want to continue to grow in the community and to be a provider that is looked upon as a partner and not just as a business. We want to continue to understand what our clients’ needs are and to invest in our Virginia facility.”