For-profit

O’Brien Garrett

Website:

obriengarrett.com

Location:

Washington, DC, United States

Type:

Democratic-aligned Political Consulting Firm

Leaders:

Frank O’Brien

Yvonne Garrett

Offices:

Washington, D.C.

New Orleans, LA

O’Brien Garrett is a major Washington, D.C.-based fundraising and political consulting firm founded by Democratic political operative Frank O’Brien in 1987. It was previously known as O’Brien McConnell Pearson and branded as OMP Direct. Yvonne Garrett later joined the firm as a partner after serving as vice president for client services at the Share Group,[1] and the firm was renamed in 2016. [2]

The company caters to influential and wealthy clients on the Left, including Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Oxfam America, the NAACP, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. [3] From mid-2017 to mid-2018, Planned Parenthood paid O’Brien Garrett $75.6 million for consulting services. [4]

History

Frank O’Brien is a veteran political fundraiser. He was a lead field organizer on former Secretary of State John Kerry’s first campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives representing Massachusetts. [5]

O’Brien then went to the Democratic National Committee in Washington as a fundraiser. [6]His firm credits O’Brien with adapting the DNC to using mass communication and using research and analytics to more effectively contact donors and determine motivations of potential donors. He brought these practice to the company. [7]

The company that would become O’Brien Garrett was incorporated on January 29, 1987. [8] Obrien partnered with Scott McConnell, a specialist in fundraising, and Anita Pearson, who was involved with direct marketing for the firm, managed the firm’s staff, and handled business affairs. [9] During this period, the firm was known as OMP Direct; McConnell and Pearson are not listed on the company website as part of the staff as of 2020.

On June 15, 2016, the company announced it was changing its name from OMP to O’Brien Garrett. O’Brien said: “The new name is a reflection of the great partnership that CEO Yvonne Garrett and I have with our incredible clients. We have worked together for more than a decade to help drive some of the biggest success stories in fundraising today.” [10] Garrett previously worked on fundraising for Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign. [11]

Garrett is the CEO of the company and leads the donor research division. She conducts thousands of interviews of donors each year, according to the company. She was previously a fundraiser for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. She later became a vice president at Share Group, where she worked to raise money for groups such as Greenpeace, the Human Rights Campaign, and Democratic candidates. [12]

In the 2016 election, Garrett donated $5,400 to the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. [13]

Staff

The company has a staff of 40 across both the Washington and New Orleans office. [14]

Teresa Weaver is the vice president of client services, with expertise in data and analytics. She previously worked in direct mail fundraising at both Production Solutions and Stephen Winchell Associates. [15]

Emily Courville is the vice president of analytics and data. She previously worked in theater as a designer and stage manager. She later began a career at Target Analysis Group and Target Analytics, a Blackbaud Company. She also worked in data operations at the Humane Society of the United States. [16]

Charvonne Hill is the director of human resources and administration. She joined the firm in December 2006, with 14 years of prior experience in human resources that included training and recruiting employees. [17]

Mary O’Neill is the director of operations and talent. She joined the company in 2018. She previously worked for several associations. She has worked for two decades in organizations focuses on “social change.” [18]

Election Year Strategy

The company warns advocacy groups often suffer the most during election years because big donors shift their money to candidates. It advises nonprofit advocacy groups to focus on “can’t wait” work when appealing to donors in elections years. Advocacy groups should also not run big online fundraising campaigns up to the political conventions. [19]

During the 2016 election, the company’s website stated frankly that Donald Trump is better for progressive fundraising than Hillary Clinton, stating, “If Hillary Wins, worry about donor energy. Donor reaction to a Hillary win might be less about excitement and more about a big sigh of relief that the country dodged the Trump bullet. … If Trump Wins… you know what to do. No, not move to Canada. Experience tells us that progressives react to bitter defeats with an initial burst of ‘fighting spirit’ giving.” [20]

O’Brien Garrett warns during an election, “Planning your calendar through November and sticking with it may not be in the cards.” It warns groups not to show doubt, stating, “Organizations that are unsure of the importance of their own work can’t convince donors of that importance. Donors will smell your fears.” As for the election, the firm states, “Get all in or all out on the elections. Groups that have a legitimate electoral role should play that card all the way, while recognizing that the closer the Election gets, the more candidate focused donors become. But, don’t fake it. If you’re not naming candidates you support or oppose, stay out of the game.” [21]

References

  1. Frank O’Brien. Spoke. Accessed February 15, 2020. http://www.spoke.com/people/o-brien-frank-3e1429c09e597c1003ab1380 ^
  2. Frank O’Brien. Spoke. Accessed February 15, 2020. http://www.spoke.com/people/o-brien-frank-3e1429c09e597c1003ab1380 ^
  3. “Our Leadership.” O’Brien Garrett. Accessed January 9, 2020. https://obriengarrett.com/our-leadership/ ^
  4. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Planned Parenthood Federation of America. 2017 (covering July 2017 – June 2018). Schedule G. Part I. ^
  5. About. Accessed February 15, 2020. https://obriengarrett.com/about/ ^
  6. About. Accessed February 15, 2020. https://obriengarrett.com/about/ ^
  7. About. Accessed February 15, 2020. https://obriengarrett.com/about/ ^
  8. O’Brien Garrett. Open Corporates. Accessed February 15, 2020. https://opencorporates.com/companies/us_dc/EXTUID_2796510 ^
  9. ^
  10. Press Release. “OMP, Inc. Becomes O’Brien Garrett.” June 15, 2016. Accessed February 15, 2020. https://obriengarrett.com/news/ ^
  11. Frank O’Brien. Spoke. Accessed February 15, 2020. http://www.spoke.com/people/o-brien-frank-3e1429c09e597c1003ab1380 ^
  12. “Our Leadership.” O’Brien Garrett. Accessed January 9, 2020. https://obriengarrett.com/our-leadership/ ^
  13. “Individual Contributions.” Federal Election Commission. Search conducted January 9, 2020. Paramaters: Name: Yvonne Garrett; Employer: O’Brien Garrett. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=yvonne+garrett&contributor_employer=o%27brien+garrett ^
  14. O’Brien Garrett. Idealist. Accessed February 15, 2020. https://www.idealist.org/en/consultant/b8570b723f3e440e83629c0c8cccbbc0-obrien-garrett-washington ^
  15. “Our Leadership.” O’Brien Garrett. Accessed January 9, 2020. https://obriengarrett.com/our-leadership/ ^
  16. “Our Leadership.” O’Brien Garrett. Accessed January 9, 2020. https://obriengarrett.com/our-leadership/ ^
  17. “Our Leadership.” O’Brien Garrett. Accessed January 9, 2020. https://obriengarrett.com/our-leadership/ ^
  18. “Our Leadership.” O’Brien Garrett. Accessed January 9, 2020. https://obriengarrett.com/our-leadership/ ^
  19. “On Our Minds.” O’Brien Garrett. Accessed February 15, 2020. https://obriengarrett.com/on-our-minds/ ^
  20. “On Our Minds.” O’Brien Garrett. Accessed February 15, 2020. https://obriengarrett.com/on-our-minds/ ^
  21. “On Our Minds.” O’Brien Garrett. Accessed February 15, 2020. https://obriengarrett.com/on-our-minds/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Yvonne Garrett
    Chief Executive Officer
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O’Brien Garrett

1133 19th Street, NW
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036
United States