James Read, Senior Vice President, BDI

Employee Spotlight: James Read Announced as BDI’s new Chief Creative Officer

“Creative solutions are essential for our fast-changing world.”

From Michael J. Tomlinson, CEO & President, Debbie Freeman, BDI Contributing Writer

Read Time: 5 minutes 

Philanthropy is always changing, which calls us to develop new ideas to leverage generosity and improve lives. Fundamentally, perpetual change challenges us to shake up how we used to do things.  There’s no systemic arrival, no stopping. The beauty of it? We’re always on our toes, always fired up to find new and creative answers to novel questions. 

At BDI, we’re committed to creative innovation that performs to meet the needs of the nonprofits and causes we serve. Creative solutions that help our client partners make a lasting impact on lives in their communities – and around the world – are absolutely vital to getting results.

In this pursuit, world class performance creative is an essential part of BDI’s DNA. Because of this, BDI is adding creative representation to its executive leadership team, and I am thrilled to share that James Read has accepted the challenge to serve as BDI’s Chief Creative officer.

For 30 years, James Read has helped cause-driven organizations convey world-changing ideas in ways that inspire constituents and move them to action. Since joining BDI in 2021, James has served as the leader of the agency’s Creative Team.

“I often say that leading a creative team is like conducting an orchestra. Success comes when you get everyone contributing their own individual genius while making sure everything is working together. I’ll be doing more of that in my new role, and I’m confident our clients will continue to see amazing creative work coming from BDI,” James said.

Before coming to BDI, James served with many of the top fundraising agencies in America, working on behalf of clients like, The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Muscular Dystrophy Association, AARP Foundation, World Vision, Teen Challenge, Open Doors with Brother Andrew, and Union Rescue Mission (Los Angeles), to name a very few.

His experience extends from copywriting to strategic development and multi-channel marketing… and from leading creative teams to starting his own successful boutique fundraising agency, Idearaising, which joined BDI in 2021.

“The concept of Idearaising was that every organization has a core idea that makes it great,” he explains. “Our purpose was to elevate those ideas, raise more money, increase donor engagement and build brand loyalty by developing customized strategy and creative for our clients.”

“In Philippians 3:10 Paul says, ‘I want to know Christ.’ For me, that’s an underlying motto,” James said. That conviction in part is what inspired James’ decision to join BDI back in 2021, and is what drives his passion to serve BDI’s client partners today.

“In this expanded leadership role, I’m really looking forward to spending more time in person with our partners’ leadership,” James said. “We’re in a new era of fundraising. Having a Chief Creative Officer on the executive team reflects BDI’s commitment to innovative problem solving for our clients. Creative solutions are essential for our fast-changing world.”

I am honored to have James in this new role on the executive team, and we couldn’t be more excited about the wealth of talent, experience, and passion he brings to our organization and especially the nonprofits we serve!

  • Michael Tomlinson, BDI CEO and President

    Michael J. Tomlinson, CEO and President

    Michael J. Tomlinson, better known as “MT,” is the CEO and President of BDI. With more than 25 years of executive leadership in business development and media, MT’s expertise involves leading organizations like Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk and Dunham+Company in the ideation and execution of successful integrated marketing, broadcast and digital media, and fundraising strategies that fuel growth.

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