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Tech Impact merges with marketing firm Message Agency

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Tech Impact, the nonprofit IT organization, has merged with Philadelphia marketing firm Message Agency to expand its services. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

WILMINGTON – Tech Impact, a nonprofit organization that offers IT management and project  development services to other nonprofits nationwide, is merging with a regional digital marketing agency.

Tech Impact announced its merger with Philadelphia-based Message Agency, which focuses on nonprofits, foundations, higher education, and government, on Monday. The terms of the deal, which was effective Aug. 31, were not disclosed.

The Philadelphia-headquartered Tech Impact is well acquainted with the First State, operating an IT bootcamp program and Opportunity Center in downtown Wilmington while also acquiring the Delaware Data Innovation Lab last year.

Tech Impact CEO Patrick Callihan

Tech Impact CEO Patrick Callihan | PHOTO COURTESY OF TECH IMPACT

The opportunity to merge with Message was a long time in the making, according to Patrick Callihan, CEO of Tech Impact.

“We’ve known Message for about 15 years. We’ve referred business to one another over those years. We’ve worked on projects together over those years, and we were even neighbors in the same building at one point,” he told Delaware Business Times.

It took about a year to work through the deal and actually close it, Callihan said. Tech Impact sees the addition of Message – a certified B Corp that has demonstrated high social and environmental performance – as highly complementary to its own work.

“We do a lot of tech work for nonprofit organizations, but we’ve never been in the digital services arena, such as websites and branding. But a lot of our clients asked for that,” he noted. “Bringing their expertise to the table really is a huge benefit for our organization.”

Instead of trying to build those services organically, Tech Impact saw the ability to add a well-regarded firm as a way to quickly advance its work.

Founded in 2007, Message completes digital campaigns, brands and visual identities, interactive websites, and complex web applications, serving small volunteer organizations up to large international nonprofits. Counted among its clients are ProjectHOME, the Juvenile Law Center, Independence Public Media Foundation, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Cornell University, Yale University, and Girls Who Invest.

“We are excited to join forces with Tech Impact,” said Message founder and principal Marcus Iannozzi, who will join Tech Impact as chief digital officer, in a statement. “It enables continued growth and allows us to offer a broader array of technology services to our clients and theirs. It was important to me that the next stage in our agency’s evolution honored our values and supported the commitment of both our staff and clients to social change. We are so well-aligned with Tech Impact in our approach to decision-making, prioritizing nonprofit needs, and keeping our services accessible, it was a logical progression to our current collaboration. Together, we can continue to do well and do good for even more organizations.” 

Callihan said that he also expected both Message, which will retain its own brand for now as a division under Tech Impact, to benefit from the insights developed from the Data Innovation Lab.

“Data is really booming in the nonprofit sector and when you look at some of the skillsets that are involved from Message Agency, particularly like front-end web development, it aligns really well with the work we’re doing in the Data Lab, because so much of that relies on visualization,” he explained.

The addition of Message will add about 15% to Tech Impact’s annual revenue, pushing it to about $17 million. It will also add 17 more employees to the nonprofit that currently has about 120 employees.

While Message marks the fourth merger or acquisition for Tech Impact in its history, Callihan said that the nonprofit aims to continue growing organically as well, with open positions currently being hired.

“We believe in growth,” he said. “As we grow, that means we’re reaching more nonprofits who need these services … and it provides growth opportunities for our own associates within the organization as well. So, we have no intention of slowing down.”

Tech Impact currently has major operations in Delaware and Philadelphia, but it also operates a training center in Las Vegas that is growing as well. While the nonprofit has embraced remote working and has associates in states where it doesn’t have a physical presence, Callihan is looking to expand their brick-and-mortar footprint.

“We’re currently out there looking at potential sites for expansion of our workforce programs,” he said. “There’s still a lot of communities that can really benefit from the work that we’re doing.”

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