Hi, I'm El Ridder, the president and founder of MDA.
Since 1973, I've been following God's call to raise funds for ministries that are showing the Lord's compassion and reaching people for Christ. Along with my wife Debi, I raised my own personal support when we joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ in 1972. That is when I first realized that I enjoy raising money.
Since leaving Campus Crusade staff in 1976, I've led successful fundraising initiatives across all varieties of media: direct mail, TV specials, radio and TV commercials, space advertising, telemarketing, and (over the past 15 years) the Internet. In addition to the media, I've enjoyed helping to make capital campaigns of up to $18,000,000 succeed.
My strength is strategy and what media is right for what ask─what nuggets are in your organization or ministry that, when presented properly, raise funding.
MDA (founded in 1981) is extremely bottom-line oriented. We focus not on promises, but on real live dollars being raised. On a personal level, it is when I raise funds for Kingdom work that I feel God's favor.
Allow me to introduce you to two key members of the MDA team:
Lawrence W. O'Nan, Vice President of Stewardship Strategies:
Lawrence (Larry) W. O'Nan is a 1966 graduate of the University of Colorado. Before joining MDA in 1984, Larry served for over 18 years on the fulltime staff of Campus Crusade for Christ. During this time, Larry was privileged to oversee the raising of more than $150 million for evangelism and discipleship. Today, Larry is a frequent speaker in the United States and abroad in lifestyle stewardship. He consults in the areas of management, major gifts strategy design and implementation, and funding campaigns; his counsel and direction to numerous development initiatives has resulted in millions of dollars raised to help accelerate ministry objectives. He is the author of Giving Yourself Away as well as the co-author of the Church Stewardship Inventory, the Organization Stewardship Inventory, the Personal Stewardship Inventory, and the Success Probability Inventory. Larry serves as the chairman of the elder board of Judson Baptist Church, as the chairman of the board of The National Network of Youth Ministries, and as a board member of Transformation Ministries. He and his wife of 39 years, Pat, reside in Highland, California. They are blessed with two daughters, two sons-in-law, and four grandchildren.
Carol Watts, Director of Creative Services:
Carol has been on the MDA team for 14 years, concentrating on direct mail copy writing as well as cause concept evaluation, package design, web copy, and more. She has "ghost written" for some of the most well-known names in para-church organizations, as well as for Christian colleges and universities. Writing to capture the hearts of high value donors who have the capacity to give for years to come, the appeals she writes (including New Donor Acquisitions) focus on both "head and heart" and consistently garner $70-$100 average gifts. Carol offers clients a fast response time coupled with factually accurate and moving appeals that honor the "voice" of the signer and get results. She received her BA in English from Pepperdine University (1998) and graduated as the Salutatorian of her class; she now lives in Orange, California with her Engineer husband, two growing boys, Raleigh the English Pointer, and Bailey the cat.