Inventory of the
Stephen Thomas Limited fonds

Inventory #F0536

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Fonds/Collection Number:F0536
Title:Stephen Thomas Limited fonds
Extent:33.1 m of textual records
Biographical Sketch/
Administrative History:
Stephen Morley Thomas (1945- ) was born in Kingston, Ontario. He earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Western Ontario in 1968 and a Masters of Arts in Historical Geography from York University in 1971. In the early 1970s, Thomas taught geography and history; from 1970 to 1971, he taught at the International School Eerde in the Netherlands and from 1971 to 1972 at the Crescent School, a private boys' school in Toronto. Between 1977 and 1978, Thomas taught Labour History and Human Studies at Humber College. With an interest in international development, Thomas sought a job with Oxfam Ontario in 1973. The only position available was as the organization's fundraiser, which Thomas accepted. There, he gained his first experiences with direct response mail. Following his time at Oxfam, Thomas spent two years (1975-1977) as Director of Development at Humber College. In 1977, Thomas became the New Democratic Party's first professional fundraiser, a position in which he would continue until the creation of his company, Stephen Thomas Associates, in 1980. Two years later Stephen Thomas Associates Consulting Limited was established as the first Canadian-owned and -operated direct marketing agency specializing in fundraising for not-for-profit organizations. Since its establishment, the company's clients have largely been organizations devoted to democracy and socialism, health, humanitarianism, environmentalism, children and youth services, feminist and women's issues, disability and rehabilitation and public broadcasting. Clients have included the New Democratic Party, the Red Cross Society, the Schizophrenia Society, Oxfam Canada, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Kids Help Phone, Planned Parenthood, the Ontario March of Dimes, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting and TVOntario. During its first years, Stephen Thomas Limited worked exclusively at producing mailing campaigns. The company expanded its direct marketing services in 1984 to include telephone solicitations. In 1989, Stephen Thomas Limited began to conduct campaigns via Electronic Mail, a telegram-style product administered by Canada Post. During the 1990s the company expanded its services once more to include planned gifts and bequests, intermediate giving, magazine advertisements, special events, email fundraising, mailing lists management, brokering and analysis and general fundraising consulting. In 2003, Stephen Thomas Associates Consulting Limited became known as Stephen Thomas Limited. The firm merged with FRM Consulting (a strategic and data analytics consultancy) and marketing firm Gail Picco Associates in 2006 and began to specialize in direct and digital marketing, database analytics, capital campaigns, branding and communications. Thomas' work in the direct response marketing field has been recognized on several occasions. The Canadian (Direct) Marketing Association awarded Thomas the Directors' Choice Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. In 2002, Thomas was presented with the Outstanding Fundraising Executive Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Toronto Chapter. In 2006, Amnesty International honoured Thomas for 25 years of fundraising on its behalf.
Scope and Content:

Fonds consists of correspondence, legal documents, sample mailings, mailing reports, research notes and background materials, as well as published materials produced by and about the company's clients and prospective clients. The records document Stephen Thomas Limited's activities as a direct response fundraising company from the 1970s to 2004. Records show the impact of changing technologies on direct response fundraising methods during this thirty-year period. Records also provide evidence of how clients used direct response marketing to communicate information about their missions and activities in order to raise funds. Files pertaining to mailings document how the company and its founder researched, produced, tracked and reported on fundraising campaigns. Client files provide information about the organizations and individuals with which Stephen Thomas Limited worked and events in which the company was involved. List Department files document how the company brokered mailing lists in 2001.

S00382Mailing files
S00383New Democratic Party mailing files
S00384Client files
S00385List Department files
Restrictions on
Access and Use:
No restrictions on access.
Finding Aid: File list available. Glossary of fundraising terms available in the Reading Room of the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections.
Accruals: The fonds comprises the following accessions: 2008-020, 2008-027. Further accruals may be expected.
Provenance Access Points:Thomas, Steve, 1945-
Stephen Thomas Limited

Date of creation: 2008/08/26
Date of last revision: 2008/08/26
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