“We get a dialogue going with the people. If we don’t call them, either a board member or someone connected is checking in with these people immediately to let them know how much we like them being there,” Pfeffer-Nohre says.
On top of that, every donor receives at least four touches a year. The type of touch depends on the donor — for instance, Pfeffer-Nohre may go to lunch with a $5,000 donor, while a $25 donor will get a different kind of touch, she says. But every donor is important and acknowledged at least four times a year.
Since Pfeffer-Nohre arrived in 1995, the number of donors has increased 273 percent, and the average gift to ATCC has increased 419 percent. More than 750 guests attended the 2011 luncheon, bringing in more than $250,000, and in fiscal year 2012, ATCC’s total contributions totaled $1.6 million, with about $300,000 coming directly from the luncheon.
“Stability has been a huge key to success for [ATCC],” Finch says. “They have had a single person [Pfeffer-Nohre] spearheading their fundraising for quite some time. She’s a real go-getter.”
Other keys, according to Finch, are that Talisma and ATCC agreed to think of the donors first and to respect donors’ wishes.
“If you don’t take care of your donors, you’ll just keep getting new ones until there’s no pool left, and you will not have taken care of the ones you established from the beginning,” Pfeffer-Nohre says. “Some of my strongest relationships are with people who have been to 11 lunches with me, and every year we add more.
“People need to know they’re appreciated, and they have to know how you use their money,” she adds. “… You can’t just take the gifts and say, ‘Thank you. See you later.’ They need to know that they’re important enough to you that you’ll keep in touch with a real relationship.”