Reach for the Stars!
“Karen makes deadlines, not excuses,” Dentzer writes. “There are few people I would trust with the future of our chapter, and Karen is one of them.”
Major gifts manager
Before she joined WaterPartners International in July 2006, Nikki Speer was a gift officer at the University of Central Missouri, where she helped close one of the largest planned gifts in the university’s history. Prior to that, she was with Mississippi University for Women, where she resurrected an all-but-defunct annual gift program and helped it grow by 30 percent annually.
According to Steven Byers, director of development and communications for WaterPartners, Nikki helped to nearly double both the number of major donors and dollars raised for the organization within her first year. She also secured a $1 million-plus planned gift bequest.
“Nikki is the most naturally gifted development professional I have worked with in my 20 years in fundraising,” Byers writes. “She is always willing to lend a hand to her colleagues and do whatever it takes to get the job done. She epitomizes all the best attributes of our profession.”
Tracey Van Hook
Director of development
Foundation for Excellence in Education
Tracey Van Hook joined the Volunteer Florida Foundation in 2004 at a time when massive hurricanes were ravaging the state, and the foundation was tasked with initiating the Florida Disaster Recovery Fund. Tracey was hired wth no fundraising experience and little time for training. “Tracey’s resolve never waned, and her pitch and approach for the nonprofit arena grew exponentially. She never balked at performing the base functions necessary to get us to our goal — prospecting, research, framing the ask, follow-through and just plain eagerness to pick up the phone,” according to foundation Senior Vice President Fonda Anderson. “Regardless of the hours and the stress, Tracey made every call with a smile in her voice and a sense of purpose and passion that is innate in fundraising success.”