Unsung Hero: Patricia Squires
Donor Relations and Operations
When a role is created with an employee in mind, you know they’ve made an impact on their organization. For Patricia Squires, that is her story. Over the course of a decade, she has been making deep connections with donors at Angela Hospice, so her organization promoted her to a donor relations and operations role. Her compassion for donors — most of whom have recently lost a loved one — has resulted in her acclaim as Nonprofit PRO’s 2022 Unsung Hero.
Pat is the person who receives calls from those wanting to honor a deceased loved one via a commemorative memorial, which can be anything from a brass plaque to having a tree planted at the nonprofit’s Livonia, Michigan, headquarters. She assists donors from their initial call through the placement of the memorial.
“The last fiscal year alone Pat raised over $50,000 and is well on her way to reaching that again this year, although no one will be surprised if she surpasses it,” her nominator told NonProfit PRO. “But for Pat it isn’t about the funds she raises, it’s about truly making sure donors feel good about the memorial they have selected.”
Part of Squires’ connection to donors comes from her ability to relate to their pain. Her husband, Robert, was a patient at Angela Hospice in 2018. Her empathy and experience with the Angela Hospice grief care team allows her to share with donors how they helped her after her husband’s passing. And she does not push donors toward the most expensive memorial or dismiss their questions and rush them when they want to talk about their loved one.
“Pat has that hospice heart so many speak about — one full of love and care for others — something that’s been on display since she joined the team in 2011,” her nominator told NonProfit PRO. “She’ll be the first to tell you that she loves this job, and simply just wants to help others.”
Each year since her husband’s death, she and her family form one of the largest teams for Angela Hospice’s annual Walk of Remembrance event. However, one of Squires’ biggest projects each year is the Arbor Day Ceremony. Donors who purchased memorial trees within the past year are invited to the nonprofit’s property to see their trees planted.
“Moments like this are when Pat shines, chatting with donors who she already knows by name, [and] continuing to share stories about those they’ve both loved and lost,” her nominator told NonProfit PRO. “She never rushes anyone, clearly content to sit and listen, to be a part of their journey, helping others in a much bigger way than she would ever actually acknowledge herself.”
Though part of her fundraising efforts come through sales, like the memorial trees, Squires develops deep donor relationships, a key to keeping donors close to the cause.
“The people who then stay connected and continue to donate to Angela Hospice because of her — well, that amount goes far beyond the dollar total she has at the end of each fiscal year,” her nominator told NonProfit PRO.
Related story: 2022 Rising Star: Katie Patrick
Amanda L. Cole is the editor-in-chief of NonProfit PRO. She was formerly editor-in-chief of special projects for NonProfit PRO's sister publication, Promo Marketing. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.