Pacesetters Maintain Lasting Relationships

Relationships have long been at the center of Redlands life.

And they also are at the heart of the Pacesetter Leadership Committee, where current leadership donors in the Pacesetters Society call other leadership donors to ask for their continued support.

"For me, the experience is more like a nice chat that I have with people at least once a year," said Bill Turnquist '53, who has been making the calls annually since 2005. "We pick up where we left off the year before and share news with each other. We usually chat for a good while before I get around to asking them about money."

Turnquist is one of more than 25 volunteers working to build a core group of annual leadership supporters through the Pacesetter Leadership Committee. The volunteers include alumni from the last six decades, as well as parents of alumni and former faculty.

The committee got its start in 2005, and members have talked to more than 590 people, netting contributions totaling more than $500,000 from about 400 people.

Leadership donors are essential to Redlands' future, with at least 85 percent of all private support reportedly coming in the form of donations of $1,000 or more.

John Cochenour, the dad of an alumnus, said he thinks the committee provides an important personal touch.

"People seem to really appreciate the call," said Cochenour, who is serving his second year on the committee. "I think that's because we are calling to say 'thank you.' And we make a point of letting them know that if they don't give this year, that's perfectly fine, because they have given in the past and we really appreciate their help. The goal is to let them know that what they have done means a lot to the university and to the students. It's about the relationship."

Both Cochenour and Turnquist said they are not natural fundraisers, and do not necessarily enjoy asking people about donations. But both said they make the calls because they see the value in maintaining relationships. "I'm not an enthusiastic solicitor," Turnquist said. "But I do feel good about calling in this sort of situation. All the folks I call were either in my class or a year ahead or a year behind. We have a rapport, and the calls give us an opportunity to ... connect."

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