Fundraising list pioneer Carol Enters has died. She was 82.
Enters died on March 8 due to complications from breast cancer and had been in hospice care, said her niece, Janet Donaruma.
Enters opened the Carol Enters List Co., (CELCO) in Fairfax, Va., in 1981 and sold it in 1993, retiring to Florida. She spent her retirement years performing at hospitals as a clown, said Donaruma. “She collected clowns for years, big ones, little ones, hanging ones, expensive ones, lots and lots of clown collections,” she said.
“Carol’s passion for helping nonprofits, her exemplary leadership skills and direct marketing expertise were well known and loved by her clients, friends and peers all across the country,” was part of a statement issued by CELCO. “Carol was a one-of-a-kind trail blazer in direct mail fundraising, helping to establish many of the practices in the list industry that created the foundation we all work from today,” the statement continued.
Her death brought about numerous remembrances, even though she had not been active in the industry in nearly two decades. Said Jane Biral of Jane Biral Associates in Hartford, Conn., “She started at the beginning of the direct mail industry.” She met Enters when the firm handled the list for the United Negro College Fund. “It was Carol who I asked what a BRE (business reply envelope) was,” she said.
“She was just a dragon in business, but intensely loyal. Nothing she wouldn’t do for you,” said Biral. “She came into the room and the sun shined brighter.”
Linda Feruzzi, vice president of infoGroup/nonprofit in Greenwich, Conn., remembers meeting Enters for the first time. “I went to my first DMFA (Direct Mail Fundraisers Association) Luncheon with my brand new boss and later mentor, Don Kuhn, and the first person I encountered was Carol Enters. Don had a great deal of respect for her and took care to let me know that she was a formidable competitor,” said Feruzzi. “He also told me that she was one of, if not the first list broker to computerize her business with Tandy computers.”
Said Feruzzi: “She was a titan in the industry, a name everyone knew along with Sanky Perlowin, Harold Oram, and Kay Lautman. She was mighty.”
According to Dub Williams of Belardi Ostroy in Washington, D.C., “She was one of those pioneers of direct marketing. A real character. I will remember her for her dyed red hair and her personality, and she would say whatever she wanted. She wouldn’t hold back.”
Ed Briggs, now retired and living in Arizona, formerly of Names in the News California and List Services Corporation, counted Enters as a friend. “She was an amazing lady. We were competitors in direct mail fundraising. At the time there weren’t too many of us. Yet, we were all really good friends. We would always joke with each other and make fun of each other.”
She is survived by a sister, Patricia, sons Gregory (Dianne) and Bruce, stepdaughter Trish (Beth), granddaughters Julie (Chris) and Jennifer (Brian), great-granddaughter Elle Monet and nieces Janet, Renee, Kathy and Frances. Enters did not want a funeral service. The family asked that donation be made to a breast cancer charity or to the Suncoast Hospice, Pinallas Park, Fla.