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Phonathons

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Why We Hung Up on the Telefund
CURRENTS Article In September 2016, Stanford University made a surprising decision: We eliminated our phone program for fundraising, the result of a dramatic rise in negative responses to our calling. In 2011, for every eight people who answered our calls and made gifts, only one said, "Never call me again." By 2015, the ratio was 3-to-1. From complaints in our general inbox to offhand comments in meetings with alumni, we knew that our calls were alienating prospective donors—and that we were compromising tomorrow's gifts with today's annoying asks.

Time to Redefine Student Calling
Article,  BriefCASE Article As philanthropy and higher education evolve, colleges and universities must redefine student calling approaches to bring about better results in alumni fundraising, engagement and service. That's according to Ronald A. Cohen, vice president of University Relations at Susquehanna University and a recent webinar presenter on student phonathons.

The Apprentices
CURRENTS Article With the Student Philanthropy Officer pilot program in York University's annual giving office, students can graduate from phonathon calls to face-to-face asks of alumni.

Beyond Annual Giving
CURRENTS Article Here are five ways to get the most out of your call center.

Our Favorite Fund Fashions
CURRENTS Article How student fundraisers/phonathon callers dress for success (and what CURRENTS staffers think about the designs)

Pass or Fail?
CURRENTS Article Most universities inform alumni about an upcoming phonathon in writing and give graduates the opportunity to opt out.

Dynamic Phonathons Still Have Value
Article,  BriefCASE Article Even with the rise of online giving, a phonathon is still a vital part of any successful annual fund, says one practitioner.

Creating a More Dynamic Annual Fund Phonathon
Podcast Nates Jones, of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association, discusses how phonathons can accomplish a lot more than just soliciting donors. Also, learn some creative ways to motivate students callers.

A Ringing Endorsement for Student Phonathons
Article,  BriefCASE Article Any educational institution can set up a successful student phonathon program with some creativity and a modest investment, says the head of a community college foundation in Vancouver, Wash.

Students Dial Up Donations
Article,  Community College News Article Involving students in phonathons is a great way to generate excitement on campus and drum up community support for an annual fund, says a development officer at a Michigan community college, who adds that most students say they love the work and are happy to help.

Ring It Up
CURRENTS Article A variety of institutions weigh in on how to keep phonathons vital and productive despite challenges, including the down economy and lower call-completion rates.

Advance Work: Cracking the Code
CURRENTS Article Keying in 300 pledge cards after a phonathon was an all-day activity until Mississippi's Delta State University started tracking alumni by barcode and using a scanner.

Success Within Reach
CURRENTS Article Phonathons are an opportunity to connect students and alumni who share a passion for the institution. But to communicate that passion, first you need to recruit the right students, train them on the mechanics of calling and the messages you want conveyed, and motivate them to give their all—even when you can't pay them much. The author describes the hiring, training, and motivation tactics she used to turn around poor-performing phonathons at Ball State University and the University of South Carolina.

AdvanceWork: Hanging Up on Alma Mater?
CURRENTS Article Even though charities, including education institutions, are exempt from the bulk of the Do Not Call Registry, phonathon callers are likely to get some complaints and inquiries as the new law takes effect. Communication with alumni and other prospects and scripts for responding to such complaints will help ease frustrations.

Mining for Gold
CURRENTS Article Profiles of 12 CASE Circle of Excellence 2003 winners. Member institution nominees were judged on the creativity of their alumni relations, communications, and development initiatives, including alumni publications, reunions, constituency giving, stewardship, and alumni relations programs. Profiled winners include Brigham Young University/University of Utah; Columbia College Chicago; Georgia Tech Alumni Association; Goucher College; Imperial College London; the Institute for Shipboard Education; Lehigh University Alumni Association; Monroe Community College Foundation; Pennsylvania State University; the University of Chicago; the University of Iowa Alumni Association; and the University of Miami.

AdvanceWork: Roaming for a Gift
CURRENTS Article As cell phone use continues to rise, phonathon managers must acquire prospects' mobile numbers and learn alumni preferences on which number to call. This Advancework item is of interest to phonathon organizers and annual-giving directors.

AdvanceWork: Looking for Tunes to Rally Your Callers?
CURRENTS Article Check out these selections.

AdvanceWork: Believe the Hype
CURRENTS Article Kansas State doesn't need to pay telefund callers when it's got loyal students

AdvanceWork: Patriot Games
CURRENTS Article This AdvanceWork item discusses advancement officers’ concerns about a last-minute provision added to the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001. The provision requires the Federal Trade Commission to promulgate rules addressing fraudulent charitable solicitations. Long notes, however, that the FTC has no authority over nonprofit and charity organizations, and concludes that the new law has few implications for education fund raising.

AdvanceWork: Calling All Student Volunteers
CURRENTS Article Campus groups earn cash for their cause through phonathon work

Phonathon Software 2000
CURRENTS Article This article provides a list of phonathon software programs, with information about vendors, costs, features, and technical requirements.

AdvanceWork: Many Happy Returns
CURRENTS Article As annual giving directors know, getting a donor's pledge is only half the battle.

Tech Support: Making Contact
CURRENTS Article Most alumni welcome calls from their alma mater, but telephone privacy guards often make it difficult to get through. Annual giving officers can increase phonathon success through savvy use of technology, Web and e-mail communication, and better research.

AdvanceWork: Calling All Alumni
CURRENTS Article Four tips from development officers regarding international phonathons.

In Advance: Saturday Night Fever?
CURRENTS Article Telefundraising survey results indicate that midweek evenings are the most popular times to call

Hold the Phone
CURRENTS Article The author explores strategies designed to help a phonathon operation become more successful. The most important issue to address is to make sure the callers are well-trained and prepared to ask for large gifts from donors. Second, it is essential for the caller to build a relationship with the donor prior to asking for the gift. Next, callers need to ask the donor for the gift, and make sure the gift is fulfilled. To increase fulfillment rates, give donors enough time before the end of the year to pay, don’t waste time on those who repeatedly pledge but don’t pay, discourage installment payments, encourage credit card gifts, and send reminders. It is necessary to keep callers motivated and encouraged to ask for big gifts. Treating callers professionally and offering cheerful surroundings are just two ways callers can feel more appreciated in the telemarketing environment.

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