A new on-campus phonathon program opened on Oct. 15 at Rose Hill, to help raise vital annual fund dollars to advance Fordham’s mission–all while providing jobs for University students.
The new calling center, which is housed in O’Hare Hall, will employ at least 20 Fordham students in flexible evening shifts to call alumni, parents, and friends of the University. Fordham partnered with strategic fundraising company RuffaloCODY to develop the student-based phonathon fundraising program.
Michelle Garland, the program center manager for Fordham’s phonathon, said student callers will speak to between 400 and 500 people each evening, especially alumni, parents and friends of the University, to invite them to participate by giving back to the University. The students will also collect updated information on those friends and alumni, and share campus news and upcoming events with them.
“We are also asking them to get involved, or to continue being involved, by supporting the Fordham Annual Fund to support the greatest needs of the University,” Garland said.
Contributions to the Annual Fund provide unrestricted funds that Fordham can apply to needs that arise anywhere in the University. In particular, this type of gift helps close the gap between tuition and the cost of a Fordham education.
Sydney Plant, assistant vice president for annual giving, said these types of gifts help enhance everything from campus facilities to libraries to academic programs—enhancements that add even more value to the investment of a Fordham education.
“The more we are able to do those things, the more Fordham’s name stays on the forefront, making the school increasingly valuable as a lifelong connection,” Plant said.
For students who are passionate about Fordham University, Garland said calling alumni and friends of the University is a great way to connect with the Fordham family.
“It gives students another opportunity to get advice from alumni who have been in their shoes, and an opportunity to get some career advice or networking opportunities,” she said.
Zachary Vasile, a Fordham College at Rose Hill junior, was the first to show up for the program’s opening shift.
“We’re helping to keep alumni involved, which helps Fordham present itself as a better school,” said Vasile, a communications major. “And of course, the Fordham Fund helps to defray the cost of school of students — so I think this job is unique and critical to the University.”
Garland said student workers at other universities have found a career path in advancing the mission of their alma maters. Many student phonathon workers have started a career in development after their experiences calling alumni, she said.
–Jennifer Spencer (photos by Joanna Klimaski)