Phonathon needs volunteers

This year’s annual phonathon is about to begin, and the Development and Alumni Relations Office is looking for volunteers to work the phones. The phonathon is a yearly job opportunity for all students to help out NVU-Johnson and earn $13 an hour while doing it. This year, the phonathon will start in November and go up until finals, with more chances of work possible during the second semester.

The phonathon, an annual fundraising tradition, has multiple purposes according to NVU Director of Development and Alumni Relations, Lauren Philie.

“First, we want to get their updated contact information,” Philie said. “So we want to make sure we have their correct phone number and email, and see if they’ve changed jobs.

“We also want to collect news from them for the alumni magazine, so we can see if they’re into career mentoring or pair them up to come be a guest lecturer, nominate them for an alumni award, or feature them in our Facebook group — all sorts of things to stay updated with people’s lives. We also ask them for a gift based on what their last gift was.”

While this can seem overwhelming, students who are hired then receive training along with a script for calling alumni.

“The position really requires strong verbal and written communication skills,” said Philie. “We’re looking for people who can maintain professionalism in a high-stress situation and think strategically. There are some skills that we look for our callers to have right off the bat, but really, if you’re willing and able to do it, we’re happy to train you.”

Training consists of a two-to-three hour training session. “We review things like how to make the calls, maintain positivity, how to record your calls, how to log what happens on a spreadsheet and most importantly reviewing the script,” Philie said.

Callers are given a script that outlines potential scenarios. “You don’t have to wing it,” Philie said. “You just have to be familiar with how to read it so you know how to respond.”

Along with training the phonathon offers flexible hours for their callers. “We make calls from Sunday night to Thursday nights,” Philie said. “However, students can pick their shifts. We just ask that you work two shifts a week at least, you could work all five if you’d like to, but at least two shifts a week.”

The phonathon falls under the jurisdiction of alumni outreach and fundraising, so much of the work is overseen by Philie. This year however, they are down in staff, so Sabra Snyder, a recent Lyndon graduate, has been employed to help both the Johnson and Lyndon campuses run their phonathons this fall.

“It’s been really nice to have that extra help. She was a phonathon caller herself at Lyndon for all four of her years there, so she really knows how it works,” Philie said.

If $13 an hour and a fun environment to work in are not enough to convince you to apply, there are also incentives available for callers.

“It’s like the student who has gotten the most new emails at the end of the week receives a prize, and the student who has raised the most money receives a prize. So we try to make it fun in that way,” said Philie.

According to her, the phonathon, while offering students money for their work, team building, and a fun work environment, is also an opportunity to build communication skills along with getting to know alumni while alumni gets to know them.

Students interested in participating should contact Philie at [email protected].