For Phonathon Spring 2015 the goal is to raise $27,000, and this season Phonathon is incorporating new leadership to oversee the operations of the phone calls.
Donations last spring totaled $22,340, and the supervisor of Phonathon, Carley Evangelista, and her assistant managed the student callers during Phonathon. “This year I have hired student captains who have been callers for several seasons, and they are going to run the Phonathon by themselves without me,” she says. Evangelista plans to be at Phonathon for the first hour if the student captains need assistance. “This is really exciting because it gives them more responsibility…, and they can see the other end of things,” she says.
Phonathon, a call center, is an opportunity for students during the Fall and Spring semester each year typically a season in between four weeks to eight weeks, and for Phonathon 2015 the season is six weeks. Students can work on two times a week either Monday-Thursday 6p.m.-9p.m. or Saturday 1p.m-4p.m. There can be 10-20 student callers a season. This part-time job has multiple benefits. For instance, Phonathon has a system, Soar like an Eagle, where student callers’ names, written on paper eagles on a chart, are moved up a “mountain” as the callers raise more money, and when they raise $1,000 they receive a prize pack with gift cards, movie tickets, and Eastern items.
The interview process of Phonathon requires applicants to leave a voicemail on the Phonathon hotline, and the voicemail must follow specific instructions provided by Evangelista, “So I can hear how they are over the phone and follow instructions,” she says. If the applicants pass the voicemail trial they have an in-person interview with Evangelista, and she inquires after their interest in working for Phonathon, as well as their previous work experience.
Hired students then have a two-day training that lasts for three hours each day. The first day of training includes an overview of the software system, database, script reading, using phone call feature on software equipment, Eastern facts and information updates, background information of Eastern Fund, and phone call etiquette. The second day of training is when the student workers go through a test trial of calling and answering phone calls from real people, but not real donors yet, to better prepare them for the real phone calls.
The purpose Phonathon serves for the Eastern community is to raise money for the Eastern Fund, which aids students with their tuition. This operation is vital for creating and maintaining relationships at Eastern by updating alumni and parents contact information and informing them of Eastern changes. Phonathon is also important for enhancing Eastern’s level of financial support with participation of donators being rated by the US News and World Report, whether alumni or parents give one dollar or $50.
“It is important that we keep raising money for Eastern, so we can keep the students safe with campus improvements and we continue to provide the Eastern experience and communication for many more years to come,” Evangelista says.