Student phonathon tops $1-million mark for the first time ever

Phonathon this year was a student-run operation | April 21, 2008

Seven months ago, 40 students gathered in a phone room in the Alumni Center to do what many students before them have done. They worked every evening, phoning alumni, parents and friends of Xavier, asking for contributions to the University’s annual fund, which provides critical operating revenue. The difference this year, however, is that the efforts of these students garnered more than $1 million dollars for the first time ever.

Another difference this year is that the callers were led by three managers: recent graduate Steve Taylor, and two full-time students, Amanda Robinson and Erin Swietlik. In the past, one development person managed the process. When Xavier’s phonathon manager resigned in August 2007 to take a position at another university, these three students stepped up to lead the program. Taylor, a 2007 graduate, managed the day-to-day operational aspects of the program, while Robinson and Swietlik took on the shift supervision and management of the student callers. Based on their personal experiences as callers, they designed improvements to the program that would encourage the personal and professional development of the students.  This focus on the students created an atmosphere for success—success for the students and, ultimately, success for the annual fund.

“At a time when it is getting more and more difficult to connect with alumni by phone, it is extraordinary that we reached the million dollar mark,” says Norah Mock, senior associate director for the Annual Fund. “This represents a 28-percent increase in the amount and number of pledges to the annual fund’s phonathon. Our phonathon students understand firsthand the need for alumni support and they are able to articulate it in such a compelling way that parents, friends and alumni respond with generous contributions to the annual fund.” 

Gifts to the annual fund not only help keep tuition costs down, but also ensure that the quality of the Xavier educational experience remains at the highest possible level. The annual fund allows alumni and friends of the University to play a very active role in maintaining and passing on the values and ideals that make Xavier such a special place. The gap—$16,750—is the difference between what it costs Xavier to educate a full-time student for one year and the average amount paid by each student. Gifts to the annual fund fill this gap.