Phonathon benefits students, university


Story by Nathalia Barr, Managing Editor

Phonathon is an on-campus job opportunity for students that also raises money for the university. Hired students are tasked with calling alumni to ask for donations to the Baker Fund.

“Baker Fund is the engine that keeps Baker driving,” Kelsey Nolte, assistant director of development and alumni relations, said. This is her first year being the supervisor for Phonathon.

The fall Phonathon generated 215 gifts, or donations, that raised over $25,000 toward the Baker Fund.

Phonathon helps raise “unrestricted dollars” for Baker, Senior Director of Development Amy Piersol said. These resources are flexible and go toward a variety of purposes including scholarships, faculty and coaches, campus upkeep, and building renovations. A prime example of this is the construction of the Ivan L. Boyd Center, which came partially from the Baker Fund.

Not only does Phonathon raise money, but it also keeps alumni informed and involved in Baker events.

“Most alumni enjoy hearing from us,” senior Lauren Fleener said. “It’s good to know you have high alumni support in your school.”

Fleener has worked as a Phonathon caller for a year and a half, and her experiences have helped her acquire the “professionalism, communication skills and networking capabilities that Baker already promotes.”

Senior Katie Duggan is the student supervisor for Phonathon this year.

“We are looking for students that are personable, friendly and have strong communication skills to talk to alumni,” Duggan said.

While not all alumni will be willing to donate, Duggan and Fleener both noted that the job is a simple way for students to earn money. Fleener described it as a comfortable job that just requires you to go with the flow of conversations.

“You just have to talk on the phone with people,” Nolte said. “So you could even wear your pajamas to work if you wanted.”

Many alumni who donate gifts once tend to donate each year after that, if they are able. But Duggan said its important that they know what they are giving money to.

Fleener added that it is important that students who are calling them are involved around campus and have connections that they could discuss.

Although the jobs available for this semester’s Phonathon are already filled, there will be future opportunities for students to participate.