Students have now assumed a direct involvement with St. John’s
University fundraising efforts with the introduction of a new
initiative designed to share information about St. John’s while
soliciting financial support from alumni and friends.
Begun in August, the Student Phonathon
employs selected and highly trained students to make personal
telephone calls to potential donors from facilities on the Queens
campus. These outgoing young men and women share information about
themselves and answer questions about what’s happening at St.
John’s. They also inquire about how St. John’s can be responsive to
the potential donor’s needs and interests. “The opportunity
for students to speak directly with our alumni and friends is an
exciting next step in our development efforts,” said Victor Ramos
’91CBA, ’93MBA, Associate Vice President, Division of Institutional
Advancement. “I can’t think of anyone who can tell the story of St.
John’s better than the students who live it every day.”
As part of their conversation, the student callers solicit gifts
and pledges from the recipients of their calls. They invite the
potential donors to support the School or College from which they
graduated, the student activity or team they were a part of, or
anything else to which they’d like to contribute. In every case,
the callers convey the message that it is the students who are the
ultimate beneficiaries of their generosity.
At the conclusion of the call students encourage the recipients
to complete a brief follow-up online survey, giving them an
opportunity to offer further feedback about how the University can
serve them better.
to sharpening the communication skills that will be helpful when
they’re ready to begin their own careers, student callers enjoy the
opportunity to interact with the University’s alumni and friends as
fellow members of their St. John’s family, rather than simply as
names on a solicitation list.
“The Phonathon has been a great experience for me,” said Sophia
Thoyo, a sophomore in St. John’s College of Professional Studies.
“Besides asking our alumni to support the University, it’s fun to
get to know them and hear about what they’re doing now that they’ve
graduated. I especially like to learn what St. John’s was like back
in their time, before the dorms and the new D’Angelo Center.”
Telephone solicitation is not a new concept at St. John’s. For
the past few years it had been conducted by an off-campus service
engaged by the University’s Office of Annual Campaigns.
Under this new program, it is expected that students speaking
directly with potential donors will have a personalizing effect on
St. John’s telephone solicitation efforts while serving as yet
another means of strengthening the connection between the
University and its alumni and friends.