Call goes out to alumni
Meet the brave student callers responsible for phoning Faculty of Management alumni as part of a five-week pilot project that wrapped up in early December.
The University of Lethbridge Call Centre, which operated out of the Penny Building downtown, employed 21 students who called over 5,000 management alumni in an effort to update information and raise support for the Faculty of Management Annual Fund.
The callers reached 1,770 alumni, received 1,052 information updates, and secured close to $30,000 in pledges and credit card gifts, with an average gift size of close to $100. In addition, many people asked for pledge packages in order to consider donating in the future.
While the call centre was successful as a fundraiser, it also had a positive impact on the students working there. Kallie Val-Zehan, who graduated with a BA in 2008 and is back completing her accounting certificate, was one of the energetic students who took to the phones. Having worked at a call centre before, she was surprised by the overwhelmingly positive responses she received as a caller.
“I was amazed at the number of alumni who were willing to talk,” says Val-Zehan, who attributes their willingness to participate to the fact that it was students making the calls. “We were just students calling other former students, and approaching it that way really helped people open up.”
Callers updated alumni on new developments at the
U of L and tried to engage them in conversation about their own experiences as students.
“Some had memories of classes or clubs that they were in, but the majority of alumni continued to be impressed by the small class sizes and the relationships they developed with their professors,” says Val-Zehan.
Alumni also shared advice with callers about getting the most out of their U of L experience, encouraging them to get involved, work hard and stick to what interested them.
Val-Zehan admits the experience changed her perspective, particularly on the significance of being an alumna.
“When you’re a student you don’t think about being alumni, but I realized that there’s a community after school,” says Val-Zehan.
“There were a lot of alumni that worked with fellow alumni,” adds Val-Zehan. “They might not have known each other before, but as professionals they had an instant connection because of the fact that they were U of L alumni. The experience made me want to be more involved in the alumni world.”
Launched as a pilot project, the call centre was successful in laying the groundwork for future calling programs that will benefit all faculties and schools at the University of Lethbridge.