By Jack Martin
We all hate telemarketers right? Those soulless creatures of the night who sit in windowless offices with bloodshot, glossy eyes from endless hours staring at the LED computer screen, waiting for their random number dialer to select yours and interrupt your day with an invasive pitch designed to separate you from your hard earned money.
One could not be blamed for having the desire to hang up when you hear the line “Hi my name is ___ I’m a student calling from St. Mikes.” But wait! Before you do, let one of those callers try to persuade you to stay on the line for just a few moments.
First off, the student callers of the Saint Michael’s College phonathon are not soulless greedy little creatures (well at least most of us aren’t). We are students like you and our goal is not to scam you out of your paycheck, but to get you to invest in the future of Saint Michael’s College.
Four nights a week, from Sunday through Wednesday, you can find the student callers of phonathon in the Pomerleau building across the street from campus from 6-8:45 p.m. , hard at work making calls to St. Michael’s alumni and parents. For those who pick up, our goal is to start a conversation about their experience with St. Mikes and what it was that they loved about the school when they were here. We want to hear their stories and talk with them about how the school has changed since they walked this campus.
As a student who has worked at phonathon since sophomore year, I have heard some really interesting stories from alumni and parents. I’ve talked with alumni from the class of 1949 when the school was all boys and they slept in barracks. I’ve talked with people who were here with my parents in the early 80s. I’ve even talked with alumni I knew in my first three years who have since gone to bigger things.
Yes, we are also looking for donations to the college, but every penny that is made in phonathon goes right into making St. Mike’s the place it is. Last year, phoneathon was able to make $284,000 in donations and that money goes right into services like financial aid, MOVE, Study Abroad, and more (Some alumni have even requested that their donations be given to P-Day which we are happy to oblige).
This year, Phonathon is trying to raise that donation amount to $340 thousand in pledged donations and to do that over the summer, the department installed a new online calling system. The new system now has all of the alumni and parents contact info in its memory banks and allows us callers to make calls faster and instantly process credit card gifts and pledges.
Look, we know that being asked to donate is never fun especially by a school most people feel is already taking too much of their money to begin with, but when you eventually get your call from phoneathon, just consider staying on the line.