Otherwise known as the student calling program, the phonathon participation program receives half of Knox’s donations from people reached by phone, according to President Amott.
“I can confirm the fact that half of the people we reach on the phone are giving, as I am the one managing the program,” said recent alum Kate Haslem, who is now the Assistant Director of Advancement. “I’m very proud of our participation stats as they are the highest they’ve ever been.”
The program is run by student callers who reach out to alumni and parents of Knox College.
“Our goal is to build a relationship with each individual by updating them on campus and hearing their ‘Knox story,’” Haslem said. “We also ask them to support our students by giving gifts for Knox’s annual fund.”
The annual funds include the Knox Fund and the Parent Fund.
“Often times, this call is the most personal touch an alumnus/alumna or parent will receive from Knox all year and many look forward to the calls,” Haslem said.
Student callers are often connected with the alumni on a personal level.
“The conversations with older alums especially have given me a historical snapshot of what campus must have been like 10, 20, even 60 years ago,” student caller and sophomore Ariyana Smith said. “One alumna told me her husband played basketball here in the ‘70s and his team is going to be inducted into the Knox Hall of Fame this year.”
Haslem asserted that the college benefits greatly from the student calling services, as many of the donations contribute to supporting tuition, faculty, internship opportunities, campus clubs and study-abroad programs.
“Knox is a non-profit organization, so we must rely on the generosity of our alumni, parents and friends to cover the gap between what tuition revenue covers and the total cost of a student’s education,” she said. “Every year, tuition revenue runs out in mid-February and gifts and annual income from Knox’s endowment provide the additional revenue needed to finish out the year.”
Last year, the callers raised over $649,000.
“A 21st century education isn’t provided just within the classroom, but rather it’s within all of the ‘extras’ that Knox provides,” Haslem said. “Those extras—that make a competitive education for students is what the Knox Fund and all gifts from donors touch.”
To Smith, being a student caller is a way to find a connection with a variety of people.
“As a caller, I have to remember that the people I’m reaching out to are as diverse as the people we have on campus now, perhaps even more so,” she said. “What amazes me is that I can establish a connection with anyone, even though their experiences in college and afterwards might have differed vastly from mine.”
Haslem considers the program an opportunity for student-callers to gain working-world experience.
“It’s a big job — sometimes hectic with lots of things to keep an eye on but it’s incredibly rewarding,” she said. “As for the students, they are building a Knox experience for themselves and their classmates while simultaneously gaining ‘real world’ skills that they will take with them when they leave Knox.”