Allie Holland, associate director of development, and Telefund supervisors Courtney Taylor and Mannat Varshney with the Southeast Missouri University Foundation, presented the Regents with an update on the Foundation’s Telefund.
The Advancement Division’s Telefund operates a call center from the third floor of the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center with student employees serving as callers Monday-Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons. The call center’s recent move from Kent Library to Wehking has made a tremendous impact on everyone with the Telefund. Student morale has been boosted, which directly led to a more positive work environment and interactions with alumni, they said.
The Telefund is an opportunity to establish a donor pipeline for the Foundation. Student callers identify new donors and help the Foundation cultivate relationships with alumni.
Holland said individual gifts through the Telefund range from $10 to $3,000. The pledge rate has increased four percent this year, and pledge fulfillment has increased over 18 percent. With the success of the Telefund, she said the Annual Fund program is anticipated to far exceed its $200,000 annual goal.
Holland emphasized the purpose and importance of the Telefund to the Foundation as well as to the University, its students and alumni. The Telefund offers students an opportunity to learn soft skills, such as communication, and builds their confidence in their capabilities and skills when they leave the University. This is also an opportunity to form and build relationships with Southeast alumni, who often freely provide student callers with professional advice.
For many of Southeast’s alumni, the calls they receive from students with the Telefund may be the only interaction they have with the University and specifically with students. Alumni get to hear about the University, and learn about recent events and activities on campus.
Taylor and Varshney talked about their work and how they help monitor calls, making sure the call center is running efficiently, encouraging and guiding students to remain positive and on script. They emphasized how the opportunities and experiences they have had while working for the Telefund, both as student callers and supervisors, have not only helped them as Southeast students, but also have allowed them to hone skills that will be invaluable to their future success and careers.