Caltech alumni fund training
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Caltech Alumni Fund Training. Caltech Alumni Fund Training. Goals Contacting alumni Informing alumni about Caltech (this is not redundant!) Just getting a response … Raising money. Fund Raising Structure. Office staff Chairmen (key volunteers) Callers (solicitors). Chairmen Training.

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Caltech Alumni Fund Training

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Caltech Alumni Fund Training

Caltech Alumni Fund Training

  • Goals

    • Contacting alumni

    • Informing alumni about Caltech (this is not redundant!)

    • Just getting a response

    • Raising money

Fund Raising Structure

  • Office staff

  • Chairmen (key volunteers)

  • Callers (solicitors)

Chairmen Training

  • (Callers: optional 5 minute break because some of this will not apply to your activities)

Typical Duties

  • Here is a list of your prospects

  • Recruit some callers

  • Distribute prospects to callers

  • Raise funds

This can be adaunting challengewith only a giant listin front of you.


  • Plan ahead first

  • Create a complete list of your candidatesTHAT YOU CAN EDIT

    • I prefer a printed copy

    • Other options:

      • Spreadsheet

      • Word processing

      • Database

  • (These will be shown in a few minutes)

Strategy (continued)

  • Scan the entire list:

  • Categorize the alumni

    • Previous donations

    • Activities while a student

    • Alumni you knew personally

    • Time zone

    • Other

      • Regularity of donations

      • Current occupation if known

      • etc.

Strategy (continued)

  • Notate the categorizations

    • Check marks / dashes / underlining

    • Numerical

    • Color coding

    • Indenting

    • Bolding

    • Index cards?

Available Data

  • PDF file of the alumni

  • Excel list of alumni

  • Online system – if available (VOLT – volunteer online tool)

Example of PDF file

(contact info is wrong!)

Example of an Excel list

Sorted List(house, timezone, gifts)








VOLTversionofPDF file

Strategy (continued)

  • Don't bite off too much!

  • Make it easy for yourself

  • Pick the top 5 (or fewer) of the best prospects that might help you make your calls

    • Regular donations

    • Lots of activities

    • Someone you know...

Try to Find Callers

  • (Making the calls will be discussed soon)

  • Start with your top 5 prospects

  • If you get one caller per session, that is great

  • Don't forget to ask for a donation if a person does not want to be a caller

Assign Prospects to Callers

  • Same house (undergrads)

  • Same year and option (grads)

  • Mostly prospects who previously donated with some nondonors

  • Ask callers how many prospects they will accept (suggest 5-10)

Monitor progress

  • Contact callers regularly

  • Review weekly reports from fund office(contact callers whose prospects have not donated)

Keep a diary

  • I recommend doing this on your master list

  • Keep track of who you called

  • Keep track of your results (agreed to be a caller, refused, etc.)

  • Keep track of messages, busy signals,sent email …

  • Keep a separate calendar to remind you who to call when...

  • Don't get frustrated (getting through to people is hard these days)

Diary example

Chairmen summary

  • Make a master list of prospects

  • Categorize and notate the list

  • Pick only a few to call per session

  • Find callers (and ask for donations)

  • Monitor progress & contact callers

  • Keep a diary to keep track of messages and who you called

Caller training(also applies to chairmen)

The BIGGEST Problem

  • INERTIA(You usually find to do something else to do)

  • INERTIA(You usually find to do something else to do)

  • Second biggest problem:answering machines (more about that later)


  • This part is not so bad:

  • Callers will have a short list of people to call

  • Chairmen have already prepared their short list of best prospects

  • Therefore, calling the short list will not take too much time!

Make the Calls

  • The first call is the hardest

    • An errand still has to be done

    • It is close to your favorite TV show

    • Something needs to be done around the house


    • It becomes more fun when you call people you know

    • One call flows to another call

Call strategy

  • Call a good friend first

  • I recommend that you call as a friend and NOT say “I'm calling for the Alumni Fund” (most people hate solicitation calls)

  • If lists are created properly, you will be calling a friend most of the time and it is fun to catch up on old times

  • At the END of the call, then ask about donating (or becoming a caller)

Call strategy (continued)

  • Tell Techers about the impact of alumni gifts (information from this conference)

  • If they have previously donated, thank them, and ask if they are willing donate again

  • Don't ask for a specific amount

  • If they say no, ask for a token amount (since some corporations look at percentages of alumni donations regardless of the amounts)

Keep a diary (part 2)

  • Write down dates, messages, emails

  • Write down responses: donated, refused, pledged, etc

  • This prevents ‘oops’ calls where the prospect says, “but you just called me last week.”

Frustration training

  • You will usually get an answering machine

  • Polite persistence is a virtue

  • Leave messages. Speak slowly and clearly. Leave your name and contact information.

  • Try different times (weekends, weeknights, last resort: work)

  • Switch from phone to Email or vice-versa

Accepting a donation

  • Caltech website: follow the alumni and friends link to the Alumni Fund):


  • Accept a phone donation

    • Credit card number & expiration date

    • 3 digit number usually from back of card

    • Name on card

    • DO NOT EMAIL THIS INFORMATION. For the sake of security, call it into the fund office.

Accepting a donation(continued)

  • If the person wants to donate on paper, contact Amanda at (626) 395-3843 or [email protected] with their name and a pledge card will be sent

    • This option is usually necessary for those prospects who can double the donation through their employer’s matching gift program

  • Verify all of their contact information (some people move frequently)

Do's and Don'ts

  • Suggested calling hours

    • 7-10 pm on weekdays (verify timezone!!!)

    • Weekends: 9-12 am, 1-6 pm, 7-10 pm

      • (not during meal times)

    • Holidays are ok within reason

      • Thanksgiving weekend is ok, not Thanksgiving day, etc.

  • Do have fun calling old friends

  • Don't call at work unless there is no home phone number

  • Don't email credit card information

Dave's thing

  • I offered an incentive to my classmates who wavered about donating

  • Reunion CD with pictures, memoirs, Glee Club recordings, etc

    • Mailing cost ($1.90) was more than production cost (about 50 cents plus my time)

    • My expenses are also a donation

  • MANY additional donations received

Caller summary

  • Make the first call

  • Call as a friend

  • Ask for a donation at the end of the call

  • Keep a diary

  • Donation: website, credit card, paper pledge

  • Verify contact information

  • Call at reasonable hours

  • Don't email credit card information

  • Consider personal incentives

GO Caltech!

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