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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 training1
Caltech Alumni Fund Training

  • Goals

    • Contacting alumni

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

    • Just getting a response

    • Raising money

Fund raising structure
Fund Raising Structure

  • Office staff

  • Chairmen (key volunteers)

  • Callers (solicitors)

Chairmen training
Chairmen Training

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

Typical duties
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
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 continued1
Strategy (continued)

  • Notate the categorizations

    • Check marks / dashes / underlining

    • Numerical

    • Color coding

    • Indenting

    • Bolding

    • Index cards?

Available data
Available Data

  • PDF file of the alumni

  • Excel list of alumni

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

Example of pdf file
Example of PDF file

(contact info is wrong!)

Sorted list house timezone gifts
Sorted List(house, timezone, gifts)







Volt list

Caltech alumni fund training

VOLTversionofPDF file

Strategy continued2
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
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
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
Monitor progress

  • Contact callers regularly

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

Keep a diary
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)

Chairmen summary
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
Caller training(also applies to chairmen)

The biggest problem
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
Accepting a donation(continued)

  • If the person wants to donate on paper, contact Amanda at (626) 395-3843 or 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
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
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
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