This post was originally published on the Ruffalo Noel Levitz fundraising management blog. Because it covers both enrollment and fundraising management, we wanted to share it here.
Texas State University has devised an innovative approach to maximizing the effectiveness of their call center: they concurrently call alumni and prospective students.
Combining the enrollment and fundraising outreach takes a lot of organization and a commitment to training the callers, but the returns on both activities have made it well worth the investment. Program center manager Odies Moore was kind enough to discuss the strategy behind this innovative approach, how he trains his callers, and what it takes to make it work.
Can you explain how you prepare for both fundraising and enrollment calling at the same time?
All of the student supervisors and callers are trained on both types of calling. I usually start all new callers in fundraising. The students tell me that they feel the fundraising calls are more difficult, and I want to give them the most intense thing to start, sort of a boot camp. Callers who prove themselves move over to enrollment calls.
Why do you think the students feel that the fundraising calls are more difficult than enrollment ones?
More often, they’re talking to people closer to their age in recruiting calls. Fundraising calls also have additional metrics that callers are judged on. We do see some students gravitate toward one type of call or another, but I think it’s very important to have them experience both.
How do you organize a call center for two types of calls?
The center is divided in half, one side for fundraising, the other for enrollment. We have two student supervisors each night who assist. They can both work either division, but they focus on one side for the night. Sitting the callers next to someone who is doing the same type of call as them is helpful. New callers hear how veteran callers deal with fundraising objections and proceed with the call. They can also learn from other callers how to correctly go through the process of an enrollment call. Now, you have to be sure your veteran callers are doing the right thing, or you’ll have a lot of bad calls going out!
What can you do to combine enrollment and fundraising outreach, and increase the expertise of your callers?
My colleagues and I can help you set up a combined enrollment and fundraising communications effort, the way we have done for other campuses through our CORE Communication Center. Please feel free to send me an email and I would be happy to answer your questions or continue the discussion with you and your colleagues.
We also invite you to attend the Telecounseling Supervisor’s Workshop in Boston on July 7-8. This hands-on event will discuss strategies for calling, creating scripts, and managing telecounselors. Take a look at the agenda to see what you can learn.