MISSOULA – It’s been a banner year for the University of Montana Foundation’s phonathon, an annual fundraising drive that supports UM’s academics, students and activities. Alumni and friends of the University have pledged almost $315,000 since July 1, 2013. That’s $120,000 more than the past fiscal year and the most the phonathon has brought in since student employees began making calls in 1982.
Over 3,000 donors from across the country have made pledges ranging from $10 to $15,000. Their donations support all academic units and areas of campus life, including scholarships, study abroad travel stipends, speaker funds and athletics. A number of donors also give to the Excellence Fund, which allows UM President Royce Engstrom to allocate funds to areas of greatest need.
“Private support is integral to UM’s ability to serve its students and the community,” said UM Foundation President and CEO Shane Giese. “We are immensely thankful to everyone who has answered the call to make a contribution. We believe every gift makes a difference.”
The phonathon has ramped up in recent years and now reaches out to a more diverse range of potential donors.
“There is so much happening at the University of Montana right now, and I think that motivates people to show their support,” said Molly Adamson, call center manager. “The feedback we’ve received from donors regarding the quality of phone calls has been extremely positive.”
The phonathon call center employs 29 student callers and four supervisors for 12 weeks in the spring and fall. On any given night during the fundraising drive, 14 students are making calls to alumni, donors and parents.
“My favorite part is hearing stories from alumni and knowing that their time here was so memorable,” said Kendra Foster, a student caller who began working for the phonathon in the fall of 2013. “It’s a great opportunity to experience UM’s past and take part in influencing its future.”
There still are a few weeks before this year’s phonathon draws to a close, and Adamson is confident that her team will continue to exceed expectations.
“Our goal was to raise $280,000 this year, and we’ve already surpassed that. I’m looking forward to seeing how far we can go.”