Student phone calls to alumni help improve people skills, raise funds
Working in an office that includes pop music and a cotton candy machine sounds like a dream job for a college student. For University of Iowa Foundation Telefund student employees, it’s a nightly setting.
Approximately 60 UI students employed by the foundation’s Telefund program arrive at the Levitt Center for University Advancement every day at
The program, which is a joint effort between the UI Foundation and RuffaloCODY—a firm specializing in telefund program management for universities and nonprofit organizations—has two main goals: interact with more than 260,000 living UI alumni and raise money for the university.
In April, the UI Telefund program reached
Adam Link, a RuffaloCODY employee who oversees the UI Telefund operation, knows the connection between the university and alumni is important.
The Oelwein, Iowa, native graduated from the UI in 2008 and hopes other alumni appreciate the efforts put forth by the student staff. Although many people dread the so-called “telemarketing call,” these interactions are different, he says. Even though asking for a donation is part of the phone conversation, the main goal is for the alumni to realize the university still wants to know how they are doing.
“We want the phone call to be an enjoyable experience,” Link says. “Alumni can ask questions and talk to a current student about anything from restaurants that are still open to sporting events. It’s all about keeping that connection open.”
Telefund does serve one other major goal: personal development for the student employees. Dustin Comried, a UI student from Center Point, Iowa, who has worked at Telefund for three years, says the job is preparing him well for life after college.
“The biggest thing we learn here is how to be tolerant of others,” he says. “We really work together in this room, and that teamwork will carry over after graduation. Being able to meet new people, make new friends, and work with anyone are great skills.”