“When they ask ‘how am I making a difference?’ I say ‘when you’re walking around campus and you see beautiful buildings and renovations, you are a part of that. You are a part of that even if you just put one brick there.’”
- James Hanks, Lead Manager, Bulldog Calling Center at Mississippi State University 

Communication Challenges at a Student Call Center with James Hanks

Session 55

How do you get a group of college freshmen to successfully earn donations from thousands of alumni? James Hanks, a graduating senior at Mississippi State University and Lead Manager in the Bulldog Calling Center, gives a fresh, young perspective on the asking process. He tells Beth that a caller’s strength lies in their enthusiasm for the university and their ability to build a connection with potential donors. He has found that callers work best when they are in a comfortable environment and are passionate about the Bulldog way, and that starting a conversation based on the alumni’s experiences generally leads to a more positive response. He points out that his callers “aren’t going to dinner with [alumni],” but that any personal connection goes a long way. Training callers in building that bridge is equally important as hitting all the major points in their script.

James and Beth discuss:

  • Keeping enthusiasm high after making 500+ calls in a single day
  • Building a connection with alumni through topics that lead to conversation
  • How successful supervisors assist co-workers personally as they do professionally
  • Having callers understand the goals of different departments of the organization
  • Tips for motivating callers without being solely success-driven
  • Getting and building on information and experiences from donors

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