Phonathon Essentials

Last updated June 19, 2017

Course Length

5h 42m

Last Updated

June 19, 2017

Phonathon Essentials

Last updated June 19, 2017


An effective phonathon program can be a great way to re-engage alumni, steward donors, and build affinity. This four-part training series will cover the most common challenges facing calling programs and offer practical solutions.

1. Scripting – Learn how to best use time on the phone with alumni to build rapport, confirm contact information, and secure a gift.

2. Data Analysis and Segmenting – Better target alumni who are likely to pick up the phone and make a gift; ensure that you have updated contact information for these alumni.

Who should attend?

Phonathon directors, student supervisors, and annual giving professionals will benefit from this webcast series, gaining knowledge to improve the effectiveness of their phonathon.


Session 1: Scripting

How do you best communicate with potential donors on the phone? In this session, you’ll learn how to create a script that enables callers to better engage donors with active listening, integrate different types of questions, and establish a rhythm to the call, all while giving students the ability to maintain control of the conversation.

  • Essential Elements of an Effective Script
    • Introduction
    • Engagement/Rapport building
    • Case for giving
    • Negotiation
    • Assumptive credit card ask
  • Call Techniques and Tackling Objections
    • Script flexibility
    • Objection responses
  • A Strong Close
  • Applying to Sample Scripts

Resources: Sample script templates


Session 2: Data Analysis and Segmentation

In this session, you will learn how to analyze your data to make better decisions around future phonathon planning. This session will show you how to better segment your donors, plan calling pools, and map out timelines to achieve success.

  • Program Planning and Analysis
    • Available capacity
    • Possible limitations
    • Audiences
  • Segmentation Strategies
    • Basic techniques
    • Common pitfalls
  • Improving Contact Rates
  • Program Evaluation
    • Rates
    • Values
    • Quantity and quality

Resources: Sample segmentation plan and data analysis templates


Session 3: Hiring and Training Student Callers

Student callers can make or break your phonathon’s success. You need to hire not just the right students, but the right number of students. After you’ve selected your student callers, it is imperative to onboard them properly to ensure they are excellent representatives for your institution.

  • Identifying Your Total Number of Callers
    • Total shifts
    • Student supervisors
  • Recruiting
    • Timing
    • On-campus and online opportunities
  • Hiring
    • Application process
    • Interview process
    • Desired skills and attributes
  • Training
    • Structure of training
    • Essential training elements
    • PCI compliance

Resources: Sample hiring and training schedules


Session 4: Ongoing Phonathon Management and Fulfillment

Effective ongoing management is key to achieving the results you projected. In this session, we will show you how to develop coaching programs for callers and student supervisors, schedule callers, change course if need-be, and determine when to follow up on or cancel pledges.

  • Ongoing Management of Student Callers
    • Scheduling
    • Monitoring and coaching
    • Student supervisors
    • Feedback and reviews
  • Assessment and Course-Correction
    • Ongoing data analysis and segmentation
    • Identifying when to change course
  • Fulfillment
    • Ensuring strong return rates
    • Proper follow-ups via phone, email, and direct mail
    • When to cancel pledges