Messenger - Vol. 4, No. 3, Page 5
Calling it a success

     Karen Roushey, Delaware '96, has logged over 200 hours on the
phone this past year-not talking to classmates, teachers and
family-but speaking with UD alumni from coast to coast. "The best part
is that a lot of them are so excited to hear from a Delaware student,"
Roushey, a phonathon caller for the Delaware Annual Fund for two
years, says.
     Roushey recalls a particularly enthusiastic alumnus who even
wanted her to say hello to his kids. "He screamed, 'It's my school!' I
probably spent 15-20 minutes on the phone with him, talking about
     Michael T. Jester, Delaware '81, of Hanford, Calif., says he
appreciated being reconnected with the University through Jackie
Spetter, Delaware '97. "She was extremely friendly. I considered the
call more of a connection with a University student than a
solicitation call."
     The phone call prompted Jester to make a generous gift. "Hearing
from a student makes a big difference over getting a request in the
mail," he says.
     Anne Kinderwater Border, Delaware '92, agrees, noting the
convenience of the phonathon. "As much as I support the school, I
wouldn't get around to taking the initiative [to responding to a
mailing]," says the Lancaster, Pa., resident.
     Border's gift came after receiving a call from Todd Tenenbaum,
Delaware '95. After explaining to Tenenbaum that she's newly married,
she pledged $25. "He was very appreciative of my pledge," she says. "I
remember thinking, 'This [gift] is worth something.' I told him that's
what I could do this year and I hope to do more in the future."
     During the 1994-95 academic year, alumni pledged nearly $430,000
through the phonathon, the second highest total since calling began in
     Gifts support colleges, academic departments, scholarship funds,
athletic teams, student programs, the library and hundreds of other
designations, according to Charles M. Forbes, vice president for
development and alumni relations. "One hundred percent of each and
every contribution supports the area the donor has chosen," he says.
     The phonathon, according to Joseph W. Bradley, Delaware '79,
'87M, director of annual giving, also brings in hundreds of address
and employment updates. "The phonathon is an excellent way to update
records. From the alumni perspective, it saves them from taking the
time to mail us their new address," he says.
     Callers know their role is more than fund raising. "We stress to
the students that they are University ambassadors," Bradley says.
"They serve an extremely important public relations role for the
     "You're not just conveying a need," Roushey says. "You're
conveying a sense of the University community and what's going on."
     Bradley says students are trained to listen carefully to alumni
concerns so proper follow-up action will be taken. "We pride ourselves
on responding to concerns in a timely fashion," he says.
     "I like to think I've changed a couple people's minds," Roushey
says. "When they tell me they've had a negative experience, I try not
to just let it go. I try to find out why they had a problem and see if
we can help."
     Nicole Hollis, Delaware '98, a caller since last September, says
she quickly learned that alumni questions and concerns, which are
handled confidentially, vary widely.
     Hollis recalls the conversation with an alumnus who had attended
other universities in addition to Delaware. "Since he has several
allegiances, he didn't understand why we should ask him for an
increased gift," says the Brookhaven, Pa., resident. "When he
indicated he would decrease his support to Delaware, I think he
thought I'd be angry. But, I told him that it was generous of him to
still consider the University of Delaware. He answered, 'Thank you for
being so understanding,' and said he'd continue to contribute at the
same level."
     Roushey, whose parents are Curtis E. Roushey, Delaware '71, and
Susan Corkran Roushey, Delaware '70, points out that alumni support
directly helps students. "I'm here on an Alumni Merit Scholarship. It
helps out my family immensely," she says. "I see the everyday benefit
of alumni supporting this University. The bottom line is every cent
that alumni give goes to the students. And, a lot of people wouldn't
be able to be here if it weren't for that money."
                                       -Bill Clark, Delaware '82, '94M