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Funds raised by telephone

Jan. 30, 1997

By Cindy Szelag

Lariat Reporter

The University is using about 20 work-study students working about 15 hours per week to solicit donors for the New Century fund, a project fund-raisers started Monday.

Students who are eligible for work study must complete an interview and a three-day training session before they become student callers, said Dale Kolls, the assistant director of annual gifts and the director of the Baylor Calling program.

The program, now in its second semester, focuses on one major project each semester, Kolls said. Last semester, student callers raised more than $60,000 for the Student Life Complex.

This semester their focus will be on the New Century fund, which provides money for current student scholarships, library improvement and educational technology, Kolls said.

After the project for the semester is decided, a list of alumni is analyzed to see who is likely to respond, Kolls said. Students reach these alumni at the rate of about 1,200 calls per week. Last semester callers reached about 9,000 prospective givers and received about 741 pledges, Kolls said.

The students follow a script from the computer screen at one of the 14 calling stations located in University Development, said Jeff Tidwell, a Longview senior and student caller. After the caller asks a question, they click on the answer on the computer screen to receive the next line.

Tidwell, who participated in Baylor Calling last semester also, said he thinks the program is effective.

'We reached a bunch of people who Baylor normally doesn't reach,' Tidwell said.

Kolls said he hopes this program will transcend the typical negative attitude toward telephone solicitors.

'We're not here to twist anybody's arm or make anyone do anything they wouldn't normally do,' Kolls said. 'We're trying to find people who want to support Baylor and make it easy for them.'

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