CSU, Chico News

Calling Center Students Set School Record, Reach $1 Million in Pledges in One Year

Date: 06-15-2015

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
Allen Lunde, assistant director
Annual Fund

For the first time in the 20-year history of the calling center at California State University, Chico, student callers have generated more than $1 million in gift pledges in a single fiscal year.

To date, students in the Chico State Calling Center have secured $1,032,738 in pledges to the University in 2014-15. Last year, alumni and supporters of the University pledged $941,000; in recent years the average has been about $750,000.

Annual Fund assistant director Allen Lunde said a shift in the calling center’s process has made it easier for students to successfully secure gifts.

“This was our first full year of accepting multi-year pledges from donors,” Lunde said. “Instead of asking how much they could give us this year, (now our students are) asking donors to establish regular giving. So someone who was giving us $100 per year, could give $800 over the next eight years.”

Nearly $300,000 of this year’s gift commitments has been in sustaining pledges, Lunde said. “That’s money we don’t have to ask for next year.”

Located in Sapp Hall, the Chico State Calling Center is a part of the Division of University Advancement and generates the largest amount of support for the Chico State Annual Fund. The Annual Fund advances academic excellence by funding scholarships, retaining and recruiting top-notch faculty and sustaining innovative academic and community enrichment programs, among other things. Its importance to CSU, Chico has grown in recent years as public funding for the University has declined; today philanthropic giving is essential to supplementing tuition and state funding to provide students with an academically rigorous experience.

The calling center is staffed by about 30 students who work seven three-hour shifts per week. Together, they make more than 500,000 phone calls each year and have more than 30,000 conversations with alumni, parents and friends of the University. They profess a strong affinity for CSU, Chico and undergo extensive training.

“I want to thank all our student callers and supervisors for their heroic efforts reaching this milestone,” Lunde said. “I want to thank everyone in University Advancement and all those around campus who do so much to support our efforts. We are truly fortunate to have such a stellar group of students dedicated to giving back to their university, not to mention a fantastic team that makes our success possible.”

Since it was established in 1995, the Chico State Calling Center has generated an estimated $10 million in donations and nearly 150,000 distinct gift pledges. About 90 percent of donors to the University give through the calling center. CSU, Chico has the second-highest alumni giving rate in the CSU.

To learn more about the Chico State Calling Center, please visit its website. You can also read more in a Dec. 8, 2014, message from President Paul Zingg in Inside Chico State.


Caption: Student callers in fiscal year 2014-15.