Every term a group of highly trained students spend their evenings calling our alumni, providing them the opportunity to update their details, hear the latest University news and to support the University by giving a gift. Melissa Gamlin is a third year Philosophy student and has been a student caller for the last two telephone appeals. Here she talks about her experiences as a student caller and her view on the Annual Giving Appeal.
Why did you decide to reapply to be a student caller?
I decided to become a student caller again after the fantastic time I had previously. The job has great hours and gives me a bit of extra cash but there are many aspects of the job I enjoy. Working as part of a team is great fun and the team keeps everyone motivated during difficult calling sessions. Calling alumni means I learn more about my University and how it has changed which is always interesting. Hearing about how many people have enjoyed their time here and what amazing things they are now doing, makes me incredibly proud of Southampton.
Why do you think the Annual Giving Programme is important?
Annual Giving is more important than ever in light of the funding cuts. Gifts from alumni can help ensure that the University continues to be great. I think the Annual Giving Telephone Appeal offers so much more to alumni. The phone call is their opportunity not only to help their University but to learn about what alumni benefits they can receive as well as information on current events at the University. I honestly believe that every person can gain something from their call.
What difference do you think the Telephone Appeal makes?
Every single gift adds up, which can make a real difference. The five areas, which we fundraise for, are designed to make an impact where it really counts. Knowing that every donation I get makes a big change not only to the University and students but to everyone who benefits from the research we do here, makes me incredibly proud that I’m a student caller.
Do the people you talk to enjoy their conversations?
Yes! When calling individuals I hear a lot about their time at University, they are really excited to talk about what they got up to, what pub they liked, who their favourite lecturer was etc. When I speak to Philosophy graduates they seem really interested in what I am studying and one of them has even helped me with my dissertation!
What do you want to do after graduation?
Straight after graduation I’m hoping to go on holiday and relax, after that start a job. Being a student caller and talking to the staff in the Annual Giving team has made me realise that educational fundraising could be the career path for me.
What advice would you give to students who might be applying to be a Student Caller in spring?
Work as a team and get to know the people you’re working with, but remember to work individually as well. If you are determined and have a level of competitiveness it is easier to succeed. All in all it’s a fantastic job so you should apply!