Proud to be Purple: Pointers
The success of the Alumni Fund is built on the strength of the Williams network. Here are some tips from agents across all classes to help you effectively reconnect with classmates.
- Plan before you call. Check your online reports who has already made a gift, review your classmates’ profiles and what their Williams interests are, and figure out an appropriate gift amount to suggest.
- Learn about what’s new at Williams. Check the latest news and announcements from Williams. See how your favorite Eph teams are doing and how The Record is reporting on the latest in student life. Stay up to date on the college’s generous financial aid offerings, and check the specs of the Class of 2017.
- Be sensitive. If you have assignments with children of college-application age, making calls before college decisions are in (December 10 in the case of Williams Early Decision) can save awkward moments later.
- Make your own gift first. It’s much easier to ask your classmates to give once you have made your own gift.
Make the Ask
- Connect with your classmates. You are the main contact between Williams and your classmates. Classmates want to hear from you at other times during the year, not just when you’re contacting them about the Alumni Fund. Send an EphCard during the summer just to say hi, or dedicate your first contact to reconnecting rather than making an outright ask for the Alumni Fund.
- Share why you think it’s important to support Williams. Tell classmates why you volunteer your time for the Alumni Fund and why you give to Williams.
- Listen. During the conversation listen to what your classmate is saying. Ask the folks in the Alumni Fund office for help if you hear questions for which you don’t have the answers.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a gift. Remember: You are not tricking someone into making a gift they don’t want to make. You are helping an interested classmate match his/her desire to be generous, get involved and help make a difference for the needs of Williams College.
- Ask your classmate for a specific gift. Offer a gift range tailored so that the lower number is what you hope your classmate will give and the higher number is more than you expect. “Would you consider making a gift in the range of $100 to $250?” Alternately you can ask, “Would you be willing to join me at the $250 level?” (Be sure to check with your Head Agent and Leadership Gifts Committee before suggesting a specific amount to a classmate!)
- Take notes. Use your My Assignments report to jot down any questions, issues, problems, or opportunities that come up in your conversations with classmates.
Say thanks and share your success
- Thank your classmates. Send a personal thank you to every donor on your list, especially first-time donors. Thank non-donors for taking the time to talk and share your hope to have them join next year. It doesn’t take much time to send a quick note, and next year’s contacts will be easier when classmates feel appreciated. Note cards (available from the Alumni Fund office), emails, EphCards are all great ways to say thanks.
- Share your successes with each other. Together you are the agent teams’ best resources. Use your class’s agent listserv ([email protected] where “xx” is your class year) to share ideas and look for suggestions.
- Communicate with your head agent. Update your head agent on how the year is going, who you have contacted and any gifts that are expected.