LIBERAL — The Seward County Community College Foundation kicks off its spring — make that autumn —phonathon Monday at 4 p.m. after a months-long pandemic delay. The event, slated to run three weeks, will deploy crews of SCCC students and team members on the phone and social media to solicit donations for the All Saints Fund, used for student scholarships, program support, and other campus needs.
“We’re really implementing a heavy shift to online fundraising, for many reasons,” said Chandler Kirkhart, SCCC Associate Director of Annual Giving. “First and foremost, thanks to IT and maintenance, we’ve limited the amount of people in the room and made sure the sharing or handling phones is kosher with CDC guidelines. That means we have about 21 phones less than previous years.” Even so, Kirkhart said the Foundation’s new giving software enables the Phonathon to seat 15 workers in AA 137, the usual “command center” for Phonathons. Other rooms will be utilized as needed.
Kirkhart said the GiveCampus online platform “empowers students to concentrate on the social media platform, while those who prefer to cold-call can do so.” The Phonathon’s first week will be primarily staffed by the seven teams from Saints Athletics, with support from the Foundation and campus members. Following their lead, other campus groups have signed on for afternoon and evening shifts. If a student or employee group has not claimed a shift, they can reach out via Kirkhart’s campus phone, 620-417-1135.
As mentioned by SCCC President Brad Bennett in his first All-Team meeting, this year’s goal is to increase employee participation, no matter the amount.
“There is much to be said about a campus who comes together to give back to the students they serve. On top of that generosity, there are still very real monetary needs which remain for our students,” Kirkhart wrote in an email. “Whatever amount you choose to give matters and is appreciated.” While the Phonathon is a separate event from the ongoing employee drive, Kirkhart said Phonathon gifts pack a little extra punch.
“The students often begin by calling an instructor or team member they know, and it helps them get past the shaky awkward feeling of being on the phone to hear a warm, accepting voice and have a positive experience,” he said. Additionally, “the earlier employees sign up for ongoing payroll deductions, the more perks they’re going to access as we go forward.” While details are yet to be announced, Kirkhart and Bennett promised some type of funding match as well as incentives. One ever-present bonus is the fact that payroll deductions come out pre-tax, offering a small financial advantage.
The Phonathon offers a way to connect and make a difference, said Kirkhart. He noted that an upcoming video, viewable after 4 p.m. on the sccc.edu > GIVE NOW button will provide real-life testimonials that illuminate the good for all who join.