Faye Jennings is Telephone Campaign Manager, Development & Alumni Relations Office (DARO) at the University of Warwick
What is your background?
I studied Spanish at the University of Southampton and graduated in 2001. I first started working at Warwick in March 2002 when I got a job in DARO as Annual Giving Assistant. This role involved processing Annual Fund donations and assisting with Telephone Campaign administration. I then progressed to the position of Telephone Campaign Manager in September 2003.
What initially attracted you to your job?
My role as Annual Giving Assistant gave me a good background of educational fundraising and I was keen to progress within DARO. I was already very much involved in the day-to-day administration of the Telephone Campaign and enjoyed working with the students and being part of the team’s ongoing development. This position gave me the opportunity to implement my own ideas in order to continue the success of the Telephone Campaign.
Define your job?
The Annual Fund exists to respond to the areas of greatest need across the University, for example, Student Support. I am responsible for developing and implementing a strategy for the mass solicitation of donations from University of Warwick alumni via the Annual Fund telephone campaigns. This includes the organisation, administration and management of the campaigns and the coordination of the recruitment and training of the Student Calling team.
Can you walk me through your day to day activities?
My day to day activities vary greatly depending on the time of year. The beginning of the academic year is an especially busy time as we have to plan our telephone fundraising strategy for the year plus recruit and train between 25 and 50 new Student Callers to join the existing team (we have a team of 83 students in total!). During the campaigns my activities mainly involve overseeing all the administration for the Telephone Campaign and ensuring that everything runs smoothly from the initial letter that the graduates receive through to the telephone call from a Student Caller and then the follow up information regarding making a donation. Although we now employ a student Supervision Team, I also currently supervise at least one calling shift per week during the campaigns. This enables me to have regular contact with the Student Callers to ensure that they are enjoying their role and having productive conversations with Warwick graduates. Being at the calling shifts also allows me to provide feedback to the students regarding their progress and answer any questions they may have regarding Warwick and the Annual Fund.
How has your job changed in the last 5 to 10 years?
The very first Telephone Campaign took place in February 1997 – 2007 is our 10th Anniversary! This position was created in September 2002. As the need for fundraising has increased the Telephone Campaign has had to develop and expand in order to respond accordingly. Our staffing has therefore increased in order to maintain and continue our success. Warwick is now considered to be an example of best practice by other universities when it comes to telephone fundraising! This is down to our achievements over the last ten years and the innovative ideas that we have implemented to ensure continued satisfaction for our graduates, donors and Student Calling Team.
How does government legislation affect your job?
Decisions made by the government regarding student funding and, of course, charitable giving have a direct impact upon my job. For example, the introduction of Gift Aid in 2000 was, and still is, an important part of what we do. The Gift Aid regulations mean that UK charities are entitled to a 28% tax reclaim from the Inland Revenue on every £1 donated by UK taxpayers. The fact that we can increase gifts by almost a third so easily is absolutely fantastic, therefore Gift Aid can be a really strong factor in influencing people’s decision to make a donation. The recent decision by the government to give £1 for every £2 that universities raise from graduates and philanthropists from 2008 is great news and will potentially have a very large impact on our work over the next few years.
What are the best things and worst things about your job?
The best thing is definitely the sense of achievement you feel at the end of a successful campaign. Knowing that you are helping to provide more scholarships for talented students who might not otherwise have been able to attend Warwick is a fantastic feeling. We also get the opportunity to meet many of the scholarship recipients in person and quite a few have worked as Student Callers. On a less serious note, our End of Campaign Parties are always great fun! It’s really enjoyable being able to give out awards and prizes to our best Student Callers for all their hard work.
Advice to others looking for a job?
What attributes do you need/what are you looking for when hiring someone in your role?
I would definitely say that excellent organisation skills are essential. When we are mid-campaign things can get pretty hectic and you need to effectively balance a large number of duties with varying deadlines. It is also important to have good communication skills as in this role you come into contact with a wide variety of people i.e. students, graduates, parents, staff. Although I’m getting older I would like to think that I can still relate to current students!
What are your three favourite websites?
* Warwick Telephone Campaign webpages – our recently redesigned webpages raise awareness of everything involved with the Telephone Campaign to graduates, students and staff.
* Supporting Advancement – this website is an excellent resource for people working in our sector and provides examples of fundraising materials from other universities in both the UK and the US.
* Facebook – this is such a useful tool when it comes to contacting our Student Calling Team. They seem to check their Facebook profiles more than their emails these days so it provides a really good method of contact for us. It has also enabled us to set up a Student Calling Team group which raises awareness about what we do to the Warwick student body.