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 SRU Adds Automated Calling Center to Boost Donations 




Contact: K.E. Schwab  -- 724-738-2199;  e-mail:


          SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University is further expanding its use of technology by implementing an “Automated Calling Center” that increases efficiency in contacting alumni and friends and provides opportunities for increasing awareness of on-campus programs and projects.

          Headed by George F. McDowell, assistant director for university advancement, the eight-station calling technology is located in Maltby Center and allows students or staff to contact alumni making use of automated dialing. The high-tech system links the caller to data about the person being contacted to help personalize the call.

          “This new system, which we opened Jan. 26, allows us to speed up our fundraising and tele-fundraising,” explains McDowell, who also heads the university’s Annual Fund, a yearly program that contacts SRU alumni with requests for philanthropic support to specific priority programs and projects.

          “Last year, SRU alumni and friends gave $1.12 million for university programs through the Annual Fund. These are gifts helping provide scholarships for students, program enhancements and library resources beyond the standard state legislative funding. These are the funds that give SRU its ability to go beyond the minimum. They allow the university to be distinctive in its academic offerings,” McDowell explains.

          The new automated center allows student workers to contact alumni for gifts more efficiently by pre-dialing the calls and providing the student caller with a screen of information about the person being contacted. “We can try to steer a graduate’s gift to their specific area of interest,” says McDowell, explaining, “We can ask a biology graduate for a contribution to a new microcscope fund, or a computer science graduate for a gift to the new Science and Technology Building.” The system reshuffles calls that result in busy signals, are unanswered or picked up by home answering machines.

          SRU students who traditionally have made the gift solicitation calls from campus also update alumni about other campus events, including upcoming cultural and athletic events, McDowell says, adding the center can be used by the SRU Alumni Association in seeking new and renewed memberships as well as calls to regional alumni about major upcoming alumni cultural events or homecoming and alumni weekend. It can also be used to contact those who have expressed interest in enrolling at SRU and provide answers to questions from admission staff or directing potential students to other on-campus information sources, including faculty, housing staff or admissions counselors.

          “We hope the new system will help us increase both gifts and the number of participants while increasing efficiency,” he says.


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