The first “Thank You Power Hour” at the University of Mississippi saw academic deans, faculty, and staff calling more than 340 alumni and friends this week to express appreciation for their private support.
“It was wonderful to see the deans, faculty and staff from across our campus all in one room thanking our donors,” said Suzanne Thigpen, director of annual giving. “What an amazing experience for the all those involved, including the most important individuals – the donors on the other end of the phone lines.”
The event was sponsored by the Office of University Development and the University of Mississippi Foundation. Thigpen plans to repeat the event to reach as many donors as possible with personal calls.
“We send letters and emails of thanks and recognize donors in newsletters and on websites, but we still want to do more,” Thigpen said. “Deans, faculty and staff responded to our request to spend an hour calling donors to express gratitude for gifts of all sizes. When these gifts are combined each year, our university is strengthened in extraordinary ways – students receive scholarships, faculty members are supported, programs are developed, and educational opportunities are increased. We have such involved and generous alumni and friends. Our message is one of deep appreciation for this continued support.”
Associate Director of University Development Sarah Hollis said, “The Power Hour was a fantastic opportunity to have Ole Miss leadership experience firsthand the Call Center environment. Our callers had a lot of fun connecting with donors to say thank you. The donors I spoke with really appreciated the outreach.”
Individuals making the calls of thanks did so from the Call Center usually staffed by students. Thigpen explained why students routinely call alumni and friends for annual gifts, while also stating the significance of deans, faculty, and staff participating.
“We use student callers to give alumni and friends the opportunity to hear from students about their experiences as students at Ole Miss today, and then the students, in turn, benefit from career advice from alumni who have been passionate about improving experiences for current students and future generations. The decision to involve deans, faculty and staff in the calls of appreciation this week came from our belief that it would help our alumni and friends feel even more connected to Ole Miss. Can you imagine former students receiving calls from their favorite professors to thank them for recent gifts? What a powerful message that sends to our donors!”
Individuals and organizations interested in supporting any area of the university can visit www.umfoundation.com or call 800-340-9542.