The campaign has not only raised funding for needy students, but has brought the alumni community closer to their alma mater and inspired current students to excel while instilling in them the culture of ploughing back to the University.
“Yes, we are raising money, but that is almost the last benefit,” says Samantha Castle, Manager of the UWC Alumni Relations Office. “The critical benefit of this initiative is that the University is making contact with the alumni, getting their latest details and getting to know their interests to make future communication with them easier. And the students get inspired as they get into conversations with alumni who have been in the same struggles.”
In its second year, the campaign again revolved around the phonathon, with about 60 students calling UWC alumni across the country to encourage them to reconnect, update their contact details and donate funds to support students. An allied staff campaign invited staff members to pledge their support to the campaign.
Last year, the alumni phonathon raised about R1.2 million and 93 students across the faculties benefited. This year more than R1.6 million was pledged.
The University took the opportunity to intensify public awareness of the student fee issue through a social media campaign, showcasing beneficiaries in online profiles and videos.
“Last year we had to ask the public to trust us while this year, we can show evidence of who those students were that benefitted from their donations. We are putting a face to where the money went,” says Castle.
“Some donors have come back to give more money, and we want to encourage regular and affordable giving by alumni. The alumni have really stepped up and shown their commitment by pledging on a monthly basis to the University for students in need.”
According to Castle, what is unique about the campaign is the spirit, energy and the excitement of our students, as well as the empathy from the alumni and staff. “Our alumni have gone through the process of being students and many know what is it like to stay in the residences and struggle. This phonathon unleashed great empathy from the alumni, not only in understanding but in the action to commit to trying to change the situation.”
Anyone wanting to donate to the campaign should please contact Somayah Barnes at 021 959 2143 or email@example.com.