Phonathon Management

As digital channels evolve and continue to grow, have you adapted your phonathon?
Phonathon management for annual giving

A robust Phonathon is a crucial component of every strong annual giving program, and Ruffalo Noel Levitz is pleased to be the industry leader in on-campus Phonathon solutions for over 20 years, delivering an unparalleled level of strategy, service, and results to our clients.

The fact is, when done right, engaging live with your supporters during a personal call continues to be one of the most highly effective solicitation channels: it’s the closest thing in your fundraising arsenal to gift officer visits, but it’s executed at a fraction of the cost.

To optimize this outreach, you need to build a robust phonathon program. That means you are:

  • Paying careful attention to personalization and engagement within each call
  • Contacting a variety of donors and prospective donors
  • Using technology to canvass these donors cost effectively and at a high rate
  • Carefully recruiting and training your student callers
  • Assessing key metrics like donor renewal, acquisition, upgrades, and second gifts
  • Building in "thank you" calls to provide powerful stewardship
  • Undertaking significant planning, investment, and management, along with careful execution
  • Considering the potential impact on total donor and dollar growth in all channels over time

A robust phonathon makes the difference

Phonathon contact rates are 2.8x higher than email open ratesNew donor acquisition is more than 12.8x higher than direct mail or email

Our clients have experienced a 3% increase in alumni donors while industry has seen a 7% declineOne client saw a 10-point bump from phonathon

What differentiates Ruffalo Noel Levitz from other Phonathon programs?

Big experience, personalized approach

We glean best practices from the 360+ institutions that partner with us every year and provide each client with proven strategies tailored to an institution’s needs and objectives.

Team of annual giving experts

We’ve been in your shoes. Prior to joining Ruffalo Noel Levitz, our team has experience working at more than 68 organizations and understands the challenges you face. We’re not a Phonathon vendor, we’re an annual giving partner that understands your goals and helps you eliminate the roadblocks preventing you from achieving them.

Data-driven strategy

We are the largest resource for industry trends and Phonathon results of any organization. We use that information to create a data-driven strategy and provide you with benchmarks and peer comparisons to help you stay ahead of the curve.


Last year on-campus clients raised over $97 million from over 850,000 pledges. We are always working with our clients to leverage new strategies to maximize their results. Based on programs that began in 2014, on average new on-campus programs saw a 26% increase in dollars and a 13% increase in pledges.

One partner

While Phonathon management is the cornerstone of our services, we offer data enrichment, direct mail, email solutions, and crowdfunding to help you execute a multichannel plan with one partner who understands annual giving.


   E-solutions    Direct Mail    Phonathon Crowdfunding  Data Enrichment

On-Campus Phonathon Services

Our on-campus clients can expect:

  • A robust Phonathon managed by an on-site, full-time program center manager dedicated to recruitment, retention, and training of the student calling team. Our managers are there during the entire shift to maximize your results each night.
  • Your students connecting with your alumni, parents, and friends from your campus.
  • Strategic planning and consultation by our experienced team of fundraising professionals, designed to help you get the most out of your Phonathon and annual giving program.
  • Data Enrichment Services to help increase the quality of your data before and throughout your phonathon program.
  • CAMPUSCALL, our industry leading telemarketing software, used at over 487 institutions.
  • Comprehensive and actionable reporting designed to fit your needs.
  • All necessary hardware brought to campus for the duration of your Phonathon.
  • A collaborative partnership meant to enhance the results of your Phonathon.


Will I lose control of my Phonathon?

Quite the opposite. It’s your Phonathon program, we are just there to help you get the most out of it to meet your objectives by working with you as a consultant and partner that ensures the successful execution of your Phonathon program.

Is my program going to be cookie cutter?

No. We begin the partnership with the intention to understand your program’s unique strengths and weaknesses and develop a collaborative plan tailored to help you meet your objectives.

Do you provide temporary management?

Yes. While we prefer long-term partnerships with our clients, we recognize that during times of staff turnover, some institutions need our assistance to keep their program running while a new manager is identified and hired.

How do I know if the on-campus management solution is right for my institution?

Contact us today so we can learn more about your organization and determine if our on-campus solution is the right fit for you.

Hear why clients use Ruffalo Noel Levitz’s On-Campus Phonathon Management:

"Making the choice to engage with Ruffalo Noel Levitz a year ago meant bringing on an entire team of professionals dedicated to maximizing the success of our phone program. From data integrity and predictive modeling to refined segmentation, we are able to optimize our phone program with improved results. Their expertise with our phone program means we can focus on other aspects of our annual giving initiatives."
Lora Wey
Executive Director, Annual Fund
Illinois State University

Contact us to learn more about Phonathon Management.

Phonathon white paper

Interested in learning more about optimizing your program? Download the whitepaper:

The value of robust phonathons

  • Know that the message is being delivered and heard—something you can’t be sure of with mail or email
  • Avoid the large donor decline being experienced by higher education institutions, which are seeing on average just 91 percent of their donors from a decade ago
  • Poll your alumni: learn how positive or negative news is being received
  • Use phonathon for thank you calls, to demonstrate to donors how their gifts are valued and influence their future giving

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