Wired Up: Connecting to the Scripps Community through Phonathon

Scripps Phonathon student callers

Scripps Phonathon callers connect with donors through their shared love of the College, representing how the power of conversation helps the Scripps community thrive.

By Emily Glory Peters

On the ground floor of the McAlister Center on any given weekday you’ll find students at work on a time-honored Scripps College task: Phonathon. A student-driven fundraising project with decades under its belt, Phonathon has quietly become one of the most powerful programs to ever knit the Scripps community together.Students in the project are well-equipped to serve as ambassadors for the College as they embody several aspects of Scripps’ mission. As Phonathon callers, they sharpen their creativity through developing fundraising approaches and gain valuable leadership experience as employees. Yet Phonathon offers something more: a sense of kinship.

“When we connect [with alums and other potential donors] over the phone, people genuinely make our day when they share their Scripps experience and what they love about the College,” says Izzy Phan ’20, a Phonathon caller since her first year at Scripps and current program supervisor. “There’s an undercurrent we all share, and we love being part of that.”

To sustain that student-donor current, Phonathon callers are involved in everything from managing outgoing communications to filming thank you videos. The result is a vibrant environment where students build meaningful relationships with one another as well as with the greater Scripps community. In turn, those relationships heighten students’ awareness of all Scripps has to offer—and how donors keep the campus thriving.

“One of the perks of working with Phonathon is that I pay so much more attention to what’s going on at Scripps. I can see all the areas on campus that would benefit from outside support and communicate those areas to donors,” says Phan. “Scripps has given me so much, and helping to share our areas of greatest need with donors feels like such a unique way to give back to my institution.”

Sabine Romero '95

Former Phonathon caller Sabine Romero ’95 credits her time in Phonathon for her continued support of Scripps College.

This understanding of campus needs—and the importance of donor participation—is what makes Phonathon such a powerful incubator for relationship-driven College support. Exposure to the impact of giving has also proven to make Phonathon students more apt to give to the College once they graduate. Past Phonathon caller and current donor Sabine Romero’95 agrees.

“Through working Phonathon, I learned how gifts of all sizes matter and inspire others to give, too. Giving can even affect Scripps’ rankings, our degree value, and attract gifts from other funding sources,” Romero says. “That generosity and support of my education is what has inspired me to give every year since I graduated.”

As the next semester begins, the ground floor of the McAlister Center will continue to serve as the command post for community bonding—and Phan and her team are ready for their next Phonathon call. And whether the person at the other end of the wire is an alum, parent, or friend of Scripps, she encourages everyone to take a moment to chat.

“We love talking to people,” she says. “We love keeping you in tune with everything that’s going on at Scripps.”

The faces behind Phonathon are fundraisers, fellow scholars, and future leaders. Take a moment to chat with them and make a gift in honor of your shared love for the College. Want to support today? Click here to give.

Interested in learning more? Check out our latest giving and impact news here.