Letter to the Editor re. “Donations Plummet with University Crisis,” February 1


Dear Mr. Giovannetti and Ms. Jones,


Your report (“Donations Plummet with University Crisis,” February 1) made for grim reading – largely due to its inaccuracies and distortions. Long before (and in the wake of) Judith Woodsworth’s exit from the university it’s been business as usual at Advancement and Alumni Relations and its Call Centre.


The article draws false conclusions by comparing the results of calls made during October and November (when the Call Centre was soliciting individuals who contribute regularly to Concordia) with January, when the bulk of their efforts have been concentrated on alumni who have never given to Concordia. Naturally, the results will differ and attempting to equate the two groups makes no sense.


Indeed, when non-donors were called during the fall semester, donor participation was almost identical (within 0.5 percent) and in January, the average gift actually increased. With respect to donations falling to “$50 on some days,” there is a grain of truth. The shift on January 10, 2011 only resulted in $30 because it was cancelled shortly after calling started due to technical difficulties with the Call Centre computers.


As for the Call Centre’s practice of matching callers and alumni according to area of study, this is simply part of our ongoing and ever-changing effort to increase rapport during telephone calls. This strategy is completely unrelated to Dr. Woodsworth’s departure.


As ambassadors for the university, Call Centre employees are trained to engage in telephone conversations with prospective donors in a professional manner. There is no reason to bring up a potentially contentious issue during a fundraising appeal but if it comes up, they’re well-prepared to respond factually, avoiding speculation or bias. Similarly, a caller wouldn’t comment on a dispute with a professor over a grade or engage in a political debate during a solicitation.


At the end of the day, the Call Centre is one part of the university’s comprehensive fundraising strategy. Misinformation regarding its activities does a disservice to the successes of Concordia as a whole and in particular, to the amazing work of the students employed by the Call Centre.




Bonnie Kay

Manager, Call Centre

Advancement and Alumni Relations


Brad Skog

Director, Annual Giving

Advancement and Alumni Relations