In only four years of part-time work, Corey Shircliff’11 has raised more than $100,000 for Beloit College—and she’s done it all without leaving campus.
Besides majoring in geology, Shircliff spent the last four years working on Phonathon, a college fundraising effort run by the Office of External Affairs. The program employs students who call alumni and parents to ask them to make philanthropic gifts to the Beloit Fund, which supports the college’s core operations—everything from financial aid to student-faculty research to internship stipends.
When Shircliff heard about Phonathon from a friend during her first semester at Beloit, she quickly dropped her dishwashing job in the dining hall to take the position.
“What makes Corey so successful is her ability to connect with alumni,” says Mark Wold’95, director of the Beloit Fund. She is the first Phonathon employee ever to exceed $100,000, he says—and the previous record was nowhere close, at about $50,000. She once raised $17,000 dollars in a single evening.
Shircliff thought she would major in sociology or political science, but a geology course and its field school excursion in Nevada roped her in. Post-Beloit, she’s on her way to Louisiana State University to earn a Ph.D. degree in geology, followed by a career in either research or consulting.
When Shircliff spent a semester studying in New Zealand, she serendipitously had a contact: a Beloit geology alumna she had met on the phone one night at work. “Before I went to New Zealand, she said, ‘Email me. I lived there, so I can help you out with details.’”
Working on Phonathon, such relationships aren’t unusual for Shircliff. “The connection that students have with alumni is the most important thing,” she says. “That has a lot of value, and not just fiscally.”
Representing approximately 15 percent of Beloit’s annual fund, the Phonathon plays an important role in Beloit’s grass roots fundraising. “It matters. It’s a good return,” says Wold. “But the real return on investment comes in the connections that develop between our students and alumni. Those are priceless.”