St. Thomas’ Phone Center introduced a new fundraising game this year to increase teamwork and motivation in student workers and to boost donations to the university.
Hannah Michelson, the phone center’s program center manager, said student supervisors came up with the idea for the year-long game and introduced it in September. In the game, student workers are divided up in two teams and awarded or deducted points based on their performance.
Michaelson said the game is intended to create a fun and competitive atmosphere so the callers are motivated to work hard. Michelson said the phone center will award prizes to the first, second and third-place teams.
“Holding people accountable by praising those who are doing well so others will strive for the same success is a very crucial part of the game,” Michelson said.
Michelson said she couldn’t definitively comment on whether alumni donations rates have risen since starting the game, but she speculated that the motivational boost among phone center employees is helping the overall donation goal.
So far, senior Mary Rogers, phone center manager, said most employees seem receptive to the game.
“We aimed this game more at getting people to come to shift and be engaged and accountable, which, in turn, should increase giving,” Rogers said.
The year started with a draft to pick teams based on previous caller performance, with student managers acting as team leaders. The teams then chose names and began competing.
The game is based off a point system. Callers gain points for their team by ending their shift above goal, picking up extra shifts or by earning “caller of the week.” Teams can lose points for tardiness or not showing up to a shift, having a bad attitude or hanging up on a potential donor.
Freshman Danny Gilles, who works at the phone center, said he has enjoyed the game so far.
“I like the new system because it adds an element of competition and a little entertainment to help distract from the fact that you’re at work,” Gilles said.
Junior Paul Frekot is also a fan of the game because it provides entertainment on the job.
“You don’t really think about the game too much; you just think about sitting down and getting points for your team to ultimately win a prize,” Frekot said.
Senior Brian Keller, a student manager, said he has noticed the the competitive nature of the work shifts and thinks the game is helping donation rates.
“The game is definitely working because you’re taking a work atmosphere and creating a game out of it; that is helping the shifts’ energy level and overall production,” Keller said.
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