Alumni Appeal Benefits Trinity Projects

Posted on: 17 July 2015

Behind the success of Trinity’s Alumni Appeal is a team of 45 enthusiastic student callers who telephone graduates to continue their link with Trinity and to ask them to consider making a donation. Since 2011, student callers have helped to secure more than 11,600 donations through the Alumni Appeal raising close to €1.3 million. The last academic year was the most successful to date with one in three alumni who were contacted by students pledging a gift.

When alumni make a donation, it can be either for a specific project chosen by the donor, or for unrestricted funding.  The Trinity Access Programmes (TAP) traditionally gets a very positive response.  More than 500 people are currently being supported by TAP who, owing to their personal circumstances, would otherwise be unable to reach their academic potential.

Support for scholarships and research projects is also popular. Today Trinity is home to over 2,000 ground-breaking postgraduate research projects which need alumni support, from developing treatment for killer diseases and advancing equality in the developing world to creating new technologies and challenging long-held cultural assumptions.

Through the Alumni Appeal, Trinity graduates are helping realise these vital projects and enabling people from diverse backgrounds overcome educational barriers so they can make a greater contribution to society.

Previously located in the Bridge to College premises in Dunlop Oriel House, the success of the appeal has resulted in a move to the top floor of the GMB to facilitate a larger team. There is a great team spirit among the student callers who are from all disciplines across the campus.

The student callers reach out to alumni across the world so contact them at an opportune time, for example early in the morning if they are located in Asia, Australia and New Zealand to allow for the time difference, and in the evening for European based alumni.

There are three purposes of the call: to update alumni’s contact details and to inform them of forthcoming events and services they can avail of such as Library Reader’s Cards and free entry to view the Book of Kells; to speak to alumni about their time as a student in Trinity which often leads to warm conversations; and to ask them to consider making a donation to the appeal.

Robyn Ní Chasarlaigh manages the phone campaign and team of student callers. A History of Art and Architecture graduate, Robyn herself is a former student caller, and now an employee of Trinity Development & Alumni.

Colourful stories from conversations with alumni that Robyn recalls include an alumnus now based in Canada regaling the story of a prankster, who ‘arranged’ for a Volkswagen to be hoisted onto the roof of the Examination Hall in the 1960s, and older female graduates reminiscing about being among the first women in College, and how advant-garde they felt, with some commenting they were never stuck for a date for the Trinity Ball!

Overall, the calls are received very positively by alumni, who are eager to support their alma mater. Many of the callers are donors themselves and make up part of the 1,200 students who also supported Trinity last year.

Facing into a new academic year, the next Alumni Appeal will be in October for 5-6 weeks and will focus on America. As there is a culture of giving to an alma mater in the USA, Trinity alumni who are based there tend to be very receptive to the callers. No doubt the success of the dynamic student caller team will continue to thrive.

Student callers working on Alumni appeal campaign