After the announcement that a prominent institution was “ending” it’s phonathon program, many advancement leaders began to question the effectiveness of their phone programs. Join Cameron Hall and guests from Albion College, Augustana College, California Polytechnic State University, and Colgate University to learn how these institutions are adapting their phone programs to ensure that phonathons remain a viable advancement strategy for the future.


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This episode is sponsored by Wilson-Bennett Technology, Inc.

Episode Host

Cameron J. Hall

Cameron J. Hall

As a progressive and forward-thinking fundraising and engagement strategist with proven experience in donor acquisition and retention through annual giving, alumni engagement and donor relations, Cameron served Augustana College as the Director of Annual Giving. There he lead a team that is responsible for providing oversight of strategic fundraising and engagement efforts through direct marketing, digital marketing, and telemarketing.


Caroline J. Swiderski

Caroline is the assistant director of annual giving at Augustana College (Rock Island, IL). She manages the college’s annual giving services including telemarketing and crowdfunding. Caroline also oversees several volunteer groups including the GOLD Council, Social Media Ambassadors and GIVE Council (a student philanthropy group).

Prior to working with Augustana College, Caroline spent several years working in marketing and public relations. She graduated from Augustana College with a bachelor’s of arts degree in Communication Studies, Business Administration with a Marketing and Management concentration.


Catherine Marhenke

Catherine Marhenke serves as Director of Annual Giving at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. Catherine is responsible for overseeing the strategy and execution of programs that contribute to Colgate’s $13 million annual fund and 13,000+ annual alumni donor participation. Her team manages programs that include marketing, recent alumni participation, volunteer management, stewardship, parent giving, and student philanthropy.

Catherine came to Colgate in 2016, bringing with her a decade of non-profit and higher education fundraising experience, including roles at the University of Central Arkansas and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Her expertise lies in multi-channel unrestricted fundraising including direct mail, digital strategy, and emerging trends.

Catherine earned her Bachelor of Arts in theatre from the University of South Carolina and her Master of Science in community and economic development from the University of Central Arkansas. She is a certified Raisers Edge user and currently serves on Colgate’s RE NXT Core Implementation team.


Christine McBride

In her role as Director of Annual Giving at Cal Poly, Chris combines her experience in marketing, alumni relations, and philanthropy to lead an annual giving program that focuses on building relationships and engagement that communicates the impact of philanthropy. Chris’ approach focuses on creative and expanded uses of traditional communications channels (mail, digital and phone) – a strategy that has resulted in an increase of more than 40% in annual giving dollars over the past four years. With a small professional staff of three, Cal Poly’s Annual Giving program relies heavily on engagement and employment of students who serve as phone fundraisers, digital promoters, and peer-peer campus engagement associates.


Ryan Robinet

Ryan is a fundraising professional who is passionate about combating two obstacles that nonprofits are facing today: (1) using data to make well-informed and strategic decisions and (2) tackling the professional fundraiser retention crisis. These objectives have been driven by nine years working with and for nonprofit organizations.

The initial leap into the nonprofit world began as an employee of for-profit consultant Wilson-Bennett Technology. In his work with WBT, Ryan was fortunate to work with over 80+ nonprofits (mostly colleges and universities) across the country in five years with the Phonathon company. Ryan is currently in his fourth year serving the Albion College community as a Director of Philanthropy – Strategic Fundraising Initiatives. This role covers the management of all solicitation channels and management of five engagement officers.

Ryan graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Siena Heights University. He is now pursuing a Master of Arts in Philanthropy and Development at LaGrange College. In his spare time, he enjoys a good taco truck, finding the best cup of coffee and exploring new cities.


Margot Rankins-Burd

Margot has served as a Coordinator in the Office of Annual Giving for Colgate University for two years. In this role, she oversees all aspects of undergraduate philanthropy. In addition to her two student organizations, The Senior Class Giving Committee and The Presidents’ Club Student Committee (an undergraduate leadership giving society), she oversees Colgate’s phonathon program.

Margot earned a bachelor of arts degree in international studies from Lycoming College and is pursuing an online master’s of science degree in nonprofit management from Northeastern University.