OLD GLOVE FACTORY-During Heart GC week, the dedicated people at Phonathon held a fundraising blitz. Because Heart GC week is usually such a big deal among Grinnell students, Phonathon has adapted its targets and its calling script, as well as the work culture to student’s financial situations.
“You know, I never really got how big of a deal Heart GC week was until Phonathon called me at 3:29AM asking for ten thousand dollars in an English accent,” said Terry Shanglebacker ’17.
Phonathon donors expressed that they felt awkward being asked by their fellow students for money. “We’re mixing up our scripts to entertain and engage our volunteers who think asking fellow students is awkward,” said Molly Daker, a Phonathon supervisor. “They don’t seem to understand how important Phonathon is.”
Phonathon’s new scripts include: outright demanding of large amounts of money in an English accent, periodically breaking into spurts of forced laughter, playing hard-to-get by hanging up, and only speaking in mysterious half-sentences. Sometimes, Phonathon volunteers work in tandem: one threatens the donor in a deep raspy voice and the other pretends to be Liam Neeson, they play out an hour long skit, and then the Neeson character charges the donor for being protected.
Phonathon volunteers complained that asking their peers for money was weird, so Phonathon adjusted the work culture accordingly. “It’s been intense this week,” said Evelyn DeFlower ’18.5. “There’s a new rule where if you don’t bring in $25 an hour you get a point penalty. After one point off, your boss gently places the open loop of a penalty noose around your neck. The other end isn’t tied to anything, so it’s safe, but sometimes the rope gets scratchy around my neck and I’m starting to get the feeling that she’s threatening to kill me. That is unnecessarily stressful.”
Daker, the Phonathon supervisor, lauded the point penalty system’s effectiveness. “After two points off, we send a missile to the volunteer’s home.” she said.
“I didn’t even know Heart GC week was going on until a strange number called me 43 times over the weekend and left 22 voice messages.” said Andy Chen ‘19. “When I finally called back, a sobbing student said, ‘It’s too late! It’s too late! They’re dead!’”