Parent volunteers train for Annual Giving calls

By Alice Phillips

Approximately 40 parents attended an Annual Giving volunteer training dinner in the lobby of the Bing Auditorium on Thursday, Oct. 8.

Most of the volunteers are new to the school, but some had only recently chosen to get involved with Annual Giving several years after their children began at Harvard-Westlake.

Led by Director of Annual Giving Alan Ball and Parent Chairs Alison and Geoff Edelstein (Daniel ’11 and Matt ’13), the parents learned the process of calling families, establishing relationships with potential donors and keeping track of donors’ history with Annual Giving.

“The call is a vehicle to start stewarding the family,” Ball said.

He added that the volunteers’ duty is not only to call families about donations, but to keep in mind all of the various factors that go into a decision to donate and to build relationships beyond the first phone call.

“This is Los Angeles,” Geoff Edelstein said. “It’s very hard to build community. Our involvement in Annual Giving has made Los Angeles much smaller.”

Both he and his wife emphasized to the new volunteers that they will be calling families with whom their children share classes or whose children participate in similar extracurricular activities as their children.

The volunteers gathered in the Bing lobby for refreshments in the early evening, then sat down to the “working dinner.” During dinner, they learned the process of being assigned to an Annual Giving call team, the process of tracking donations and observing donation patterns and all of the mechanics of placing a donation.

“Play around with the website. See what it feels like to click on the $50,000 button and the $25,000 button,” Ball joked.

Alison Edelstein emphasized the importance of Annual Giving to the Harvard-Westlake community.

“We are 12 percent of the budget,” she said. “Annual Giving is part of every single thing your child does all day.”