Donor Profile

Top Phonathon caller now gives back himself

Aaron Louison ’11, assistant director of annual giving, with Andrew Goltzman ’12 hold the Brandeis Phonathon Hall of Fame plaque, which lists the top callers of all time.

By Kerri Farrell

As a sophomore at Queens High School of Teaching, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Andrew Goltzman ’12 liked what he saw on his first visit to Brandeis. Believing that the University’s liberal arts offerings would be a natural extension of his high school education, Andrew felt the school would be a “good place to find himself.”

He was right.

In his time as an undergraduate, Goltzman double majored in history and business, formed close relationships with faculty, made many friends, and honed his entrepreneurial interests. In addition to these accomplishments, Goltzman earned a great distinction: He was the most prolific Phonathon caller ever, raising $313,868 in three years.

During Phonathon, which is organized by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, students call alumni and friends to share news from campus and solicit gifts to the school.

During his calling shifts, Goltzman chatted with alumni who met their spouses or best friends at Brandeis, spoke with former Phonathon callers who were paid in pizza and learned how past students benefitted from scholarship support.

Goltzman attributes his success to his fondness for the institution and genuine interest in the experiences of former Brandeisians. “I spoke to University founders, recent graduates who were struggling to find themselves and successful older alumni,” Goltzman says. “The calls were an opportunity to update people on changes and connect them back to the school.”

He believes the key to securing gifts was not persuasiveness, but listening to alumni share their favorite Brandeis experiences. “Brandeis inspired the conversation, not me.”

Occasionally, Goltzman came across unhappy alumni. He recalls one alumna who “ranted” for 35 minutes about how miserable she was as a student when the snow would melt and leave Brandeis’ grounds looking unappealing. Shrewdly, Goltzman realized what this woman really wanted: more flowers on campus. He spoke to his supervisor and, in the end, the woman made a gift of more than $1,000 for flowers. Later, she donated $10,000, earmarked for campus beautification.

After graduating in May 2012, Goltzman made a leadership gift to his alma mater. He was inclined to support the University because Phonathon callers experience a side of development that is “pure” where “people are involved because they care.” After his Phonathon experience, “it was satisfying to give a little back,” he said.

The founder of a boutique asset management firm, he believes that the skills he developed as a caller have helped him in his career.

This fall, Goltzman will receive his first Phonathon call. Not surprisingly, he’s looking forward to it.

Date: January 22, 2014