The Team Behind The Telefund: Natalie Hastings (’15)

Senior Natalie Hastings (’15) is the student-supervisor at the telefund and she’s been calling alumni, parents and friends of Gonzaga University since she was a sophomore. Hastings enjoys making nightly calls along with the rest of the team, meeting and networking with alumni, learning more about the varied experiences and connections people have with GU, updating records and raising funds for scholarships and other University expenses.

“I like to ask people about their favorite memory from when they were at Gonzaga,” said Hastings, “and finding all the connections. Everybody knows everybody somehow, it seems. It’s really exciting to hear that maybe they had a teacher that I have now, or they know my roommate’s parents or something like that.”

One call Hastings made was exceptionally memorable. It was her very first semester with the telefund. She called for a gentleman named Sterling Wood, but his daughter Becky answered the phone.

“Hi, my name is Natalie and I’m a student at Gonzaga University,” Hastings said, asking to speak with Mr. Wood.

“Oh no,” Wood replied, “he actually just passed away.”

Hastings was stunned. She gasped and thought, “What do I do? What do I say?” She collected herself with a deep breath and expressed her condolences.

“I’m so sorry to hear that,” Hastings said.

“It’s okay,” Wood reassured her and the two just kept talking. Hastings told her what was going on around campus at Gonzaga and Wood shared what her father loved about the University. At the end of their conversation, the woman asked, “So, why were you calling?”

Natalie explained, “I was calling on behalf of our annual campaign and was going to ask him if he wanted to renew his gift from last year.”

“I’m really sorry he can’t do that,” Wood said. She continued, and completely shocked Hastings: “I would love to give!”

“She wasn’t connected to Gonzaga other than through this man with whom I was supposed to be talking,” Hastings recalled, “and she’d never given before. That was the coolest thing to me.” If that weren’t enough, after their call ended, Wood emailed Hastings’ supervisor:

Just so you know, the young woman I spoke with, I think she said her name was Natalie, was very personable and I did have an enjoyable conversation with her – one of the main reasons I agreed to contribute money – so, HIGH FIVE TO NATALIE. I love Gonzaga and wish you all the very best in 2013.

It was an experience Hastings will never forget.

Hastings is very grateful for every gift made to the University, because she herself is a beneficiary of that support.

“96% of students here get some type of financial aid,” she said, “like me – I’m here because of our donors. Because our alumni and donors give so much, it gives the opportunity for students to go to Gonzaga. Calling for the telefund means I can keep that cycle going, which means a lot to me.”

She also hopes that when you see a call from (509) 313-6442 you’ll take a minute to answer.

“There are so many reasons to talk to us, and if you aren’t able to give for whatever reason right now, that’s okay!” Hastings said. “Please still pick up, because we would love to have a conversation with you. Plus, we can update your address, phone number, email and what you do for a living for our records. That’s important because if you do make a gift, your company might be able to match or even double it!”

Hastings stressed, “It’s all about the cycle of giving. Others give so we can have an amazing experience, and we’re trying to keep that going!”

You don’t have to wait until you hear from the telefund team to give to GU – visit to make your gift today.