What is the annual Robinson Telephone Campaign?

The Robinson Telephone Campaign is run annually by the College’s Development Office and has a dual purpose. We employ up to thirteen students to call around 1,800 alumni over a two-week period. Firstly, to update alumni on news, developments and forthcoming events in College and to offer alumni and current students the opportunity to exchange experiences. Secondly, to seek support for Robinson. It provides an integral opportunity for the College to further engage with its alumni and offer current students a formal job with comprehensive training and an opportunity to develop new transferable skills. We hope that alumni continue to enjoy their conversations with our student callers.

Why does the College need to raise funds?

The College is a registered Charity.  With no large endowment to fall back on, Robinson has always been enterprising and commercially aware. Despite the increase in tuition fees, the College continues to subsidise the cost of education for each student by around £8,000 per year, due to the decrease in state funding of higher education. Covering this educational deficit puts significant strain on our endowment, which must also cover operational costs and the maintenance of our buildings. Additional funds enable us to offer support to more students so that they can make the most of every opportunity that a Cambridge education offers

​Do you use a third party consultancy to help run the campaign?

Yes. Robinson work with a well-established firm of consultants who manage telephone campaigns for a number of Oxbridge Colleges and Russell Group Universities, and are experts in their field. The Development Team at Robinson is relatively small compared to some other Cambridge Colleges and so currently don’t have the resources to manage a key campaign of this size in-house.

I really enjoyed my conversation with a student - is it appropriate for me to offer careers advice after our call and keep in touch?

Absolutely.  We are very grateful to all alumni for taking the time to speak with a current student. It is perfectly acceptable for you to offer careers advice and support during your call – thank you very much.  We advise that alumni and students keep in touch via LinkedIn and recognise how beneficial these connections are for our students.

​Is there a member of the Development Office present during each calling session?

Yes, there will always be a member of the Development Office at every call session to answer any queries. The Deputy Development Director, Catherine Biggs, manages the Campaign and is always happy to answer any questions you may have. She can be contacted at cb810@cam.ac.uk or 07925 636756

Where and when does the calling take place?

Calling will take place between the 14th and 28th September, with most calls made between 6.15pm and 9.30pm.  Calls are also made during the day at the weekend.  Due to the Covid epidemic this year, calls will be made from the student’s homes to facilitate the requirement for social distancing.

How do we know what personal data a caller has access to?

We keep a log of which alumni’s profiles a caller has accessed.

How will we protect payment card data?

We will use dual tone multi frequency (DTMF) to process the card details means that the card details are never typed into the caller’s laptop. Callers are also removed from the payment process and do not hear the card details. This puts the call space, callers and supporting infrastructure (network, PC & phone) completely outside the PCI scope.

In simple terms the process is as follows, once the donation has been agreed, the caller transfers the call to the donation hotline. The donor then follows the prompts and enters the card details using the keypad on their phone. The donation is processed in real time and once completed, the Campaign Officer receives an email with details of the transaction. The process can connect directly to your merchant ID.

Does the solution use DTMF masking?

Yes, the solution uses DTMF masking, or suppression as it’s known and it is the basis of our PCI DSS level 1 compliant platform.

Our technologies suppress the tones as they are keyed-in to ensure they cannot be decrypted by a hacker or someone within the organisation.

How will we keep alumni’s phone numbers secure?

A call history of the numbers dialled through the softphone are stored in the app but this is stored separately from the normal phone history. There is no cross over between them. When we delete the account or the softphone is uninstalled, the call history is removed.

Callers will be required to clear the call history in the app at the end of each calling session.

How will we keep the caller’s personal data secure?

Calls made via softphone will show a local area number (It is possible to use the institution’s own number). This will hide the caller’s number but enable the alumni to return the call if required.

What measures do you have in place to keep alumni’s personal data secure?

Callers will be given corporate G suite accounts. They will use this account to login to a Chrome browser which will create their preconfigured user profile on their laptop. They will use this profile to access the calling application during the calling shift.

Callers will not be able to access the calling application outside of a calling shift hours and only callers specifically added to the shift will be able to login to the calling application.

Two factor verification will be enabled, and callers will be required to enter a code from a SMS message at the start of every calling session.

The setup will benefit from Chromes built in security features such as sandboxing and auto-updates. Additionally, G suite’s Chrome Management tool will be used to enforce a very restricted browsing experience for the profile. For example, only whitelisted URLs will be accessible, all other domains will be blocked.

Features and services that they have access to when using this profile will be limited based on the requirement of their role.

Callers will receive training on data protection and GDPR.

The personal information available to the caller will be limited. They will only be able to see the information required to complete the call for the alumni specifically allocated to them to call.

Callers will only have access to the personal information of one individual at a time and only during the call.

Callers will not have access to any Sensitive Personal Data.

How do you ensure alumni’s personal data is removed from the caller’s laptop after the calling session?

Caller profiles will be forced to run in ephemeral mode. The data relating to the calling session will only remain on the disk for the length of the user session. Features like browser history, extensions and their data, web data like cookies and web databases are deleted when the browser is closed.

But I’m registered with the Telephone Preference Service and/or the Fundraising Regulator, why are you cold-calling me?

This isn’t cold-calling. All alumni are contacted by the Warden in advance of the call and given the opportunity to opt out. Alumni enjoy speaking to current students and we do hope that you will relish this opportunity to exchange experiences with a current student. You can contact the office at any time to let us know you would prefer not to receive a call. We will continue to gather your consent for all of our activities throughout the year.

​Are the students paid or do they volunteer their time?

The students are currently paid an hourly rate. This is a role that can be added to their CVs, and they acquire new transferable skills, occasional careers advice from those they speak to and the thrills of speaking with alumni from all backgrounds.​ We regularly have return callers, so they must enjoy it!

Do the students receive training?

Yes, the students receive two days of comprehensive training prior to making their first calls. Not only do they gain new and develop existing transferable skills, they learn more about the College, its history, and how it is run.

I’ve been called before but I dislike the idea of being asked for money over the telephone. I would really prefer not to receive a call.

We appreciate your views. You are of course most welcome to opt-out from the campaign. All alumni receive an email or letter in advance of the start of the Telephone Campaign and details on how to opt-out are clearly stated. We do hope however that you would be willing to have a chat with a student nonetheless. The students greatly enjoy sharing experiences with their peers. The Deputy Development Director, Catherine Biggs, manages the campaign and is always happy to answer any questions you may have. She can be contacted at cb810@cam.ac.uk or 07925 636756

However, a call from a current student is not just about raising money for Robinson College….

It’s first and foremost offering alumni and students the chance to share experiences and engage with each other in a unique and hopefully fulfilling way. The team in the Development Office would love to be able to meet with every single member of the alumni community but this would not be physically possible and so, our students are offered this unique opportunity to share their experiences of the College with alumni and vice versa. Alumni are brought up to speed on what’s happening in and around the College and told about forthcoming events which might be of interest to them. Students have also benefited in the past from careers advice from alumni for which many have gone on to do great things. We appreciate your position but we do hope that you would be willing to have a conversation with a student even if you do not feel able to offer your philanthropic support to the College at this time. Our callers and many of those alumni who continue to take a call have told us that they have greatly enjoyed these conversations in the past. We hope that you will too!

Does this work distract the students from their studies?

No, the timings of this campaign have been designed to give the students plenty of time to focus on their studies. They will just be calling on weekday evenings and at the weekends. This is a formal job opportunity offered to them by the office outside of full term. ​