Tele-fundraising at Lion Line with Wiline Benice
Over the past eight years Wiline Benice, New York native and tele-fundraiser at Penn State Lion Line, a tele-fund center off of College Avenue in State College, has achieved something not many can put on their resume. She is among only several to raise over $100,000 for Penn State’s academics at University Park and commonwealth campuses. In just a short amount of time Benice was able to call herself one of Lion Lines' best callers.
As a supervisor at Lion Line, Benice contributes to Penn State’s philanthropic mission by inspiring and training new representatives. She is in a leadership role that manages a 60-station call center that is responsible for raising over $ 2 million dollars annually. Each night she listens and provides feedback to individuals and also shares the best practices she’s learned during her time as a caller. She says that she loves what she does, but it hasn’t been an easy task. “When you’re on the phone it’s not easy, most of the time you’re getting rejected.”
Benice started working for Lion Line in 2004. She was looking for something different than her current banquet serving job due to a lingering back problem. The only time she finds herself struggling in a call is when she realizes she’s been talking too much and not asking enough questions and listening to the answers. As a caller Benice finds her main strength to be her rapport. She believes she can relate to any alumni and prove to them why they need to give back to Penn State. “You can never assume what your prospect can give and cannot give. You don’t know what their situation is. So what I’ve learned is that you can’t ever assume. They’ll tell you what they can do.”
The first pledge she earned as a caller happened in July of 2004. It was a $50 pledge that didn’t come easy. She had to realize that she was going to get rejected and was honored when she got her first pledge to Penn State.
Some may have taken the work just to pay the monthly bills, but Benice feels Lion Line is more than a job. She finds this to be rewarding because in the end she is making a difference for a Penn Stater. “When I call I’m able to still make an impact by getting somebody to give a gift. We may only work 3.5 hours but we start the day with 0 and we may end up with $50,000 or we end up with $15,000, it all depends on the night, but it's all about asking”.
Benice feels that rejection is all part of being a tele-fundraiser, but she finds pride in what she does. She says, “Not many can do what we do, it’s not an easy task, but I’m honored to be able to make a difference in someone’s life. Not only that but we have Penn Staters helping other Penn Staters achieve their own goals.”
Benice makes her mark on callers
Sara Williams, a Communications Disorder major, says ever since she became a caller at Penn State Lion Line that Wiline Benice made an impact on her calls. Williams says Benice has given her motivation, inspiration and advice. She believes Benice helped mold her into to the supervisor she is today.
“She’s a great person all around, she knows so much about Penn State. She is Penn State,” Williams said.