At the core of our firm is the calling team. Our team is comprised of well over 100 veteran callers who are well-versed in fundraising principles and calling fundamentals. They understand that you cannot raise funds for an organization unless you strive to build relationships first. They are extensively trained in fundraising fundamentals, calling skills, and most importantly, listening skills.
Advantage Plus differentiates its calling team from competing firms by hiring more mature callers for its programs. The average age of our callers is 47. We believe that life experience and educational background are key requirements for anyone representing our clients. We are proud to report a retention rate of well over 70%. This rate is significantly higher than the industry average.
Callers are required to go through two weeks of extensive caller education and training on a client’s program, and Advantage Plus requests that a representative from the organization be available for caller training at our offices on the first night of calling. Additionally, we will take our callers to a client’s campus, office or facility for a tour and additional training with your staff.
Anthony Alonso, President
Anthony Alonso, President of Advantage Plus has over 25 years of experience in direct marketing. He is often called upon as an industry leader to speak on telephone, planned giving and social media marketing. His experience ranges in the education, health care, social services and arts markets. Over the last twenty-five years, Mr. Alonso has had the honor of working with prestigious institutions, such as the United States Naval Academy Foundation, the United States Military Academy Association of Graduates, the United States Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association, The Betty Ford Center, Geisinger Health System, Rocky Mountain Health System, Oxford University, The London School of Economics, Dartmouth College, Advocate Health Foundation, The Hill School and countless Catholic organizations. Mr. Alonso served three terms on the AFP Foundation Board, was a founding member of the AFP Industry Partners Council and is currently an officer of the New Jersey Chapter board of AFP. Mr. Alonso has volunteered his time to his Catholic preparatory high school where he was a board member and contributor. He has provided pro-bono calling services to a myriad of organizations including the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy. It is Mr. Alonso’s expertise that has led his clients to successfully raise over $250 million within the last five years from the lower end of the donor pyramid.
Robert Alonso, Executive Vice President
Robert Alonso, Executive Vice President of Advantage Plus and President of Alonso Consulting, has been in the computer consulting business since 1979. Understanding any organization's fundraising program is only as good as its database management system. Mr. Alonso lends his expertise to take our client programs to the next level. His experience with the issues surrounding database management and letter generation are unsurpassed. Over the last ten years, Mr. Alonso has worked with major telemarketing organizations to develop and implement back-office systems for the production of fundraising letters, reporting of fundraising results, automation of calling centers and fulfillment of pledges. He has also developed software, which is currently in use by a major vendor of directories for the legal community and educational market.
Maria Healy, Vice President
Maria Healy has been serving non-profit clients in the area of direct marketing for over 16 years. Ms. Healy has managed the annual giving and capital campaign wrap-up programs for many clients including the United States Naval Academy Foundation, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, Rutgers University, Lehigh University, Albany Law School, St. Leo University, the PKD Foundation, Pocono Medical Center Foundation, William Paterson University, the Diocese of Camden, the Diocese of Jacksonville Florida, and Fairleigh Dickinson University. Ms. Healy has also served as Director of Information Services for Advantage Consulting. Her experience in this area is critical for clients concerned with data issues surrounding their programs. Prior to joining Advantage, Ms. Healy worked with the Liberty Science Center and the New Jersey Nets in their fulfillment and database management areas.
Gwen Paxon, Associate Vice President of Client Services
Gwen Paxon is a highly experienced member of our team, beginning her career in 2002. Ms. Paxon previously served in the positions of Program Director, Director of West Coast Calling Operations and Assistant Vice President of Calling Operations for Advantage Consulting. Ms. Paxon is responsible for managing operations at Advantage Plus’ Las Vegas office, as well as handling a number of client accounts such as the International Rescue Committee, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Sigma Chi Foundation and many more. Clients who have worked with Ms. Paxon over the years understand first-hand the commitment to excellence she brings to each project she manages. Ms. Paxon is a graduate of Temple University and earned a Masters in Philanthropy and Development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. She has been a board member of AFP Las Vegas for several years serving as Secretary and is currently the Chair of Philanthropy Day.
Zina Faynzilberg, Associate Vice President of Client Services
Zina Faynzilberg began her career as a student caller and has worked in a professional capacity since 2001 helping clients further their goals and missions. Ms. Faynzilberg has been managing client accounts for many institutions, including The City College of New York, the PKD Foundation, Father Martin’s Ashley and the Pocono Health Foundation. Ms. Faynzilberg’s ability to analyze results and provide strategy and direction has proven invaluable to the Advantage Plus team and the myriad of clients she has served throughout the years. Ms. Faynzilberg has a Bachelors of Science in Business Management and Finance from CUNY’s Brooklyn College. This background allows her to provide our clients with cutting edge and dynamic solutions to meet their needs.
Kwi Brennan, Associate Vice President of Sales
Kwi Brennan brings to Advantage Plus over 18 years of fundraising and non-profit management experience. He has served in leadership roles at large, medium and small institutions in higher education and social service. In addition to fundraising, Mr. Brennan has extensive experience in alumni relations, marketing, public relations, and data management systems. From 1996 to 2008, Mr. Brennan served in various increasing roles at the Rutgers University Foundation. During this time, his fundraising programs grew by nearly 400% to $10,000,000 per year, and his telephone fundraising operation was awarded the Silver medal for “Leadership in Education Fundraising” by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education District II. Mr. Brennan has a B.S. in Health Policy and Administration from Penn State and an M.B.A. in Finance from Rutgers. He was designated a Certified Fundraising Executive in 2002 and has had the privilege to speak at conferences for both CASE and AFP. Mr. Brennan served three terms on the AFP-New Jersey Board in various roles including treasurer and conference co-chair.
Richard A. Rodney, Associate Vice President for Sales and Marketing
Richard Rodney began his career with Advantage Consulting as a Calling Manager in 2004. After gaining experience running on-site and off-site calling programs for a number of clients, Mr. Rodney assumed the role of Associate Vice President for Calling Operations at Advantage West. He is now serving as the Associate Vice President for Sales and Marketing. Prior to joining Advantage Plus, Mr. Rodney was the Director of Calling Operations at his Alma Mater, Rutgers University. Mr. Rodney has worked in the non-profit sector for over fifteen years and brings a strong understanding of non-profit management and operations to our team.
Mr. Rodney is a member of AFP Las Vegas and an active volunteer as a camp counselor for Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada and for the Children’s Miracle Network.
MaryAnne DeVita, Director of Client Services
MaryAnne DeVita began her career with Advantage in 2001 in letter production and data entry. She later moved into a managerial role, where she oversaw the day to day operations of these departments. For the last six years, MaryAnne has been the Director of Client Services and has helped manage calling programs for Rutgers University, Bloomfield College, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Military Academy at West Point, Caron Treatment Center and Seabrook House.
Gayle Union, CFRE, Senior Consultant for Legacy Programs
Gayle Union has been the Senior Consultant for Legacy Programs at Advantage Plus since 2011, where she manages the gift planning component for telephone outreach programs. She is also the Manager of Planned Giving at the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, where, in addition to planned giving responsibilities, she manages a portfolio of major gift prospects. Ms. Union has spent over 30 years in fundraising, with the last 18 primarily focused on gift planning. She has started and managed regional and national gift planning programs for the American Cancer Society, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. Ms. Union is a past president of the National Capital Gift Planning Council (NCGPC) and a current board member. She is also a former board member of her local AFP chapter. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Master of Arts in Special Education from George Washington University.