alumni associations: why do they already want more money?

Posted : June 5, 2006
Last Updated : June 1, 2016

alumni associations: why do they already want more money?

For those of you who have recently graduated from college, you may already be receiving mail or phone calls from your college's alumni association asking you to donate money to the school. You've already spent a fortune on your education (or are currently doing so via repayment of your student loans), so why does the college already want more money from you?

An Overview
Alumni associations are organizations of former students. These associations provide numerous services to current students and alumni alike. Alumni associations request your donations to support these services. Some associations solicit donations, while others just work closely with the endowment or development offices. At some schools, you are automatically considered a member of the alumni association once you graduate from the school (although you may be asked to make donations). At other schools, you must pay membership fees to be a part of their association. Alumni who make donations or pay association membership fees may also receive small perks, such as car rental/hotel discounts, library privileges, special event invitations, etc.

Where Does the Money Go?
This will vary between alumni associations. The following are examples of possible categories on which the donations may be spent:

  • Scholarship money for incoming/current students
  • Graduate fellowships
  • Specific departments or programs
  • New/updated academic buildings
  • New/updated dormitories
  • Upgraded equipment
  • Library books
  • Alumni reunions
  • Alumni vacations
  • Networking opportunities
  • Association mailings
  • Special projects
  • Et Cetera

At many schools, you can also specify what area you would like your donation(s) to support. Many individuals take comfort in knowing that their contribution is going directly to help the students.

How Much?
Alumni associations welcome whatever amount you can afford to give. Many businesses will also match contributions made to schools. Check with your employer to see if they offer a matching gift program.

It's Not All About Money
If you can't afford to donate money but still want to help out your alma mater, you can offer your time. Alumni associations provide many volunteer opportunities in which alumni can participate, such as promoting the school at college fairs, assisting with information sessions across the country, assisting in fundraising efforts, etc. Check with your school's alumni association to see how you can volunteer your time.

By being involved with your college's alumni association (whether by monetary donations or volunteerism), you are not only helping yourself, but you are also helping current and future students. For more specific information, be sure to contact your college's alumni association.

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