Now that you’ve graduated from college, you are faced with many decisions, including the age-old question of how much money your alumni donation should be.
Your first response may be shock, since you just spent at least four years paying for college, and now you are being asked for more money.
But after about the fifth letter pleading for additional financial help, you might start contemplating what the right amount would be for your alumni donation.
Take Your Budget Into Account
If you have lots of debt from student loans or credit cards, you are advised to pay that off before you make a big alumni donation. If you truly feel a duty to donate now, you can keep it small – any amount is appreciated. You can always donate more in the future, when you will hopefully have less debt and more income.
Of course, if you are doing fine financially, thanks in part to your college degree, now could be a great time to make a decent sized alumni donation. According to many studies, the average American gives about 2 percent of his or her income to charity, so think about giving about this much to your school if you can afford it and if this is the only type of charitable donation you make throughout the year.
Consider Special Interests
If you do not feel motivated to make an alumni donation, think about some of the programs in your school that really stand out to you. If you want other students to be able to enjoy the same benefits you did during your time in school, you should make an alumni donation to the program to help support it.
Examples include the student newspaper, the campus recreation center and your school’s honors college. Think about how you would be affected if specific programs were shut down due to lack of funds.
If you would be disappointed that others in the future, possibly including your own children, could not enjoy the same opportunities that stand out in your memory, you should make an alumni donation.
When to Start Giving Back
In the end, no one is required to make an alumni donation. If you have few good memories of college, you might not feel called to donate. If you feel the school already has enough funding, but mismanages it, an alumni donation may not be on your mind.
Of course, your feelings could change as you age. When you are fresh out of college and having trouble getting a job, you might feel your degree doesn’t mean much. But if you get your dream job in ten years, and you find out you were only considered because your employer was impressed by your alma mater, you might be feeling more generous.
Either way, there is no pressure to start giving back to your college the minute you are asked. You can always wait until you feel comfortable spending money, since circumstances tend to change through the years.
Don’t worry; you will continue to receive letters asking for your alumni donation for years to come, whether or not you give now.