It’s All About The Benjamins

For some reason, I have been enthralled in alumni relations within higher education institutions. I can’t say when it really started, but it intensified during my time studying my [first] Master’s in Educational Policy and Administration. I think it also intensifies due to being a college soccer coach.

I had this one idea, one time, to write a book about “The $100 Solution” (or something along those lines). I know it’s not really a solution, but in my mind, it would work wonders.

Here’s the idea:

To get alumni to donate $100 a year to their Alma mater.

Why? Well, I think it is important to give back. That’s the most important reason why the idea came up. I will use my Alma mater as an example for this “solution.”

Higher education costs are going through the roof! It’s not looking any better for the future either. Well, Asbury tuition and costs are rising just like all the others (last year was at $28,869 – total). Asbury graduates roughly 367 a year. Think about 367 people donating a measly $100 each year. The 2011 class would give $36,700. And so wouldn’t the previous 10, 20, 30, and 40+ classes. Asbury’s enrollment has typically hovered around the same number, so we’ll just keep it at 367 for every graduated class.

Ten years of classes giving $36,700 a year, that’d be $367,000 a year. Over 10 years, that goes a LONG way. Add into that, there are always people who want to give MORE. So each class would be giving more than $36,700 a year. Imagine possibly 50+ years of graduating classes giving money!

A quick look at alumni giving numbers shows that only 30-some percent of Asbury alumni give back. To me, this is a horrible percentage. A look at the Presidential report (the publication that details the donors) shows there are some MAJOR gaps in alumni giving. Now, I understand not everyone who gives is published in the report — but having a graduated class where only 4% donates is pretty bad. Giving $100 to the institution will help increase those numbers.

Most college presidents are fundraisers who want to talk to big money donors. I say, go after the small money donors too. That money is worthwhile too. Those alumni are just as important as another alumni who wants to give a lot of money (which often has strings attached to it). The hardest classes to get are those that are just recent grads. But just asking for $100 a year, you won’t be asking for much nor is that too hard to give for these recent grads. People can sacrifice going out to eat a few times to help their institution.

I realize that getting 100% of graduating classes to buy into this isn’t realistic. But even getting 60-85% of the class to do this is WAY more than what is currently in place for most institutions.

Think about that $100. What could it do? Could it help raise the institution’s endowment? Could it help better your institution’s soccer/basketball/football/baseball program? Could it help get new science equipment? Could it make your institution more affordable for people like yourself? Without the alumni/generous donors, institutions would be much more expensive. In Asbury’s case, those donors aren’t present, thus we have a pretty expensive institution.

I even think this would be worthwhile to give money to a high school. I think most athletic programs in high school and middle school can be self-sustaining. With generous donors, there are many projects at school districts that wouldn’t be possible. I think we can all look around to districts close by us to see who cares about the school and who doesn’t. I look at my former district and we have the most outdated facilities in the whole league. Other schools are building bigger and better…meanwhile, my district is getting older and more decrepit. There are many people there that can make the institution and its facilities better. Having a simple giving plan will help.

It’s all about the Benjamins. There are a lot of people who are already very generous and like to give back…is it possible that you could give more? I will say this, give to the places that you know your money is being used wisely. Maybe this is a reason why more people don’t give more money to Asbury and my former district? Thoughts to ponder…

Just an idea. It’d be interesting to what the possibility of this working is.



  1. Tim

    367*$100= $36,700 per year Ponchak, not $3,670.

  2. Ha! Thanks…not a math major :).

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