Jan 9, 2010  •  In Finance, Personal

Donations via Guilt

Every few months I receive the Johns Hopkins Magazine in the mail. I pore over each issue with a cup of joe, reading it cover to cover to keep afloat on the latest from my alma mater.

Who am I kidding? It usually ends up in the recycling bin, untouched.

And, like indigestion is sure to follow a night of over-indulgence at White Castle (aka the crack of fast food), a “special” letter from the JHU President trails the magazine within a few days.

A “special” letter asking for donations, that is.

I’ve always discarded these letters without much of a second glance — because let’s face it, I didn’t particularly like my experience at Hopkins, and my entire professional career has had nothing to do with what I studied there — but I decided to take a closer look and noticed something interesting.

Do you see that in the middle? “Giving History to Johns Hopkins.” And a little table of how much (or how little, in my case) I’ve donated over the years.

Is this their way of trying to guilt-trip me into paying up?

…because it’s kinda working.

Unlucky for them, I’ve exceeded my charity budget for the quarter (thanks to all my heart-of-gold friends who are always walking/running/biking/selling to raise money for good causes and forever hounding me with emails). So perhaps I’ll give it a go with the next round of mailings.

Do you donate money to your alma mater?

11 Responses to “Donations via Guilt”

  1. OMG. That would be totally illegal and unethical in my country (Germany). SO weird!

  2. I do… But not so much. Only $20-$40 a year. And I specify that it must be donated to my program/my field of study to boot.

    although, I must say… they’ve never guilt tripped me like your university does. ^__^;

  3. That’s crazy that they’re trying to guilt people into donating!

    The school I went to has never asked for a donation from me. That could be because a) for my first semester of school I actually worked part time in the office that called people to ask for donations. I quit because I couldn’t stand it and told them not to bother contacting me about making a donation after I graduated. b)My alumni magazines are sent only by email now, and I have that email marked as spam. Or c) I’ve moved about a million times since I graduated and they just don’t know where to find me!

    I don’t think I would donate if they ever did contact me. Like you mentioned, all of my charity money is already spoken for as soon as I have extra cash. And, the 5 year program that I ended up paying $50,000.00 for got me nowhere. I couldn’t get a good job for 3 years, and when I finally did get a good job it has nothing to do with the program I took in school. I actually am back in school to become qualified in the field I ended up in!

  4. That’s pretty rude. I’ve only just graduated, but no doubt the letters will start coming soon – I might make a small donation, but then again, I might not…

  5. That is insane! No, I’ve never donated money to my old school.

  6. um heck no! i just might when i pay off all my grad school loans but for now definitely not. i think it would really annoy me if my alma mater listed how little i’d donated in the past lol.

  7. Spelman College does the exact same thing. They tell you how much you don’t give annually. I guess that is how they guilt trip you into giving :O)

  8. Fellow alumni here (SPH 98)…I have never noticed that before, maybe because I never open them either. I’ll have to check next time. The main reason I don’t open them other than being broke from paying student loans is I’m also afraid that the letter will say they didn’t mean to accept me and they’re taking my degree back. Anyways, just found your blog and it’s been a great read!

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