I realize that this is how many organizations stay afloat, build or rebuild, gift or re-gift. In the past month, I've been contacted by charming students from my alma maters. And as much as I cherish the memories of Christ the King and St. Pius X and Villanova, I don't have the expendable income to eke out a donation. I particularly love when they highball and ask for $500. The student volunteers REALLY get confused when I say, "When I do get a full-time job, and have the means to donate, do you have a website or a number that I can call?" There's a confused pause, and then, "Um. No."
Now first: for educational institutions that, I believe, did an excellent job educating students, you'd think they could do a little intuitive research. I realize that background-checking all the alumni on the call-list is out of the question, but perhaps when the query "So, what have you been doing since you graduated?" is answered with, "Well, I worked as a Marketing Manager for an airline until I lost my job. Now I'm a freelance writer and photographer's assistant," the plea for money should be lowered from $500 to something more like $50.
Secondly: Someone in the ranks needs to come up with better follow-up to the response, "I'm sorry, I can't donate right now." Perhaps, "Okay, well, be sure to visit our annual fund website to track our progress and observe the practical benefits of the drive." Or, "I see you live in the Denver Metro area. Are you in touch with the local Alumni Association?"
Because for 4 years, I was an extremely productive member of the student body. I worked my work study job, I was on the board of my extra-curricular activities, I made all the Honors Societies I was supposed to make, I volunteered for this, that, and the other, and I did my part to keep the GPA average up. Now you only reach out to me when you want money, and when I tell you I can't give, you have nothing else to say to me?
Never mind that I'm still eking out monthly payments to pay off my student loans. I'm still proud to be a graduate of your institution. I just can't fork over $500 to you right now. But I can meet with local prospective students or write for your newsletter or website or take a raincheck on donating my rent. Just give me another option, please?