Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Giving Money To The Alma Mater

This moderately superficial article is still a fun read. It discusses alumni giving and its relationship to both sports championships and children.

For men, it turns out, the past is still present. If your team was conference champion your sophomore year, you give about the same amount to the athletic program as the average athlete alum. If your team won your junior year, you give more. If your team took the prize your senior year, your lifetime giving is highest of all, about 8 percent higher per annum over decades than the giving of an athlete whose team didn’t get the prize in the last year at school.

That lucky fellow whose team was conference champion junior and senior years gives the most among athletes. This suggests a deep need to re-experience the triumphs of youth...

Giving by applicants’ parents peaks when the child turns 17, at which point parents are almost half again more likely to give than the childless. Those alumni whose teens never apply seem at peace: they just keep on giving steadily after their child goes elsewhere.

Not so households that experience the arrival of the dreaded thin envelope. After a first child is rejected, an alum parent gives substantially less often than before. And the disappointment builds. A few years out the parent’s giving drops all the way to that of a childless alum. Those whose last child has been turned down by Anon U actually give less and in smaller amounts than the average alum. Harvard, you are dead to me.

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