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**Please read this entire post, think about it, and do something about it.  Either a) seriously consider what I have to say or b) please pass this on to all of the Fordham alumni you know.**

I got this note last week...

"Fordham University would like to thank the 1,166 young alumni (classes of
1995-2004) who have already made a gift this year.  We still need another
834 gifts to reach our young alumni goals of 2,000 donors and 17%
participation.

Every gift moves us closer to achieving our goals."

Here's my question:  What does 2,000 donors mean to me?  Answer: Nothing.

That's Fordham's reason for me to donate, but its not my reason.  No one is going to give back to Fordham so that we can reach some psychologically satisfying, evenly divisible number.  Why 2,000?  Why not 2,106?  Either way, it sucks that our goals are so low. 

What sucks even more is that my class, the Class of 2001, is one of the worst giving classes.  As of today, only 9.81% of my class donates back to the school.  The best class, the Class of 1947, gives at a 29.38% clip.  Overall, the whole school is sitting at 15.19%. 

So, I'm throwing down the gauntlet.  Why can't my class be the top class?  For once, why doesn't Fordham pick a ridiculous goal and go after it.  So I did the math.  To get up to a 30%, our class needs 276 more givers by June 30th.   That's about 6 people a day.  So, screw 9%.  If you read this post, especially if you're in the Class of 2001, and you decide to give back, please comment at the bottom.  How cool would it be to actually get 276 people commenting and changing their mind about making a financial contribution?

How?  Well, you just can't spam people with "Go Fordham!" e-mails and expect people to open their wallets.  Nor does the "reaching 2,000 givers" thing really work either.  People need to want to give back.  They can't be convinced to.  If you didn't enjoy your Fordham experience and don't believe in the school, there's nothing anyone can say or do to make you want to give.  But, I know that at least 30% of the people I went to school with had a really positive experience (obviously more than 30%) so, somewhere there's a disconnect.  So, to help promote the idea of giving back, I'm going to put up a few of my own reasons why to help people rethink the whole giving thing.

1. Other people gave to me so that I could attend Fordham.   My parents were semi-retired when I graduated high school.  We weren't sure what we were going to be able to afford, and had I not gotten the scholarship and financial aid I got from Fordham, I would have gone to a state school.  Nothing against state schools, but the ONLY reason I went to Fordham was because other people that came before me donated enough to provide scholarship and financial aid funds.  Most of the people I knew at Fordham got financial aid--enough that it enabled them to go to Fordham to begin with.  This is my number one reason for giving back.  I am attempting, and I hope I get there, to try and give half of the money I got from Fordham back over the next 20 years.  It just seems only fair to me, because that money came from people who sacrificed to give before me.  Do the math for yourself.  Compare that with a $25 or even a $50 donation.

2.  Don't complain if you don't vote.
  I'll say it here: If you just sit around and complain that you don't like something about the school, and you don't try to help the school with ideas and support, you're not helping.  If you decide to give back... Don't give online.  Don't send a check.  Send a handwritten note directly to Fr. McShane with your check enclosed and ramble off a list of things you'd like him to do with your money and everyone else's money.  Tell him if you don't see positive things coming from the school on the things that are important to you, you'll disappear into the woodwork again.  A threat?  Sure.  But why not?  Its your hard earned money.  The school should listen to you and by sending a donation, you remind them that you're out there and that you'll support the school when you see it going in a positive direction.  My friend Brian sent them a check when he read about all the expansion plans at Lincoln Center to show his support.

3. Fordham's ranking sucks because people don't give back.
  You've heard it all before, but its really true.  National rankings for colleges weigh the percent of alumni that support the school very heavily.  With a small investment every year, and a little more convincing your friends to do the same, you can actually make your degree worth more by bumping up that number.   Don't let all these special giving levels deter you.  ANY giving amount is enough.  The people who want to give more will do that, but the really valuable giving means raising that number across the board.  Think about it.  Two years from now, if that giving number crosses 25%, its going to be all over the news and it will generate a lot of positive publicity for the school.... and for you and your degree.

4. Because it keeps you interested, like going to the gym because you're paying for it.
  Silly reason?  Maybe not.  I guarantee you that if you send Fordham a check every year, you're going to be happier when their incoming SATs go up, and more pissed when things go wrong.  It just like making the decision to get your ass out of bed early each morning to go to the gym, if only because you don't want to waste the money you already paid on it.  Financially contributing keeps you interested and you know what?  You should be interested, active and involved.  You have a lasting relationship with your school because the name of your degree will stay with you for the rest of your life.  You should foster that relationship by staying in the loop on what's going on, offering your feedback, and keeping Fordham in mind when you hire people, recommend schools, etc.

5. And finally...  because you'll blow that $25 on something stupid anyway.
  Why not contribute to something bigger than yourself?  What do you spend your most wasted $25 on all year?  You know what $25 is?  Its, once every othera month, buying a girl a drink who is clearly not interested in you.  Its taking, every other month, one wasteful cab-ride that you really should have walked, but you're always in a damned rush.  Walk somewhere for once.  Watch the people's faces as they walk by.  Look up at the buildings.  Think about where your life is going.  That's more Jesuit than a cab ride.  What is $25?  For me, its 25 ill-conceived Fantasy Baseball player pickups.  I will not pickup Mark Grudzielanek.  I will hold on to Kevin Brown if it kills me.  $25 is 5 coffee mocha latte thingys at Starbucks.  Just get a green tea.  Its healthy.  It has anti-oxidents.  Its cheaper.  Save yourself.  Support Fordham.  Two birds.  One stone.  Thanks for your time.