Your Alma Mater

4 Ways to Contribute to Alma Mater without a Paycheck


Chances are since you graduated, you’ve gotten snail mail and phone calls from your alumni association asking you to consider making a financial contribution–to give back. It seems like a no-brainer to give back to the institution that gave you your diploma, memories, new friends, and the education needed to pursue your professional dreams.

But, if you are still figuring out your career path and aren’t able to support your alma mater financially, are there other things you can do to show pride for your college or university? It turns out there are more than a few ways you can do that without having to write a check (hint: one of them involves watching the game at your favorite sports bar, Carolina Ale House!).

If you want to contribute to your class’s alumni efforts, check out these five ways to give back to your school.

Join alumni clubs

Just like there are professional development clubs that exist outside of your specific job, there are alumni organizations that exist outside of your college’s campus. They’re often organized around graduating classes or particular departments, and they focus on creating fun activities and events for members to participate in together. Yes, technically many of these events cost money, but more often than not you’ll be treated to a fun time with food and great people in the process. By joining these organizations, you are communicating your pride in your alma mater, staying in touch with fellow graduates, and giving back directly to the school.

Carolina Ale House, via our CAH-U program, wants to help your organization raise even more money. As a part of CAH-U, every time you and your alumni group dine at Carolina Ale House, we will donate back a percentage of food sales so you can give back directly to your alumni foundation or scholarship fund.

The best part? You don’t have to be representing a North Carolina school to benefit from our college sponsorship programs. When we partner together, your alumni meet-up to watch the rivalry game would give back directly to your fundraising efforts. Let us make your money work twice as hard for you: you’ll get great made-from-scratch meals while also directly contributing to your college. Talk about a smart move! Apply to CAH-U for your alumni group today by submitting the form found here.

Fill out alumni surveys

The real first step here is to make sure your contact information has been updated with your alumni association. Once they know your new email address, they will likely send you a link that leads to a survey every couple of months. Instead of mindlessly putting it in your archives, try answering these questions instead. When you fill out these surveys, you have a direct line to the folks who are most concerned with the current student experience. Most times, the information they’re asking for isn’t challenging to provide–if you are getting a graduate degree, where you work, where you live, and how your program at their school helped you in real life.

Even if the changes made as a result of these surveys are small, they are steps in the right direction for the next class of graduates to come out of your school. Giving back by giving information is one of the best free ways to support your alma mater.

Be a mentor

If you know a high school student who’s starting to make these decisions, you can act as an unofficial recruiter by taking the time to chat with the student about your experiences, and what you loved about your time there. If you can, offer to give a tour of the campus or to meet for coffee in real life to answer their questions.

Think about any big decision you’ve made in your life–chances are you’ve read reviews from other customers or reached out to family & friends for a second opinion or perspective. Choosing a university is no different. By being a non-judgemental resource with real-life experience in the arena they are learning about, you can be free to support your university on a one-to-one basis. There’s nothing more valuable than a stamp of approval from alumni.

Use social media

Words can be powerful things–especially as prospective students begin their journey to the right higher education option for themselves. If you don’t know anyone personally starting the college application process, consider what you can do digitally to help out. LinkedIn and other online publications have direct access to these audiences, and with a quick blog post or comment, you can offer suggestions, advice, and opinions that boost your school’s reputation from something a stodgy administrator wrote to a real testimonial for the difference your school has made on your adult life.

When you talk about your school, people see it & listen. It’s also a completely free way to market the school’s pros and the great experiences you had, without sending in a check every month.

There’s no such thing as a small contribution

In the end, no matter how you choose to boost your school’s efforts, it will be appreciated. Giving Tuesday doesn’t have to be siloed to just one weekend in December. By layering in these techniques every month, you can be proud of the positive impact you are having on your school’s legacy. Fundraising calls and letters are never meant to make you feel guilty into contributing, but rather may be the push needed to show support for your school in your own way.

Paying it forward with kind words, volunteering your time, or supporting them financially through sponsorships with local organizations all work to your alma mater’s benefit. In the process, you’ll likely be connected to a robust network of folks with a similar experience, increase the value of the degree you hold, and help out the next generation of students towards a successful life.