10 Reasons Why You Don’t Give to ECU (and why they’re baloney)

By Erin Ward
When it comes to giving back to your alma mater, there are many reasons it may not seem feasible. Not the right time, not the right amount of savings, not the right cause you’re passionate about. But giving back doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. Here’s why you might want to rethink some of those giving options.

“ECU doesn’t need my money.”

State funding is the largest source of the university’s operating budget, but it doesn’t cover everything, nor should it. Universities have to do more to ensure students succeed. So even though ECU is publicly funded, it still depends on donations for things like programmatic enhancements, capital improvements and scholarships.

“Philanthropy is for the wealthy.”

You might think charitable giving requires having a significant amount of money. However, deep pockets are far from the be-all and end-all when it comes to philanthropy. By being very intentional with your giving, your money can be used thoughtfully and effectively. Mike Anderson

Mike Armstrong ’78 ’79 says he’s not particularly wealthy, but with a little planning he’s able to support a student scholarship in the College of Business. He gives to ECU annually, and his employer matches his contributions 100%.

“I am grateful to be able to give what I have given, and I have found that an ECU education is without question the best investment ever,” he says.

“My gift wouldn’t be big enough to have an impact.”

It sounds cliché, but every dollar donated really does count. You don’t have to give millions for your gift to make a big difference. While a gift of $50 may seem small, 10,000 alumni giving $50 has a combined impact of $500,000. That could, for example, fund a $5,000 scholarship for 100 students and make their college dreams that much more accessible.

“Money just goes to administrative bloat.”

ECU is a big institution, but you never have to worry about your generosity getting lost in the void. Your gift can go to whatever college, school or fund you want. Are you passionate about Pirate athletics? Do you fondly remember your time as an English or engineering major? Did you have an amazing study abroad experience while you were a student? You can route your support to any of these areas (and many more), so you know exactly where your money is going and whom it is helping.

“Philanthropy is for older people.”

Kinna Clark

It’s entirely possible to give while you’re young and earning less. This establishes a powerful habit of giving and puts you in a position to give more as your income increases. That’s what Kinna Clark ’10 did when she set up a scholarship through a percentage of her insurance policy.

“I’m a big proponent of starting early,” she says. “Especially for young alums, they may not have amassed wealth soon after graduating, so it’s a great way to begin. When you’re younger, insurance policies are cheaper for you. You don’t have to have a lot of cash on hand to do something, and you can continue to build on it.”

“I already paid tuition. And I’m still paying off student loan debt.”

Think of your diploma like owning stock. Donating money to make your alma mater better is directly tied to increasing that stock’s value. And when it comes to college rankings, an important metric is the percentage of alumni who give. Every gift helps raise ECU’s reputation — and your diploma’s worth. If that’s not incentive enough, consider the tax benefits of charitable giving. You can provide for yourself and your family while still supporting ECU.

“My money could be better used by a different organization.”

It’s true, there are tons of highly deserving charitable organizations out there. When you think about giving, consider your “why.” For many alumni, their “why” is benefiting from the generosity of others as ECU students. They wouldn’t have been able to get through college or have the experiences they had and the careers they have now without support from donors. More likely than not, you benefited from past ECU donors, too.

“I’d rather give back in a different way (not money).”

Showing ECU pride by donating money is only one way of participating. Your time and energy can be just as valuable. You could volunteer to do mock interviews with job-seeking students. You could speak to a class about your industry know-how. You could share good news and stories about the university on social media. Think about the skills you have and how you can maximize your contributions.

Family of the Year

ECU parent Leah Almachar Gottlieb volunteers with the Office of Parent and Family Programs, Pirate Aboard Days, orientations and diversity panels. Her son, Phillip, is a senior studying construction management. Gottlieb’s gift of time is an essential part of the support network for ECU students and a reason her family was named ECU’s 2021-2022 Family of the Year.

“We invest our time and heart in ECU because it’s worth it — not just because of what ECU has given Phillip, but because it helps other students as well,” Gottlieb says.

“No one has ever asked me for my support.”

University Advancement communicates throughout the year with all ECU alumni to encourage financial support of our colleges and schools, departments, programs, scholarships and more. Be sure we have your updated email address on file at piratealumni.com/update. Pirate Nation Gives, ECU’s annual day of giving, is also a perfect opportunity to give and is announced over social media channels in March. This 24-hour fundraiser features matches and challenges to unlock champion gifts, and you could win bonus money for your favorite area of the university.

“I don’t know where to start.”

ECU has a whole department dedicated to matching your interests with worthy people and projects. Let us help you turn your Pirate passion into philanthropic support for any of your favorite areas at ECU. You can learn more about giving at give.ecu.edu.