Door-to-door requests try students’ goodwill

The Princeton Review characterizes our student body as a group that spends four days a week studying, two partying and the last trying to save the world.

Amusing as it sounds, it’s a fairly truthful expression of how avidly University students participate in philanthropic efforts. From the traditional fall and spring break service trips through Campus Ministry to the recent tsunami relief efforts by various campus committees, Villanovans always prove to be generous with both their time and money. Each year, students collectively shell out thousands of dollars for the many causes championed on campus.

Some philanthropic groups hold bake sales in Dougherty or concerts in Connelly to gather proceeds. But many others try to raise funds by visiting dorms to offer help with chores, slices of pizza or a blunt request for cash.

Unfortunately, this tactic is quickly exhausting Villanovans’ wallets – and their patience. Some complain of getting up to four knocks on their door per night. Certainly, such an overwhelming series of requests unfairly puts residents on the spot, leaving them two choices: decline to contribute and shut the door feeling stingy or hand over money to each caller and shut the door feeling flustered.

Also, this technique can’t be the most efficient one. A big basketball game or a decent drink special can drain dorms of their inhabitants, wasting hours of fundraisers’ time.

If no reasonable substitutes for door-to-door fundraising existed, it would be a more acceptable option. But that’s simply not the case. There are many ways groups can raise money without resorting to the uncomfortable home visit.

Establish formal fundraising programs. Tsunami relief may have required spontanaeity, but Campus Ministry runs break trips every year. Instead of leaving groups to their own devices, why not institute fundraising programs that have proved successful for other organizations?

Concentrate on campus hub sales. Tables in the center of campus attract the attention of all students. They also allow students who live off campus equal opportunity to lend their support. To make these efforts more lucrative, groups might work with the Wildcard office to allow students who don’t carry cash to donate using their Wildcard.

If you must go door-to-door, get more creative. Cookbooks, brownies and end-of-the-night leftovers from Peace A Pizza are beginning to get old. People will be more inclined to donate if the gift they receive in return catches their eye – for instance, one student raised money by selling ribbon belts she had crafted herself.

This way, Villanovans can help save the world every day of the week – without feeling pressured.