Monday, March 2, 2009

Senior Class Gift

NOW is the time to make a difference. Now is the time for change you can hope and believe in. You can play a part in life changing experiences.

Consider donating to the Senior Class Gift 2009. The Senior Gift is teaming with the Office of World Missions. You can designate your gift to go to a specific mission team, support the local people where a team is serving, or for the general emergency fund.

Thank you for considering a donation to the Senior Class Gift 2009. Donate now at

The APU Class of 2009 is working towards their Responsible Revolution by supporting Focus International Mission Teams. You can decide how you want to expand God's Kingdom by choosing where your donation will go:

1. Students responding to God's calling by serving on Focus International Mission Teams in 2009
2. National People in the countries that the Focus International Mission Teams will visit, create sustainable relationships with and work to empower and enhance their lives.
3. Emergency Fund for unforeseen situations that can arise.

Please join us in our Responsible Revolution as we support sustainable relationships through Focus International Mission Teams.

Gifts are slowly coming in but we need you to consider donating.

All funds raised goes directly to impacting lives and winning hearts for the Lord. Consider donating anything to help the Senior Class Gift 2009 make a difference.

If everyone in the Class of 2009 gave $5 we would raise over $3750 - $10 would raise $7500 - and $20.09 would raise $22,099. You gift does make a difference and we need you to join in. So skip that Starbucks or Chipotle just once this week and donate.

Dear Senior,

We know you got the e-newsletter today but we want to make sure you know how important the Senior Class Gift is so we added another separate email.

Have you considered donating to the Senior Class Gift 2009? This is your chance to leave a legacy at APU while investing in current students, helping nationals in other countries and build God's Kingdom

I get a little annoyed by these emails.

Part of it is that I'm still sore that I found out two weeks ago that I still need one more class to get my degree (thereby not making me a potential alumni for a while yet from which donations should be asked), but seriously! Didn't you get these emails when you were in college and find them a little obnoxious? Not only are they generally a rather sorry plea for money from kids who haven't even ventured off into the working world yet... APU has the unfortunate social obligation as a "Christian institution" to claim that every kind or good gesture is an endorsement or brownie point from God.

Don't get me wrong- I love the Lord a lot, but I try not to be arrogant enough to believe I can earn my keep in Heaven (sometimes I am.)

And I guess that's what I'm trying to point out in this long-winded email I sent back to the auto-responder that has my email address among a few hundred others in a poorly kept list of soon-to-be-graduates. Guilt-trips suck. Especially when they come from a place of good intentions.
Come on, Senior Class Gift People, that's just confusing and not cool! Save a sister from herself and keep me from throwing money at sentiment. And damn it, Christian university, don't present me with a false either/or that puts the lost souls of "nationals" on my inability to pay my own bills or donate to your stupid Senior Class Gift!

Oops. Pardon my cussing. Actually don't, there's a place for it. And that was a good place.
Anyway, this was my response:


I don't want to be a total butthead, but is there anyway that I could be taken off this list? Technically I was announced with the graduating class of 2008...

Also, I don't have any money.
When I say I don't have any money - I mean my husband and I are $4,000 in credit card debt & are having to move in with some friends and leave our home because we can't afford it since having lost our jobs... so maybe if you know that it would be more incentive to remove me from any ask-for-donations list... I'm sorry, I really don't mean to be rude - we aren't depressed about our situation! It's just a little frustrating and saddening to not be able to donate. And some of these emails and eNewsletters seem to presume that it's not very hard to donate $20 or even $5 because the general audience you seem to be reaching spends money "every week" at "Starbucks or Chipotle". But we don't.

And... I mean, since I AM getting these letters, I'm guessing this is an open communication between the Senior Class Gift department and myself...
I'm sure this is unintentional- but I think it's a little bold and kind of guilt-trippy to be saying that donations go toward "helping build God's kingdom" or "winning hearts for the Lord." It's not a very healthy way to ask for support, it's vague and non-specific and elicits a very deliberate emotional response to a subtly legalistic plea that sets up one to believe that if they don't donate, God's Kingdom will not expand as much as it could have. And it associates monetary standards with that kind of soul-winning that comes from really really bad theology. I must say that I worked with OWM, though, and am very pleased to hear that the Senior Class Gift will be going to Focus International!

I only want to suggest that you be more accurate with where the money is going when you ask and, perhaps, not assume that God's work WILL be done in that particular cause. Because for all we know, God might NOT bless that particular cause (unless of course God told you specifically that this money WILL be blessed when it goes to whatever it is going to, in which case I would love to hear the word! And, of course, know more about the cause itself God plans to bless!). And even if the national-helping, legacy-leaving, Kingdom-building, heart-winning cause IS blessed (Lord-willing!) it could only be because God so chose to, and is not really contingent on whether or not I chose to donate (unless this is coming from a somewhat more Calvinist angle in which case our works DO matter... but since we are all pre-destined one way or another it also doesn't matter... but I would guess not since our school is pretty decidedly Arminian)

Anyway, I am being a bit tongue-in-cheek. But I do mean what I said. Both about being removed from the wrong Alumni year list and also in regards to the unfortunate tactics employed to procure funds for the Senior Class Gift. I do hope for you all the best and I appreciate the work the department does for our Alumni and this graduating class. I'm sure that whatever amount contributed to the Senior Gift 2009 will go on to support Focus International in their own prayerful and deliberate endeavors.



Joe said...

I understand the need to raise funds, and the perception that everyone has some disposable income, but I resent getting these from the schools I attended, too, and that was years (and years and years) ago.

Anyway, I loved your letter and the passionate and rational way that you outlined your concerns.

I remember being in the situation that you and your husband are in now. I'll pray for both of you. Just know that things will get better financially at some point and as hard as it is to see, this will be looked back upon as a great time in your life.

Patrick said...

2 things:

1. As a guy who sends out the occasional marketing email (and occasionally way, way too many marketing emails) I would love to have received this email. It tells me everything I'm doing wrong and why (In fact, they ought to take the money they get for their vague senior class gift and use it to hire you to spearhead their new e-marketing campaign).

2. Are you familiar with the Sam Lipsyte book Home Land? If not, I think you should take a look at it. The whole book is told through a series of letters from the narrator to his high school alumni newsletter. It's hilarious.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...