Tag Archives: college fundraising

Coffee costs and college priorities

14 Oct

How much do you spend on coffee each week?




I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment today after reading a great article on Socialize Your Cause, a  social media consulting team that promotes and advises on nonprofit fundraising.  The article considers the contributions that could be made to charity if a single cup of coffee was given up each week.  It displays possible weekly and annual costs of coffee, and the coordinating amount of money that could be donated.  It makes you wonder how much a place like Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks could raise by donating every cup of coffee purchased to a charity on any given day.

The chart looks like this:


weekly coffee costs



annual coffee costs

Considering priorities

It’s such a simple concept, and one that can be applied concerning college students.  Students are notorious for being broke, or at least complaining about being broke all the time.  Yet somehow they make it to the bar every weekend, followed by a pizza or a tray of wings (at least in my building) and somehow the girls are always wearing the latest fashions.  How does that work?  There’s some prioritizing going on here, as there should be, but maybe if students were advised on the statistics and could see the possible results of forgoing one or two weekly expenses, they might reconsider.  I’d argue that most students over 21 go to the bar at least once a week.  That’s a $5 cover fee (typically), plus the costs of drinks, which adds up.  People shell out anywhere from $5 – $50 in a single outing.  College students spend approximately %5.5 billion on alcohol each year.  Applying the same logic as used in the coffee study, students could potentially raise even more money by giving up one night at the bar and opting for another activity.

The pressing question

This raises the question ‘is it worth it’.  Are students willing to actually skip the bar or a night of partying to raise money for a charity, perhaps that they don’t really know or care about?  Well maybe not each week, but even


typical drink prices at a local campus bar


once a month could make a difference.  There’s other related options, too.  Bar nights are win-wins, since people get to go out and have fun while raising money for a good cause.  I’ve been trying to think of ways to raise money without imposing pressure on my peers.  But when you think about it in these terms, $3, $4, even $5 really isn’t that much compared to how much students spend on drinking, or on groceries, new clothes and coffee.  I like to think that even if they haven’t been to the school in Shanghai, or really grasp how much these kids need the help, they’d still donate or help me raise the money because they’re my friends and they care about my intentions.