Alumni Dues - Frequently Asked Questions
Why has Cloister instituted alumni dues?
To be blunt, we’re late to the game. Dues are standard at the majority of clubs on the Street, though suggested donation amounts and guidelines surrounding them vary.
As you likely know, Cloister’s member numbers have burgeoned since the mid-1990s and our alumni corps have consequently grown in leaps and bounds -- one of the most dramatic growth trajectories in the history of the Street and a phenomenal comeback story that we can all be very proud of. This is great news! But it means that the costs of our alumni events continue to go up (our Reunions receptions now regularly bring in 1000 guests or more) as we welcome more and more graduates to the lifelong Cloister family.
Without an alumni dues program like that of the other clubs on the Street, we’d be unable to continue providing the quality of experience at gatherings like Reunions and Homecoming without tapping into budgets meant either for the undergraduates or for long-term initiatives like physical renovations.
Are dues mandatory? Will I be turned away from the club at Reunions if I don’t pay?
Dues are voluntary and no Cloister alum will ever be turned away from an alumni function at the club. We strongly encourage alumni to donate in the spirit of supporting Cloister’s long-term health and alumni activities, especially if they plan to attend Reunions, Homecoming, or regional gatherings.
We do encourage alumni to register for Reunions in advance, and to support the club by paying dues when they register if they have not already. However, the primary purpose of Reunions registration and wristband process is not to collect dues but to ensure that our post-P-rade reception is intended only for Cloister alumni and their guests rather than "freeloaders” with no affiliation to the club. The quality of our Reunions reception is legendary, and Cloister has incurred heavy costs in the past (not to mention long lines) from non-Cloister alumni arriving to crash the party.
What is the timing for dues donations?
Like the University, our fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. Consequently, our fiscal year 2017 ended on June 30 and dues paid thereafter are considered to be 2018 dues.
Why aren’t dues tax-deductible?
As a registered 501(c)7, Cloister does not directly accept tax-deductible donations. Though we are able to accept tax-deductible donations through the Princeton Prospect Foundation, which is a 501(c)3, the purposes for which those donations can be used are heavily restricted. Fostering the alumni community is unfortunately not an authorized destination for PPF donations, which is why dues are not tax-deductible.
Tax-deductible donations are nevertheless welcomed -- you can donate here.
Does this replace annual giving?
No. The purpose of Alumni Dues is to support vibrant alumni functions that help the Cloister community connect and reconnect across classes and generations, something that we hope to not just continue but to expand. But there are many other areas of the club where alumni support is needed and greatly appreciated, from physical improvements to financial aid for students who would otherwise not be able to afford to join a club. For this, we have the Annual Fund for Cloister.
You can now see that on the page for paying dues, you are able to add a donation to go to the Annual Fund. We hope that you’ll consider doing this to help ensure a bright future for Cloister.
I paid "lifetime dues” to Cloister when I graduated. Does this exempt me from Alumni Dues?
For a very short period of time in the 1950s and early 1960s, Cloister alumni did pay "lifetime dues” upon graduation which, adjusted for inflation, amounts to about $650 today. If you are one of these alumni, we thank you heartily for your support! We are happy to consider this a replacement for alumni dues, though we do still hope that you will choose to support the Club through the Annual Fund or tax-deductible donations to the Princeton Prospect Foundation.