May Week Alternative

MWA is a feel-good movement encouraging students to celebrate the post-exam period by making the world a better place.

people protected

How it works


How it Works


We recommend giving the approximate cost of a May Ball ticket (£150) to the Against Malaria Foundation, but we strive to be as inclusive as possible and welcome any donation of a size that's significant to you.


Thanks to our matched funding, 200% of the money you donate goes directly to AMF. That means that your £150 when doubled will be enough to help protect over 350 people from malaria!


Each year during May Week, we host a Summer Party to celebrate the end of exams and our collective impact. There's food and drink, great company and live entertainment!

More Info

How can I get involved?

We're so pleased you're interested in MWA, and look forward to celebrating with you; here are a few ways you can help grow the movement:

Spread the word: Letting your friends know about MWA is one of the most valuable things you can do - aside from the huge impact of their donations, celebrating is more fun when we do it together! Why not show them our website, share our posts on social media, and invite friends to follow our Facebook and Instagram pages themselves?

Social media: One of the best ways to spread the word is through social media - you could share our page, or change your profile picture using our frame to show your friends that you're celebrating with MWA!

Committee: If you really want to shape the future of MWA, you could apply to join our central committee, which coordinates everything we do, from events and partnerships to fundraising and publicity. Applications for the next academic year are now closed, but we're always interested in hearing from people who want to get involved - register your interest here!

MWA Reps: Becoming an MWA rep is a low-commitment and flexible role for people who want to spread the message in their college, society or social group. Applications for next academic year will open in May Week, but we're always interested in hearing from people who want to get involved - register your interest here!

Sponsorship: In order to put on our Summer Party at the end of each year, we rely entirely on the support of our generous partners, including Cambridge colleges, businesses and individuals. If you know anyone who may be interested in supporting MWA and allowing us to grow even more, please do get in touch or visit our Partner page for more info.

£150 is a lot of money - what if I can't donate that?

We recognise that £150 is a large amount of money for many students, and whilst we have thought carefully about recommending this amount (see next question), it is important to us that any student feels able to join us in celebrating through giving.

As such, whilst we recommend £150, you are welcome to join MWA by making a donation of any size which is significant to you and allows you to put charity at the heart of your May Week celebrations. It is central to our philosophy (see here for more) that students actively engage with their decision to celebrate May Week through giving, but we recognise that the donation that enables this will not be the same for everyone.

In addition, we have responded to student demand by adding the option of donating in weekly installments, as some have found this more manageable. A weekly donation of £9 from the donations launch up until May Week adds up to £150, which will still be doubled through our matched funding.

Note: We have ensured that our donations page allows you to hide your name and/or donation amount, should you choose.

Why do you recommend £150?

We recognise that £150 is a large amount of money, and substantially more than most students would routinely donate to charity. There are several reasons we recommend this figure:

May Week Symbolism: The £150 figure is representative of the cost of some May Ball tickets - this is symbolic of our belief that charity can be embraced as an integral part of May Week, on a par with May Balls.

Encouraging considered giving: We understand that donating £150 is a significant commitment for any student, but this is key to our philosophy of putting giving at the heart of May Week celebrations. We aim to encourage students to think differently about charity, and we can only achieve this if students consciously engage in the act of giving, and donating a significant amount facilitates this. This is why we recommend £150, or a donation of any size significant to the donor.

Impact: Most importantly, the recommended £150 amount, coupled with matched funding, allows us to have an exceptionally large impact for a student charity initiative: in just two years, and from only ~210 donations, we have already managed to protect over 50,000 people from malaria, more than double the student population of Cambridge. We have only been able to achieve this impact because of the number of students who have chosen to donate so generously.

I'm already going to a May Ball. Is MWA really for me? (Hint: yes, definitely!)

Of course, MWA is for everyone - whether you're going to three May Balls or none, we welcome you to join our growing community and put charity at the heart of your May Week celebrations. MWA is an alternative way to celebrate during May Week, but that doesn't mean you can't take part in other things going on!

Can I donate to a different charity?

At MWA, we think very carefully about which charity to recommend (see below), particularly given how much money students are donating. However, we recognise that some students may want to join us in celebrating May Week through giving, but would prefer to donate to a different charity. This is absolutely fine, but please get in touch with us beforehand so that we are aware.

Note: All matched funding will still go to AMF.

Why do you recommend donating to AMF?

At MWA, we think very carefully about which charity to recommend. When students are making such significant donations, we want to make sure the money is doing as much good as it possibly can. To make our decision, we have taken the advice of independent charity evaluators GiveWell and Giving What We Can, which both rank AMF as one of the most effective charities in the world.

Tragically, malaria causes 400,000 preventable deaths every year, disproportionately affecting young children and pregnant women, and has a knock-on effect on the local economy. AMF works with local partners to provide life-saving bed-nets which protect people as they sleep. To find out more about their work, see here.

Because AMF's intervention is so effective at preventing malaria, each donation can have a huge impact. For example, a donation of £150, doubled through matched funding, can help protect 350 people. In fact, the money we raised in 2019 was enough to protect over 40,000 people - more than double the student population of Cambridge!

If 100% of donations go to charity, how do you put on the Summer Party? What's it like?

The Summer Party is a chance for us to celebrate our collective impact and say thank you to everyone who has supported MWA throughout the year — everyone who has donated (whatever the amount) is invited. There will be music, food, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and live entertainment, as well as the chance to enjoy the collective atmosphere of celebration at the end of the year with the rest of the MWA community and reflect on the impact our donations have made. Many of those who came last year said that the feel-good atmosphere was the highlight of their May Week!

Crucially, 100% of the money students donate goes directly to charity — none of it is used to fund the party. To make the Summer Party as enjoyable and meaningful as possible, we rely on the generous support, both financial and in-kind, of the university, colleges and corporate partners who buy into the MWA philosophy. Our venue is donated for free, performers offer their time for free, and much of the food and drink is either donated by local companies or paid for by sponsors. If you or anyone you know is able to support us through in-kind donations or sponsorship, please get in touch or visit the Partner page for more information.

Given the COVID-19 outbreak, how do you plan to celebrate this summer?

We will be hosting a series of online events in the week of 22nd to 28th June for everyone who joined MWA this year. Over the week you'll be able to come along and celebrate the end of the year and our incredible collective impact, as well as having a chance to hang out with friends, and potentially meet some new ones!

In addition, on the evening of 28th of June, we are very excited to be co-hosting The May Week Mega Event! Together with RAG and the May Ball Presidents' Committee, we will be streaming a jam-packed evening of live entertainment, showcasing acts from all across Cambridge and beyond. This will be open to everyone, to bring together all of Cambridge to celebrate the end of the year, even in these unusual circumstances.

Our Philosophy

We believe that charity and celebration can go hand in hand, so we invite students to make a significant donation as a way of celebrating May Week and the end of exams.

Our Summer Party embodies this philosophy, as students come together during May Week to celebrate the collective impact of their donations.

We hope that through MWA, students will come to think differently about giving and will take this positive approach towards charity forward into their future lives.

Check out our founder's TEDx Talk, 'Rethinking Celebration: The Positive Case for Giving', which talks all about our feel-good philosophy!

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