May Week Alternative

MWA is a charitable movement encouraging students to adopt a positive approach towards deliberate, effective giving.

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 come together as a community at 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 (indeed, that is part of the point!). There are several key reasons we recommend this figure:

Encouraging considered giving: MWA is all about changing the way students think about charity, and we can only achieve this if students engage consciously with the act of donating. By inviting students to give an amount that's personally significant to them, we hope that all donors will stop and think meaningfully about their decision to donate, and will in turn take this positive, deliberate approach towards giving forward into their future lives. This is why we recommend £150, or a donation of any size significant to the donor.

Impact: Crucially, the recommended amount, coupled with matched funding, allows us to have an exceptionally large impact for a student charity initiative; your £150 donation, when doubled, can help protect over 350 people from malaria.

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.

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!

What makes MWA different to a charity ball?

At MWA, our mission is to encourage students to adopt a positive, deliberate approach towards giving. As such, we focus on ensuring that each student who chooses to join can engage meaningfully with the impact of their donation. The primary role of the Summer Party is to facilitate this engagement, as an enjoyable opportunity to come together as a community and celebrate our collective impact. However, it is not the most important element of what we do, nor the purpose of donating.

Crucially, the donation students make to join MWA does not constitute 'buying a ticket' to the party. Indeed, the funding of our summer celebration is completely separate to the donation (it's funded through a combination of additional voluntary contributions from donors and external sponsorship). Many students have joined MWA without attending the Summer Party at all.

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 come together and celebrate our collective impact, as well as the end of exams. Crucially, 100% of the money students donate goes directly to charity – none of it is used to fund the party. As such, we suggest an optional contribution of £10 per head, separate to their donation, to cover the costs of the event (which are generously subsidised by our sponsors). Importantly, everyone will be very welcome to join, whether or not they feel able to make this contribution.

Normally, there's music, food, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and live entertainment, contributing to the atmosphere of celebration you’ll experience with the rest of the MWA community. It’s a fantastic chance to reflect on the impact of our donations and many of those who’ve attended in recent years said it was a highlight of their May Week!

The Summer Party is likely to look different this year given the Covid-19 situation but we'll celebrate somehow come May Week, see below for details!

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

This year we'll celebrate in some form come May Week, depending on the COVID-19 situation. We're planning for our Summer Party to take place in one of several different forms - for example group picnics or several smaller gatherings.

We're proud of how the MWA community has remained strong and continued to grow throughout lockdowns - last summer, we hosted a week of virtual events including a scavenger hunt, games nights, quizzes & more culminating in The May Week Mega Event, a livestream featuring cambridge bands, comedy groups, celebrities and more!

Whatever the summer party looks like, it will always be a fantastic chance to celebrate the impact of our donations and come together in the post-exam period!

Our Philosophy

We believe that choosing to give deliberately, rather than engaging with charity passively or out of obligation, can be a positive and rewarding experience. As such, we invite students to make a personally significant donation as a way of celebrating the end of the academic year.

We aim to show that by putting giving at the heart of celebration, we can have a huge impact and a wonderful time in the process. Our Summer Party embodies this philosophy, as students come together to celebrate the collective impact of their donations.

We encourage students to take this positive, meaningful approach to giving forwards into their future lives, ultimately creating a culture whereby deliberate, effective giving is normalised at university and beyond.

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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