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

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?

Committee: If you really want to shape the future of MWA, you could apply to join our committee, which coordinates everything we do, from events and partnerships to fundraising and publicity. Applications for the next academic year will open in the spring, 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.

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 a 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, you have 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 our summer celebration adds up to about £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.

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 a couple of 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.

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!

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 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 the Against Malaria Foundation.

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 AMF's website. The specific net distributions for which we have funded nets can be seen on MWA's dedicated AMF page.

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 MWA raised in 2021 was enough to protect over 88,000 people - or 3.6 people for every Cambridge student!

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.

The Summer Party is a chance for us to come together and celebrate our collective impact, as well as the end of the academic year. Crucially, 100% of the money students donate goes directly to charity – none of it is used to fund the party. As such, we invite students to make 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.

There will be 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 elsewhere in recent years have described it as a real highlight!

Naturally, we are aware that the COVID-19 pandemic may affect the ways in which we can come together over the course of this year, and we are keeping a close eye on the local and national guidance at every stage. However, even if we are not able to come together as an entire community, this will not stop us from marking the end of the year in true MWA style. Whether in smaller groups or all together, we aim to create a meaningful and enjoyable format to bring the community together and celebrate our collective impact under these different circumstances.

Our Philosophy

Can you remember the last time you gave to charity? Perhaps you bought something at a bake sale? Or sponsored a friend running a marathon?

These days, opportunities for us to do good through giving are everywhere.

But it's much rarer that we stop and think about giving. Most of these opportunities either hide the act of giving from view - so we don't even notice it's happening - or push us to give only when we're directly asked.

At MWA, we think that's a real missed opportunity.

We believe that when we pause to think about our giving, the experience can be incredibly rewarding.

When we properly consider why we are giving and the impact our money will have - in short, when we give deliberately - we can really appreciate how positive donating to charity can be.

This way, giving becomes more meaningful, enjoyable, sustainable and ultimately more impactful.

How does MWA work?

We invite students and young professionals to join us and celebrate the end of the academic year by making a personally significant donation to charity - an amount that will make you think about what and why you are giving.

It took me a long time to decide to join MWA - I'd never given that much before - but when I finally donated, I saw our incredible impact and it really made donating an amazing positive experience.

Chloe Shieh, Donor

Then, at the end of the academic year, we come together as a community for our Summer Party. It's a time when we can reflect on and celebrate our impact, while enjoying the end of the year with a wonderful group of people.

It was at the Summer Party that I really appreciated just how powerful the idea of giving positively and deliberately can be. Everyone was having a great time, energised by the collective knowledge that together we'd done something incredible.

Elena Caspall, Donor

Summer Party
Summer Party
Summer Party

Our vision

Our hope is that through making a personally significant donation and then coming together to celebrate that, you'll be able to see the huge impact giving effectively can have and come to feel as positive about it as we do.

Ultimately, we want to change the culture around charity. We want charity to be something that is actively embraced and enjoyed, and a meaningful part of all of our lives.

MWA really changed the way I approach giving. It's made me want to make deliberate giving a permanent part of my life even now I've graduated so, after joining MWA, I decided to donate 10% of my income to effective charities every year.

I never really used to think about giving to charity, but I loved joining MWA and I now can't wait to donate again in the future.

Jake Mendel, Donor

So, however you've chosen to give before, why not join MWA this year and see how charity can become a meaningful and positive part of all of our lives.

P.S. Want to get to know us more? Check out testimonies from our community yearbook or watch our founder's TEDx Talk, 'Rethinking Celebration: The Positive Case for Giving', which talks all about our feel-good philosophy!

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