It's pretty common for university websites to have "donate" links/buttons relatively front and center.
And honestly, the reason why universities are so focused on fundraising is because pretty much all of them have seen their support from other sources dwindle, at least in the US. State schools get less state funding, all schools get less federal funding, and the cost of higher education in general is going up. Most schools are faced with the reality that they can either raise tuition to astronomical levels or seek private funding. Many schools do raise tuition, but a lot of them would be raising it even more without donations from alumni and others.
So while I can certainly understand that some fundraising efforts feel ridiculous, I do understand the need for it. I can't afford to give money to my own alma mater right now, but I don't blame them for soliciting it. A lot of alumni who have the capacity to give only after some time has passed won't give anything if they feel like the school has been ignoring them.
Plus, I would imagine that the poor economy has a lot of schools redoubling their fundraising efforts. People have less money to give overall, but the need for it is only increasing. I imagine they have to work harder just to maintain the level of support they have achieved in the past, at a time when more and more students have a real need for financial assistance. I know that where I live, state funding has been dwindling for a long time, but the poor economy and the state of the budget has led to pretty drastic cuts. The larger universities here are far more capable of absorbing those cuts, because they rely less on state money. But some of the smaller state universities are in real trouble, and have had to make some very unpleasant choices as a result.