While each scholarship program is unique, we’ve discovered that the most successful scholarships have a few basic themes in common. This article explores effective practices to manage a scholarship program while assessing and evaluating the organization’s ability to follow these best practices. This article looks at the industry best practices for managing a scholarship program.

It’s a good moment to return to the basics with a look at best practices for running a scholarship program and how selecting the appropriate scholarship management software may help you link all of these things together.

Determine who you’re assisting and how to apply for scholarships. Make sure you know what the requirements are for receiving a scholarship.

Exceptional pupils who are one life-changing opportunity away from success are the heart of it all. So first, consider the types of students interested in your program, then share your ideas with your team. Finally, consider how your application will help you locate this individual — and how you can offer them a good user experience once you’ve found them.

The “knowledge stage” is the first step in applying for a scholarship. This portion of the application procedure is where you may avoid one of the scholarships’ most common mistakes: uncertainty about eligibility. Early in your application, make your program’s eligibility criteria clear. This will save both of you time by eliminating the possibility of confusion.

An application form that is simple to complete.

Create scholarship application questions that allow students to demonstrate their abilities and interests in ways that transcripts and resumes can’t. This will enable applicants to express themselves through their chosen media, such as video, a design portfolio, or a slide deck, easily uploaded through a single online portal.

If you’ll want information such as transcripts or letters of recommendation from third parties to help you make your selection, make sure that the procedure for applicants to ask for and receive them is simple.

Scholarships are available for students all across the country, and there is no cost to apply. You may create your scholarship application as simple or complex as you like using scholarship management software after it’s submitted. A centralized platform will enable applicants to submit numerous materials while keeping these documents organized and accessible for reviewers.

Create a deadline and distribute your scholarship to a large number of applicants.

Regardless of who the people are or their situation, no one likes to wait. That’s why it’s critical to set strict application deadlines. Make sure deadlines are clearly stated, and consider using other tools to keep applicants informed as the clock counts down. For example, reminders like a countdown timer in the program’s application portal, email, or text would set the timeline straight.

Finally, devise a campaign to publicize your award. Now is the optimal time to begin marketing your scholarship online — especially if you’re a student. Most people are online these days — particularly students. So, take your message elsewhere, where youngsters spend their time. For example, social media platforms.

Make it easier for your employees to follow by developing a transparent program management process and milestones.

When applications start to arrive, you’ll need clear milestones for evaluation and a streamlined project management plan. An online scholarship management system allows reviewers to access and evaluate applications while keeping track of their progress in one location. This saves your company time by enabling reviewers to work together (and remotely) across multiple review phases.

Appraisals are handled equally.

During the application review process, ensure you have measures to allow for a level playing field. Unfortunately, implicit biases exist, and being aware of them can assist you in overcoming this frequent problem.

The method in which you distribute your scholarship money is essential. When your company can do so, make sure that half of the student scholarships go to individuals not affiliated with or attending a school represented by the company. This shows them how grateful you are for their support and helps avoid any conflict of interest when making financial decisions.

Ensure retention, and connect with students through their college experience.

You may be able to make a difference in someone’s life by providing scholarships. However, once the award is given, the difficulties do not end.

Many students, particularly those who are economically or medically vulnerable, will find the pandemic and its aftermath to complicate their efforts to achieve academic success. Scholar retention may plummet during these times, but you do not have to sit back and accept it.

Reviewing your students’ progress can aid in ensuring that they receive the assistance they require to flourish in their programs and make the most of their scholarships. To discover mentors from a list of past awardees, use your system to check up on your students’ records, identify mentors from a pool of previous recipients, or send simple automated email communications.

Analyze your findings

Scholarship management tools offer non-profits an unrivaled chance to gather, analyze, and compare the information. However, obtaining that data is just one step; the significance of the data is in how you utilize it.

We can customize dashboards to show how well a scholarship is progressing and generate up-to-date reports for monitoring throughout the cycle and afterward. When combined with post-cycle deep dives and discussions on what worked and what didn’t, this information might be the driving force behind your scholarship program’s growth.

Watch for applications that aren’t submitted and seek similarities in how applicants left off the process or answer inquiries for the next cycle. Examine your demographic data; is there an area you neglect to serve? Make sure this talk includes all of your stakeholders, as well.

Other scholarship providers may be helpful in terms of collaboration and information sharing.

Few people understand the challenges that scholarship providers confront like other scholarship provider. Contact scholarships in your region or with a similar purpose; you may be surprised at their eagerness to share their experiences and learnings.

The National Scholarship Providers Association, for example, is a significant online presence that includes useful material, reports, and an interactive community.

Innovation and community service excellence require an ongoing commitment to education.To that end, assisting the next generation of innovators and community contributors with their education is essential to preserve the future of innovation and strengthen the communities we serve.

A robust technology and support infrastructure is critical for organizations to offer scholarships. It helps them provide funding, mentor-student advances in innovation, and community service to be that stepping stone. Harness them, and your initiative will help lay the groundwork for a brighter tomorrow.

 

Whether you’re a startup organization or a leading corporation, CommunityForce provides fully customizable, all-in-one online scholarship management solutions to maximize your efficiency, simplify complex processes, and improve collaboration so you can focus on increasing your impact. We’ve helped organizations streamline their entire process no matter the size and scope of their giving.