Award Cycle Preparation Best Practices

Here at AwardSpring, we’ve seen many award cycles come and go - and we’ve noticed some important preparations that can help an award cycle run like a well-oiled machine. Read on for the steps you can take right now to make your next award cycle your best yet!

Determine when your important milestones will be.

When is your application deadline going to be? When should scholarship money be distributed? Once these dates are settled, it’s much easier to work backward to determine when the application window should open, award decisions should be made, and other important scholarship activities should take place.

Set goals for the year.

Figuring out your biggest priorities up front will help you use your time wisely throughout the award cycle. This year, is it more important to recruit new students or retain existing students? Do you plan to give away an entire endowment, or reserve some portion of it for next year? 

Revisit students’ previous questions and problems.

We suggest taking a look back at last year’s biggest problems or most frequent questions to guide you towards impactful changes to make this year. Review correspondence with students, notes you took, or memories you have about any aspect of the application process that proved troublesome. 

Confirm all scholarship details.

Review all of your scholarship listings for needed updates before the new award cycle begins. In particular, double check whether the award values and qualifications have changed. If you had a hard time attracting qualified applicants to a particular scholarship in years past, stay tuned for an upcoming article on increasing qualified applicants for specific actions you can take this year.

Engage donors.

Engaging donors throughout the award cycle can ensure a strong future for your scholarship program. Before a new award cycle starts, consider reaching out to donors to discuss any changes to scholarship requirements, to thank them for their support, and to report their impact on student recipients. 

Review and update your application.

The final step before starting a new award cycle is to make updates to your application. AwardSpring users may wish to review our previously published blog post about updating your AwardSpring site. For a complete primer specifically focused on applications, look for an upcoming guide to optimizing your application.