• Data Protection: How AwardSpring Complies with New GDPR Guidelines

    Have you heard about the new data privacy law affecting European Union (EU) citizens? Are you wondering whether there’s anything you need to do with the student data you collect through AwardSpring to comply? Some of our competitors have released complicated and confusing explanations of GDPR. At AwardSpring, we think it’s important to explain the new law in an easy-to-understand way. Read on for a plain-English primer of the new regulation and an explanation of how AwardSpring can help you comply with the new law.

    About General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

    On May 25, 2018, the EU implemented GDPR, a law that regulates how companies store, use, and explain how they use personally identifiable user data. All organizations that handle the data of EU citizens must comply with GDPR, no matter where those organizations are based.

    Here are the core elements of GDPR, along with details about how AwardSpring facilitates customers’ compliance:

    Organizations must be clear about how data is used. Since AwardSpring’s launch, we’ve been committed to making our data usage policies clear and easily available to our users. Our privacy policy was written in plain English to make it as easy to understand as possible.

    As a service provider, AwardSpring actually does very little with user data; it’s our customers who collect and use user data through our platform. That’s why we require all customers to provide us with their own easy-to-understand privacy policy that explains how they use applicant data. We publish a link to your privacy policy alongside our own on every page of the application.

    Organizations must collect only necessary data. AwardSpring recommends that customers limit the user data they collect to just the essentials for the scholarship application process..

    Organizations must allow users to request the deletion of their data if the personal data is no longer necessary. Any AwardSpring customer or user can request that we delete his or her data at any time. In response, customers can delete users, which removes all associated data - so be sure that you no longer need the data before deleting a user!

    Organizations must meet technical requirements for data storage. AwardSpring meets the technical requirements outlined by the law, which includes:

    -Having an information security policy and regular reviews

    -Utilizing encryption

    -Maintaining multiple, redundant forms of backup across disparate geographic locations

    -Training staff on user privacy

    Organizations must disclose any privacy breaches. In the unlikely event of a data breach, we are contractually obligated to notify our customers in writing as soon as possible.

    Organizations must test regularly for vulnerabilities. AwardSpring regularly uses automated scans to check for vulnerabilities in our system.

    While the vast majority of AwardSpring’s data is for non-EU citizens, we are still committed to complying with GDPR’s common-sense, user-first data protection guidelines. If you are an AwardSpring customer, we recommend that you review your own privacy policy to ensure it complies with GDPR, too. Be sure to send us an updated version of your privacy policy if you do make any changes. And if you have any questions at all about our data protection policies, please get in touch!

  • 3 AwardSpring Features That Drive Donor Engagement

    Donor engagement is an essential component to any scholarship program and a top priority for our customers. That’s why AwardSpring includes three features that help foundations, colleges, and universities draw their donors closer to their scholarships and recipients. Donors who wish to be active participants in the award process can do so with the tools offered on the platform, while donors who prefer less direct involvement can still benefit from processes used by administrators.

    Start engaging your donors today by:

    1. Creating Donor Profiles

    You can create profiles for your donors that include as much or as little detail as you (or they) would like, from photos to short biographies to their social media contact information. In our experience, donors feel more connected to the institution and the scholarship when they have a profile. Plus, it helps students connect the scholarship with the person who funds it. It’s a simple way to offer donors recognition for their investment without requiring any proactive engagement from them.

    2. Setting Up Your Donor Portal

    Donors who wish to be more actively involved and informed about their awards and recipients will appreciate having access to their own donor portal. As an administrator, you can control how much - and how little - information your donors can access through the portal. We recommend that you allow donors to access both applications and awarded student profiles. That way, your entire scholarship process is transparent and accessible. Over time, as more and more students are awarded scholarships, your donors will be able to see the impact of their investment on your student population.

    3. Collecting & Sharing Thank You Letters

    Administrators can use their AwardSpring platform for professional, streamlined donor outreach - most notably, for “thank you” letters from awarded students to donors. Simply create a follow-up or essay question for awarded students to answer with their expressions of gratitude and then share the “thank you” letters with donors in their portal. You’ll save time and effort on gathering, printing, and mailing these letters while your donors will enjoy a “feel-good” experience on the platform that might just encourage greater future engagement.

    If you need any help setting up any of these features, we’re always here for you. Just submit a support ticket or contact your AwardSpring partner!

  • Feature Spotlight: Auto-Apply

    AwardSpring’s Auto-Apply feature makes life easier for student applicants and administrators alike. For administrators, Auto-Apply eliminates tedious work, enhances award decisions, and increases long-term student retention. Meanwhile, student applicants save time with one universal application and appreciate the opportunity to be considered for all qualified scholarships.

    Here’s how it works. Let’s say that John, a prospective student, just completed a simple scholarship application for your college. AwardSpring will scan all of your other scholarships to see if John qualifies for any of them. If so, John’s application will be automatically submitted for each qualified scholarship.

    “The AwardSpring Auto-Apply feature is amazing.” -Cassie Fleming, Grants Manager, Community Foundation of Grant County Indiana

    With Auto-Apply, you have a larger applicant pool to choose from for each of your scholarships. You’ll be able to use more of your scholarship funds, and you’ll have a better chance of finding the student who best matches your donor’s goals. That will keep your donors both happy and engaged!

    “Our first year, we had a one-third increase in the number of completed student applications over all previous years.” -Sonja Hix-Cortina, Director of Member Services, Civica Management, Colorado Nurses Foundation

    Students love Auto-Apply, too. It eliminates any confusion about eligibility and saves students time in the application process. Students instantly become eligible for more scholarship funds, making your institution more attractive.

    AwardSpring’s Auto-Apply feature is turned on by default, but you can always turn it off if you’d like. If you do turn it off, just keep in mind that you’ll miss out on 5-10% of your qualified applicants.

    Other scholarship management software solutions may offer similar qualified matching, but they typically still require several additional steps and may not capture all qualified students. AwardSpring auto-applies students based on robust matching criteria that you customize. During implementation, our incredible staff will take care of setting up all of your scholarships - including your matching criteria. Then, you can sit back and enjoy watching all of those qualified applications roll in!

    To learn more about AwardSpring, request a walk-through of our platform and its benefits.

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