• 3 Simple Ways to Promote Your Scholarships

    Need more qualified applicants for your scholarships? The first step is to make sure your potential applicants hear about your scholarships in the first place. Here are three scholarship promotion strategies that can increase awareness and drive more applications.

    Strategy #1: Word of Mouth

    Word of mouth is generally considered the most effective form of marketing, so it’s our top recommendation for promoting your scholarships. As soon as your scholarships are ready to accept applications, reach out to four key groups of people for scholarship promotion help:

    - Engage alumni and past recipients to help spread the word. Prepare a short message for alumni to post on social media about the scholarship and send an email with all the scholarship details for them to forward on to their networks. Making it simple for alumni to share your message will increase the chances that they do.

    - Inform local high school guidance counselors and major employers. Guidance counselors can shepherd high school students through the application process while local employers will help you reach non-traditional students. Focus on those organizations that are likely to employ students who are a good match for the scholarships that lack applicants. For example, if you want more applicants for your nursing scholarship, your local hospitals and major medical centers will be the best places to focus your scholarship promotion energy.

    - Notify your institution’s instructors and counselors. Instructors have a lot of face time with students, so they’re well-positioned to promote your scholarships for you. Make sure to inform campus staff if your scholarships are available to part-time students, too. Since part-time students don’t qualify for financial aid, they may be extra motivated to apply for scholarships.

    - Remind your reviewers and volunteers. Scholarship reviewers can be enthusiastic supporters of your institution in addition to being pretty knowledgeable about your scholarship offering, making them great scholarship advocates. Ask them to spread the word among their friends and family!

    Strategy #2: Contact Potential Applicants Directly

    If you collect student phone numbers and email addresses when students apply to your institution, you can send messages through those channels to promote scholarships. Just make sure you receive permission from students to contact them in this way.

    Social media advertising is another way you can reach students directly. Its primary benefit is that you can target a very specific market in terms of age, location, and interests. You can also fine-tune your promotions based on budget and need. For example, you can promote all of your scholarships continuously or only those scholarships that are lacking qualified applicants as the deadline nears. The key to a successful social media campaign is to check in your ads’ performance regularly to make sure you’re getting the results you want. Learn more about using social media platforms to reach prospective scholarship applicants.

    Senior Days and similar events in your community provide the chance for you to talk to potential applicants face to face. During your presentation, you can ask students to text a friend or two to spread the word about your scholarship opportunities.

    Strategy #3: Early Bird Deadlines

    If all of your scholarships share the same application due date, consider implementing an early bird deadline to attract more applicants. Offer students the chance to qualify for an additional small scholarship if their applications are received before the early bird deadline. Motivated students will complete their applications early, allowing for plenty of time to troubleshoot any problems they have with the process. Plus, the early bird deadline gives you more opportunities to contact students about the deadlines and incentives.

    By employing these three strategies, you can drive more awareness of your scholarship program and increase the overall number of applications you receive, which is a great first step to ensuring a successful scholarship cycle. To make sure your applicants are well qualified, read our guide to increasing qualified applicants, too.

  • 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!

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