Considering that a scholarship fund set up by an organization or a company is money being given away, it’s interesting to know that it could still bring an amazing return on investment. Scholarships have been proven to lift students academically, as well as help them out financially. Grants and scholarships have even been shown to have a positive impact on self-esteem.
Offering up a scholarship for deserving students who meet your requirements is a great way to fulfill your corporate social responsibility. Internally, it could also mean an expansion of your brand values. With this act, you can give back to the community while giving your brand visibility. But a scholarship campaign, in essence, goes further than your typical marketing campaign. Avoid a scholarship campaign that feels gimmicky – people can smell a publicity stunt from miles away. To craft the perfect scholarship campaign, keep these tips in mind.
1. Be Genuine
The current buzzwords when it comes to marketing revolve around “authenticity.” When you create your scholarship campaign, focus on a scholarship fund that reflects your company or organization’s values. If you’re setting up a memorial scholarship fund, think of the namesake, and their values.
A lifestyle brand may choose to launch a scholarship fund for entrepreneurial women, while a mommy blogger may want to start a scholarship for young parents or a need-based scholarship for facing financial difficulties. If your scholarship is named after a former teacher, you could consider honoring someone going into education, or someone pursuing a personal passion. If you are categorizing the type of scholarship to give, take into consideration the charitable causes (cancer research, food bank, children’s hospital, etc.) that your brand previously supported.
Careful attention to detail and consistency will help potential donors recognize the connection and associate you with the kind of scholarship you are campaigning for.
2. Get A Professional Web Page
Aside from authenticity, you’ll also have to look and be legitimate – strive to look and be professional.
One way to achieve this is through a good website. Make use of design elements to create consistency throughout your site. Take note of the colors and fonts that you have used across other digital platforms.
Being consistent in your brand will lend authenticity to your campaign. Keep in mind that colleges and universities scrutinize scholarship requirements, so make sure you’ve got a clear landing page, and offer full details on your application conditions, and the purpose of your scholarship. Your site should be detailed yet succinct.
By the way, if you want to have a dedicated page for your scholarship, you don’t have to pay an expensive designer. ScholarshipApp lets you create beautiful landing pages and iframes with the click of a button. That way, you can launch your scholarship within 15 minutes, without writing any code.
3. Get That Perfect Copy
Want that perfect copy? Consider hiring a professional copywriter for your campaign. There is value in finding and keeping the best content writers, and many smaller organizations opt to skip it entirely. Hiring a talented writer whose job it is to keep you sounding and looking professional doesn‘t have to be complicated.
Find that perfect writer and you’ll find that perfect copy. A talented copywriter can help you launch social media awareness campaigns, help you plan a crowd-funding effort, craft the perfect email to funders, and more!
4. Build A Financial Aid Contact List
Once you determine the scholarship to fund and have a creative team to help you, it’s time to start building your email list. This list should be comprised of people that will be able to help you with your campaign. You can fill the list either through email outreach or with funding. The names can be found in a variety of ways:
- Contacting all the financial aid offices you can get numbers for
- Looking for directors, coordinators, and even student services admin
- Hunting down college and university financial aid offices from the web
- Tracking down administrators via social media and LinkedIn profiles
Once you have a sizable list, it’s time to start with the cold calls and emails. This is where a great copywriter really comes in handy – they can quickly and easily craft a template that’s short and succinct, for a variety of organizations and institutions.
5. Track Your Results
You shouldn’t be surprised or intimidated by the fact that it may take more than one cold email or call to get a backlink or mention from a financial aid office or student organization. You can keep trying to reach out or foster a relationship, but it is helpful to know when to hit the brakes. When you’re planning your campaign, give yourself a limit. Determine how long or for how many times you should contact a prospect before moving on. Make use of spreadsheets to help you track the names, emails, and phone numbers of your prospects.
You can choose to categorize results based on the people you’ve got a clear yes from, those you’re waiting on, and those that you have lost. It would be helpful to also include a column or row to track how many times you’ve sent messages to your prospects. Tracking responses makes it easier to see what you have and pinpoint where to make improvements in your campaign. It can also be used to make sure you’re not repeating yourself by contacting the same prospect twice.
6. Analyze as You Go
Like every other aspect of your business or organization, research and analysis are keys to your success. If you’re not seeing the responses you’re hoping for, it may mean that you need to tweak your strategy. Don’t be afraid to look into scholarships that are similar to yours. See how they were started, how they were developed, who is sponsoring them, etc.
Use them as a reference and adapt your tactics accordingly. If your scholarship is for a specific institution, or a smaller, community-based scholarship, you may choose to contact smaller, independent businesses and keep them informed about your scholarship. Remember, a scholarship should be about giving back to a deserving member of the community.
7. Choose Your Recipients Wisely
Speaking of a deserving member of the community. The time has come to choose your recipient. You and your team should be creating a spreadsheet containing all relevant data – school transcripts, eligibility (gender, chosen major, income), as well as any supplemental materials required to help you make a decision. Take this process seriously, and be thorough. Set yourself a clear deadline. Rewarding a scholarship to a less-than-ideal candidate can impact your scholarship’s reputation, but deliberating too long can do just as much damage when it impacts a student’s academic future.
Always employ a personal approach. If possible, call the recipient, and speak to them in person. Once the scholarship is awarded, take advantage of the opportunity to shout out congratulations across social media and your website. Make sure to mention any partnerships. This leads to more PR for both of you and offers the potential for more backlinks later on.
Organizations or companies aren’t obligated to craft scholarships, but providing scholarships is a great way for you or your business to give back. To get the word out to students, and financial aid offices, you’ll need a savvy campaign that shows your values, and boosts your reputation. With the right team behind you and an ever-growing email list, you will find plenty of opportunities to help deserving students, while promoting yourself, your brand, or an organization you value.