Blog: Bridging the Gap: Scholarships and Stewardship Working as One

May 7, 2019

We often hear from decentralized campuses that there is little to no communication between their financial aid office and donor relations office, creating a huge gap in the scholarship management process on campus. Not only does this inhibit the sharing of information, you miss out on numerous opportunities to combine and streamline efforts to make both the scholarship awarding AND the donor stewardship process easier.

In order to help these two groups work in harmony, it’s important for everyone involved in the scholarship process to understand who is involved at each step and who the real “owner” is for different phases. After spending time with our clients and discovering what their best practices are, we’ve come up with a few tips to help you work better with your two offices that handle financial aid/scholarships and donor relations.

Develop an understanding of the process and who plays a role in each part.

  • 91% of colleges have more than one department involved in advertising scholarship opportunities to students.
  • 51% of schools place financial aid in charge of notifying students of scholarship awards and then pass this information to donor relations to collect thank-you letters. In most cases, donor relations will complete the remainder of the donor stewardship process.
  • 43% of colleges and universities have a centralized scholarship office.

All those statistics to say that there is a lot of people involved in the scholarship process. It is a great idea to meet with key stakeholders from various campus units to map out who plays a part in awarding scholarships and to outline their tasks and responsibilities.

Openly communicate to everyone on campus. With so many people involved in scholarship management, it is important to maintain an open line of communication. This means communicating about the scholarship process itself, but also providing frequent updates to different stakeholders throughout the scholarship cycle.

Improve the use of newer technologies. Our survey results showed that those campuses with a scholarship team or task force only meet a few times a year. The implementation of functional technology plays a large role in keeping everyone informed between those meetings.

We hope these tips help you as you work to bridge the gap between scholarships and stewardship. If you’re interested in learning more about Scholarship and Stewardship Management technology, click here.

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