Tips on Managing a Grant and Scholarship Program

By: Lindsey Rowan

Now that you’re an expert in launching a new grant or scholarship after reading my previous blog four years ago, I suspect you have quite a few to manage. Perhaps you now have an official grant and scholarship program with more than 10 opportunities as our 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization does. So, now what? How do you manage the copious and consistent marketing objectives and submission deadlines that hit at all different times throughout the year? Below are a few helpful tips to guide you.

  1. Marketing Tips and Tricks

An established grant and scholarship program often comes with recurring opportunities year to year. Take the time to perfect a marketing piece(s) – e-blast, flier, etc. – for each opportunity so that you can save time for the years to come. Achieve the perfect template by:

  • Including the grant or scholarship’s monetary value. It draws attention and people LOVE to see how much money they can save if awarded.
  • Always including a clear call to action of “Apply Today!”. Not just once, but multiple times.
  • Ensuring your website’s hyperlink is generic (i.e. do not include years) so that there is no change year to year.
  • Refraining from wordiness – less is better.
  • Creating a QR code for printed material that links directly to the particular grant or scholarship page or application.

2. Keep Everything in One Place

Not only do you want your potential applicants to be able to easily access all grant and scholarships that are available to them, but you want a birds-eye view of what’s upcoming for yourself, too. Create a master document of all grant and scholarship opportunities, a brief description of each, and their corresponding application deadlines. This document can serve multi-purposes, for example, as a hand-out at tradeshows, a marketing collateral in various mailings, reference material for email inquiries, and a deadline reminder for you posted on your bulletin board.

Additionally, ensure you house all grant and scholarship information in the same place on your organization’s internal server. This includes blank applications, completed applications, marketing collateral, winner and non-winner letters, certificate and scoring templates, testimonials, etc. The second you receive or complete anything grant or scholarship related, save it in that designated spot.

3. Deadline Management

Since all grants and scholarships serve a specific purpose, it’s likely many of them have different application deadlines, which makes it very easy for one to slip through the cracks. For marketing purposes, create and utilize an e-blast calendar to ensure you are not overwhelming your audience with emails. Be sure to plug those e-blast dates into your preference of deadline management. My go-to, the Outlook calendar, is filled with reminders for each grant and scholarship – not only for upcoming e-blasts and mailings, but for upcoming application deadlines, follow-ups to incomplete application submissions, scoring sessions, and press releases, too. To top it all off, plug ALL of those deadlines into an admin calendar along with other tasks you manage outside of grants and scholarships. If you’re anything like me, you’ll utilize all three plus daily post-it notes!

Needless to say, there are numerous moving parts to just one grant or scholarship. Add in one, two, or ten, and you are literally multiplying your to-do list. However, once you have mastered one, you have mastered them all and the key is to manage the cyclical deadlines.

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