It seems that lately, many alumni and donors want to have a participatory role when it comes to giving away their money to students for scholarships.
Because of this new trend, it can sometimes be difficult for development officers to find funds for departmental scholarships. It’s becoming apparent that donors want to do more than just give a lump sum of money designated to scholarships. After donating, many of these contributors are not involved with the process of choosing who receives the money, while still others don’t even know which students are the recipients.
For these reasons, it is becoming more difficult to receive “no-string-attached” scholarship money. But maybe it’s time to change our thinking. A better solution to scholarships? Sponsorships.
These would work to benefit not just the people donating, but also the students themselves. Remember all those times you preached to students about the importance of networking? Well, here is their prime opportunity.
A sponsorship would look like a mentorship, with the student not only receiving funds to help them with their education, but also a person to support them once they enter the big, bad professional world. It would be appealing to donors because they would know exactly to whom their money was going and could even have a hand in picking the student to receive the donation. They would serve a much more holistic role by being available to answer their students’ questions and to guide them in which jobs to apply for or positions to take. By playing such a significant role in the process, this could potentially encourage alumni to donate more in the future.
If you’ve been having trouble with alumni communications, this may be one solution. Many alumni would be more than willing to help a student from their alma mater break into their field, but they simply don’t know how. By providing them with a comprehensive opportunity to positively affect students’ higher education experiences, they are more likely to get involved with the process as a whole, donate more money and act as a wonderful asset to students.