Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Creating a Chapter Scholarship: Part 3

Happy Leap Day. Welcome to Part 3 of "Creating a Chapter Scholarship". Parts 1 and 2 can be found HERE and HERE. Today's installment is all about distribution. The next step after creating the application is sending it out for applicants to fill out. Before the application goes live, make sure to have all the details from Part 2 set in stone. This especially applies to how applicants turn in their applications. Before diving into these different methods research the different regulations for your campus in regards to recruiting and marketing.

The following are different ways to increase the number of applicants:

University Resources
You're looking for any office/department/individual who can assist you in directing people to your application. Assistance may be in the form of an email, allowing you to leave flyers or putting a link on their website. Some good places to look are:

- Office of Financial Aid
- Greek Life Office
- Academic Departments
- International Student Office
- Veterans Office
- LGBTQ Office
- Athletic Department
- Leadership/Community Outreach Office
- Multicultural Affairs Office
- Office of Admissions - see if you can acquire a list of all incoming students (including transfers)

High School Outreach
Every Spring/Summer incoming Freshmen are hunting for scholarships to help fund their education. The following are ways to reach out before potential applicants graduate high school:

- Have members ask their former teachers/coaches/administrators for referrals
- Offer to volunteer at a college night
- Speak to local Parent Teacher Associations (PTA's) - If you're offering thousands of dollars in scholarships, what parent isn't going to go straight home and force their child to apply?
- Go through school/region based organizations such as Student Council, National Honors Society, Youth in Government, Boys State, DECA, 4H, Future Business Leaders of America, Future Farmers of America, ext
- Reach out to Guidance Counselors and ask them to pass the application to students coming to your university

On Campus Marketing
Most universities offer some form of orientation over the summer to get new students acclimated. This is a great marketing opportunity.

- Have members involved in the orientation program. They provide access to a large number of students and can direct them to the application
- Have a table at one of the orientation events to pass out applications, or flyers leading them to an online version of the application
- Create banners, bulletin boards and flyers and post them where appropriate
- Place a large banner on your chapter facility
- Ads in the campus paper

Digital Marketing
Based on the amount of time students spend online, it would make sense to focus some time and effort into digital marketing such as:

- Facebook. Everyone has one. Post a link to your scholarship on your Fan Page as well as individual member's pages
- Internet Scholarship Sites. There are dozens of these sites that promote scholarships such as Fastweb and Cappex
- Chapter Website. Make sure there is a very visible link to the chapter website. If you want to get really fancy you could purchase a domain name and create an entire website to promote your scholarship

Make sure to check back tomorrow for how to turn a scholarship event into a recruitment event.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Creating a Chapter Scholarship: Part 2

Welcome to the second installment of "Creating a Chapter Scholarship". Part 1 can be found HERE. After deciding to start a recruitment scholarship, the next important part of the process is creating the application process.

Your scholarship needs an appealing name that will encourage people learn more about it. Very few people are going to look at the "Lambda Alpha Mu Epsilon Scholarship". There are a couple different areas of inspiration that you can turn to so as not to re-invent the wheel:

Organizational Mottos- Example: Men of Principle (Beta), True Gentlemen (SAE), Greatest Version (Phi Delt), The Pen is Mightier (AXD)

Organizational Symbols- Example: Sword & Shield (Phi Delt), White Cross (EX), Lyre (AXO)

Organization/Personal Values- Example: Love, Honor, Truth (SN), Scholars, Leaders, Athletes, Gentlemen (Pike)

Campus Specific- Example: Future Tiger, 12th Man, Cameron Crazies, The U

These areas are not mutually exclusive. Feel free to mix and match until you find an attractive title.

Somewhere in the application you need to answer the following questions:
Who are you (organization)?
Why are you giving out the scholarship?
Who is eligible to apply?
Who do I contact with questions?
What is the scholarship for?
What awards are available?
What are the criteria to win?
When are applications due?
When will winners be notified?
How will winners be notified?
How are materials collected?
Do I have to join the fraternity to win?

Potential Collectables
There is a wide variety of information you can collect from an applicant. The amount of the potential scholarship can dictate what is appropriate. No one is going to write 10 essays to win $250. Here are some possible ideas:

Form Data: Name, Address, Phone Number, Email, GPA, Interests, Involvement, Leadership, Employment, Hobbies
Essays: See Below
Letters of Recommendation: How many? From who? How should they be collected?
Transcript: To prove grades
Professional Photo

Essay Questions
The goal here is not to punish applicants, but rather to learn more about them. Make sure to outline the formatting requirements and be clear as to which questions to answer and their length. Additionally, you want to tailor your questions to a potential recruitment pitch by asking things such as:

What is the importance of networking and how does one build their network in college?
What is the importance of involvement and how has involvement impacted you?
What are your goals and how to you plan to achieve them?
What is your greatest accomplishment?
What is your favorite leadership quote and how does it apply to your life?

How should applicants turn in their application? I'm of the opinion that sending in a paper application makes things seem more official. The only facet to that is that there has to be someone collecting them on the other end ie: you can't have people send them to the chapter house if there's no one there. Another option would be to use digital resources such as GoogleDocs or having an applicant email everything.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Creating a Chapter Scholarship

Often times we as Greek professionals suggest to our chapters to create a scholarship for incoming freshmen as a recruitment tool. However, the help and advice generally ends there. Recently I have had the opportunity to work with groups in creating these programs and realize there's a huge amount of work that goes into the process in order for it to be successful. What started as a simple idea for one blog post has now turned into a five day mini-series.

The goal of a scholarship is two-fold. The first is to recognize outstanding incoming freshmen coming to your university. The second is to add those names to your Names List in hopes of recruiting those outstanding individuals into your chapter.

For many chapters, this opportunity will give you the first crack at a huge base of incoming students.

The amount that is offered will dictate how elaborate your scholarship process can be. How many people are going to jump through hoops to apply for a $250 book scholarship? The answer is not many. If the price is right, a chapter is able to require a lot more time and effort from the applicants. As a general rule I would recommend that a scholarship be over $1000 to attract the highest caliber applicants.

Another aspect is how the scholarship is marketed. Imagine you have $4000 to work with. Does it sound better to advertise four $1000 scholarships, or up to $4000?

The next hurdle is where the funds for this scholarship will come from:

Chapter: If you have a large chapter that can afford to budget the entire thing, that makes life easy. While some may argue that dues should be "spent on the active chapter", an investment in a scholarship will go a long way to insuring the future success of the organization.

Alumni: This is opportunity to go to your chapter's alumni and say "We have a recruitment plan that will increase both the quantity and quality of our membership and we need your help funding it". Some chapters have found success targeting alumni from a specific era or a position such as past chapter Presidents.

If your chapter chooses to create a scholarship (which it should), someone needs to oversee its execution. Every group is set up differently but I would recommend this falling to either the Recruitment Chair or the Scholarship Chair and their respective committees. If those positions are unable to handle the task, a new officer position could be created/appointed.

Stay tuned the rest of this week for posts related to: Creating an Application, Distribution, Process and Inception