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

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