How Financial Aid Professionals Can Get the Most Out of bbcon 2020

bbcon 2020 Virtual is right around the corner! Whether this is your first virtual conference, or one of many you’ve virtually attended this year, below is guidance to help higher education financial aid and scholarship professionals make this their best bbcon yet!


Tips for Success at bbcon 2020

  • Block time off on your calendar. Decide what sessions you want to attend and reserve that time on your calendar so that you know when you need to be free and can really take the time to focus in on the content.
  • Be prepared. Have a water bottle or your favorite caffeinated beverage close by. Prepare some snacks. And don’t forget to have something to take notes with so you can really soak up all that good bbcon knowledge.
  • Utilize your break time. Get up and stretch or take a short walk. Use that break time to refresh so you are ready for your next session.
  • Dive into virtual networking. Throughout the conference there will be ample opportunity for you to network with peers and with Blackbaud staff. Take advantage of those opportunities. Remember, you can also schedule one-on-one time with attendees, speakers, and sponsors using the networking feature in the virtual platform.
  • Find the right sessions for you. Use the agenda filters to help you find the sessions that best meet your needs. You can filter based on conference track, Blackbaud product, speakers, job role, and more. Keep an eye out for the Higher Education and Grant and Award Management track in particular.

I also wanted to highlight some key sessions that you may find interesting. This is just a small sub-set of sessions being provided throughout the conference so be sure to check out the full agenda.


Key Financial Aid/Scholarship Sessions at bbcon 2020

  • Your General App Is Wack. Take Advantage of Auto-Match!
    • Kelly Locke, Fox Valley Technical College Foundation, Inc.
    • In this session, you’ll be encouraged to rethink how to use your general application to streamline your auto-match opportunities. Create less work for your applicants by NOT making them apply to individual opportunities and increase your qualified applicant pools significantly. Awarding, reviewing, and dispersing dollars has never been easier!
  • Awarding Freshmen Scholarships: A Case Study
    • Keith Brown, Alison Rice, and Kevin Zalanowski, University of Wisconsin – Madison
    • The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a large, decentralized campus environment, which has challenged scholarship awarding efficiencies, student communications, and updating student accounts. This case study illustrates the connection between school/college scholarship officers, financial aid, bursars, and admissions. The common higher education gaps and hurdles facing scholarship workflows will be identified. After just one cycle, Blackbaud solutions have minimized barriers, spurred creativity, and increased collaborative efforts across these partnerships. UW-Madison was able to seamlessly recruit, review, and award incoming undergraduate students using school/college processes. Scholarship administrators, opportunity administrators, admissions and financial aid representatives should attend.
  • Strategies for Engaging Your Applicants
    • Lauren Janney, Cape Fear Community College
    • Carrie Goldberger, Blackbaud
    • During this interactive session, we’ll discuss different methods for communicating with and engaging your scholarship applicants. We’ll talk through some strategies we’ve seen and hear best practices directly from customers.
  • Launching Your Scholarship Review Season the Right Way
    • Nick Fazzini, Blackbaud
    • Starting your scholarship application review season on the right foot is no easy task, especially in today’s world where many of us find ourselves working remotely. We’ll be sharing tips and best practices for your next review season to help you kick things off right and keep them running smoothly throughout your semester. For those of you who are running your first couple of review seasons, you don’t want to miss this!
  • Automating Your Process with Award Management APIs
    • Carrie Goldberger, Blackbaud
    • What is an API? Why should you care? This session will cover the APIs offered in Blackbaud Award Management and best practices for setting them up and strategies for using them.


I hope you are as excited as we are for bbcon 2020 Virtual and I can’t wait to see you online!