Improving Your Post-Acceptance Communications with Students

Like it or not, communicating with students is a key part of the scholarship process. While this process can be tedious and sometimes overwhelming, it is necessary to share the news about scholarship awarding decisions and collect post-acceptance information. 

In a recent Blackbaud survey, 50% of institutions feel like their communications to students were streamlined to an efficient level and approximately 60% of institutions are planning to make streamlined communications a priority in 2020. So how are they planning to do that? 

Below are a few tips on how to streamline your post-acceptance communication with students. Hopefully these can save you a headache or two!

Use one communication to notify students of all scholarship awards 

We recently found that only 36% of institutions use a single communication to notify students of all of the scholarships they received. That means that over 60% of institutions are sending out multiple emails to students based on the number of awards they receive. For example, if a student receives 10 different scholarships, they get 10 different emails they have to open, read, and click on to accept their award. 

By sending students one streamlined email listing out all the awards they have received, you make it easier on yourself by creating less emails to send and easier on the student by sharing one central list of everything they have been awarded and one place for them to refer to when it is time for them to accept their awards. 

Use an online platform to collect post-acceptance details from students

Do you currently collect post-acceptance information from your awardees? This could include a thank you letter to their donor, answers to a series of questions you provide them about their experience at your institution, or an essay about the impact of the scholarship on their life. All of these things are helpful when it comes to stewarding your donors later but trying to collect handwritten thank you letters and other information can become very tedious. 

Using an online platform to collect this information not only makes the process easier for you, but it encourages your students to complete the asks on time. Students no longer need to walk all the way across campus to deliver a handwritten thank you note or questionnaire (often sloppily written and riddled with grammar errors). Over 60% of institutions are asking students to submit these things online, allowing the scholarship and advancement administrators the ability to proofread, edit, and store all of the collected information in one place. This in turn makes it easier to share student information with your donors when needed.

Automate your communications with a scholarship management platform

Another trick to streamlining your communications is to use a scholarship management platform to automate your communications. While scholarship management platforms come with a ton of other perks, one major benefit is the fact that all of your scholarship awards are located in one place. This makes it simple to create a single communication for a student that lists all of their scholarship awards. And a good scholarship management platform will create an automated email letting that student know what they have been awarded and what their next steps are. This takes a major amount of work off the scholarship administrator, freeing up your time for other important tasks as you move through the season. 

Interested in other ways you can streamline your scholarship management process? Check out our higher education blog or learn more about Blackbaud Award Management.