June 3, 2014
Associations often focus on improving their industry as a whole; many mission statements include a statement about advancing the profession. A great way to improve your industry is to develop a scholarship program, which ensures that the best and the brightest students will have the resources to complete their education and one day, contribute to your field. It’s also a way for established professionals to “give back” through the organization. And if you’re looking to grow your organization’s presence in the student or young professional market, a scholarship can help raise awareness among the younger demographics in your industry.
Here is a roundup of a few Kellen Company associations that offer scholarships:
- Copper Club – Copper Club, a group that seeks to promote the interests of the copper industry, developed a Grants Program to assist exceptional students preparing for careers in fields related to maintenance and expansion of the copper industry. To date, 114 grants of up to $10,000 each have been awarded.
- Home Fashion Products Association– The HFPA Foundation was founded in 1996 to help foster the future of the industry. The Foundation provides scholarships to students pursuing a career in the home fashion products industry. Currently, the Foundation awards scholarships to students enrolled in surface design or home product marketing courses of study at a college or university in the United States. Nearly 200 students have received scholarships since its inception
- Juice Products Association – The Juice Products Association Scholarship Foundation was established in 1993 at the request of Mrs. Billie Davies in honor of her husband, the late D. Glynn Davies. Mr. Davies was a pioneer in the juice industry with broad experience in citrus sales and marketing both nationally and internationally. Currently, the Foundation has partnerships with eight universities and awards a total of thirteen $2,000 scholarships annually to students who demonstrate academic excellence and have a keen interest in the fruit juice industry.
- New York Women in Communications Foundation – NYWICI Foundation, the philanthropic arm of New York Women in Communications, has issued over $1 million in scholarship support since its formal establishment in 2000. The Foundation is the largest one providing support to women studying communications in the NY-NJ-PA-CT region. Annual scholarships range from $2,500 to $10,000 and many are accompanied by internships at organizations such as Hearst, Interpublic Group (IPG), Scholastic and Meredith Corporation.
Interested in starting a scholarship program for your organization? Here are some tips:
- Establish the parameters of the scholarship. You need to decide who is eligible to apply. Should they have a certain major? Have completed a certain amount of years of college to show that they are committed to the industry? Is diversity an important factor? And based on your budget, how many scholarships are you able to award?
- Consider matching the scholarships with internships. Students in every field are seeking real-world experience, which can sometimes be as valuable as tuition money. If your member companies are willing, offer your recipients internships based on the students’ career interests.
- List your scholarship in online databases. Students often search online for funding. You should set up listings on pages like scholarships.com and fastweb.com. Make sure to be explicit about the eligibility requirements in the listings so you only attract relevant applicants.
- Do your due diligence on each applicant. Your application process will vary based on the needs of your organization, but you should take steps to ensure that every potential candidate is worthy. Letters of recommendation are helpful in determining if the applicant is reliable and trustworthy. Some organizations conduct both telephone and in-person interviews with candidates so that only the best students are associated with the group.
- Announce the recipients. When you have selected the final recipients, you can consider listing them on your website in a scholarship “Hall of Fame.” Then, send press releases to industry publications, and local publications both in both the student’s hometown and town where they attend school.
- Show the value of the scholarship to your members and donors. Many of our clients present the scholarship recipients at an event, such as an annual meeting or gala. That way, the entire membership can see how inspiring the students are – and they may be more willing to donate to your program.
- Keep your recipients involved. You don’t want the recipients to take the money and then never hear from them again. Invite them to attend an upcoming event and introduce them to industry leaders. You could even set them up with a mentor from your Board. You may consider giving a year of free membership to your organization to keep the students involved. Make sure you receive updated contact information after they graduate so they can continue to be members as they begin their careers.
Does your organization offer a scholarship program? How do you leverage the program to benefit your industry?