Marketing Your Scholarship
by Esther Ng Congratulations! You’ve managed to create a scholarship of your own– and you’re ready to hand it to a potential applicant who really, really needs it. Aside from helping out students with the burden of tuition fees, many scholarship donors want to see these young buds develop, grow, and give back to the community. However, many new donors, especially independent ones, often realize that applicants are not lining up outside their door. This isn’t because there aren’t any takers for their scholarships, but instead has to do with a lack of advertisement. It can be difficult to get your scholarship “out there” where the big guns are, but here are a few tips to help your scholarship get recognized. Influencer Marketing The number one target group are obviously students and fresh graduates who are in need of scholarships. With that, the best way to find applicants would be to reach out to influential figures within the education industry. Individuals can be anywhere from counselors and teachers to managers and supervisors of after-school education programs. Where are the best places where students would congregate?
This one is the obvious first target. School counselors are in charge of dispensing vital college advice and scholarship recommendations to the students of their school, so reaching out to them should be the first choice. Bear in mind, however, that counselors are often busy, so do not put all your hopes on them. Let them know that the scholarship exists, and encourage them to get possible applicants to apply.
Teachers also have access to students of all ages and backgrounds. Instead of sourcing out individual students, see if you can gain access to teachers’ associations where you can market your scholarship. Teachers are individuals who want to help their students as much as possible, and many would appreciate any potential scholarship that would help even one student of theirs!
Source out parents’ associations or family-based organizations. Even if the program may be focused on very young kids or toddlers, there is still the possibility that the parents may have older children who qualify for your scholarship. Let them know that you are offering a scholarship and only want to get the word out there to help another.
- Volunteer/charity organizations
Many students are incredibly proactive in volunteerism and other co curricular activities. Find out what kind of charity organizations are nearby that allow students to volunteer. For instance, the Humane Society allows young children and families to volunteer, as well as college and high school students. See if you can work with the staff to get the word out there regarding a scholarship– most would be willing to help just as much. After all, who doesn’t want to help another student?
- Sports associations/extracurricular associations
As with charity organizations, there are many youths who are actively involved in sports. Some even represent their schools at state level in a particular field. For instance, school golfers might train at a particular golf club every week, or perhaps the canoeing team train every evening at a park. It might be a bit tricky to approach associations like these, since they value their privacy. However, it would be worth a shot, especially if your scholarship is directly related to any sports achievement. Traditional Marketing While influencer marketing works well in directly getting the news to the target group of students, there is also the more traditional method of marketing which would still help your scholarship gain recognition. Traditional marketing often involves monetary sponsorship such as advertisements in newspapers, radio or even flyers. The one advantage or traditional marketing is that it would take less time to reach a wider audience. It would also mean much less work!
Advertisements for newspapers, magazines or even websites would surely reach a wider audience. In this current era, it would be smart to advertise your scholarships online, since millennials are practically glued to their computers and phones, not to mention almost everything is switching to digital. Be wise about where you choose to sponsor advertisements– choose student-oriented websites or blogs, and perhaps even family-based websites. Target where the youth might be searching, because you really want them to see your scholarship!
Radio ads are fast and fleeting, so keep your information to the minimum. Give a website address, or a key phrase or word for your scholarship. Have it repeated a few times, and include the vital information about your scholarship. For instance, who it is for, how much the scholarship might be, and when the deadline is. Don’t forget to inform them how to start applying!
Flyers are more time-consuming and would require physical work on your side, if not someone you would have to hire. However, flyers can be an effective method of marketing if you choose the correct spot. Target places where students frequent, such as school dorms, libraries, and campuses. Get permission from school authorities to post your flyers on notice boards. This would save you a lot of time reaching out to influential figures instead, such as teachers and counselors. Remember that most places frequented by students need to have permission from authorities, so don’t post before you have it! Each method of marketing, as you can see, has it owns pros and cons. Choose the ones which work best for you, or a combination of both, perhaps. Market smart, and you will soon have applications to process through. Good luck!