In 2018, famed singer Beyoncé and her Music Mogul husband, Jay Z announced ten scholarships worth $100,000 each for deserving college students. Many people were pleasantly surprised when the power couple made the announcement.
In the past few years, many brands of different shapes and sizes have started offering academic scholarships to different students. This has not only helped them connect with the younger population, but also improved their reach and exposure in multiple ways.
In this article, we are going to look at how brands can improve themselves by offering academic scholarships. We are also going to discuss some critical challenges of the same.
Brands and Scholarships: What you need to know?
Brands who want to offer academic scholarships can take one of two routes-
- Fund an Academic Institution and create a Scholarship Program
- Create a Foundation, design the Scholarship, and set up their own Selection Process
Some brands prefer to take backstage and get in touch with educational institutions to do all the work. Others prefer to design the foundation, set up selection committees, and assign the scholarships themselves.
Brands also need to understand that the IRS gets involves when it comes to scholarships. If you take the first route, the IRS does not get involved. However, if you want to do everything following the second route, you will need to do all the paperwork and comply with IRS regulations.
Best Practices of offering Brand Scholarships
According to the celebrated producer, Sam Haskell who sponsors numerous scholarships every year, brands need to decide on the type of scholarship. Whether they would be offering single scholarships for a specific sum every year or give multiple ones. The first one requires less of an effort and gets done in an easy fashion. Multiple scholarships involve a lot of paperwork and record-keeping.
Brands should also ensure that they are not just giving away scholarships, for the sake of it. This means that proper care and attention should be paid to the following-
- The selection process is genuine, transparent, and authentic
- Every applicant is getting the same kind of treatment
- The ROIs a brand is expecting from the scholarship offer
- The amount and period of the scholarship being offered
- Impact, which the brand expects to happen from the scholarship
If a brand takes note of these five issues, it will be able to design the scholarship in a manner, which benefits both the applicant and the business itself.
What are some of the Challenges of Brand Sponsored Scholarships?
Many brands feel that scholarships are an easy marketing strategy to execute. However, if someone wants to take that route, you will be called out sooner rather than later. Therefore, genuine care and concern should be made when it comes to offering scholarships.
It is important that brands fix a geographical area for the scholarship award. In other words, recipients living in that region can apply for the scholarship. There is also a need to decide on how you would want to disburse the amount.
In some cases, brands award scholarship checks directly to the students themselves. However, there is a fear that this amount might not get used for academic fee purposes. In other cases, brands pay the amount directly to schools and colleges. Experts suggest that the second method is better for ensuring that the amount gets spent in the right manner.
The Final Word
Academic scholarships are a great way for a brand to connect with the local community. It shows that a brand that is operating in a region thinks about giving back to the local population. This helps in getting integrated into a community, get real exposure, and ultimately help in sales and revenues.