We know that launching a scholarship program can be intimidating and overwhelming. We’ve walked this process with many clients and last year we joined their ranks. So, as we gear up for year two of the WizeHive Scholarship Fund, we decided to ask the man who lead our efforts about the why’s and how’s behind launching our scholarship program. Read on to hear what Ed Miller, Customer Success Manager at WizeHive, shared.
Q: Last year was the first year for the WizeHive Scholarship Fund. Can you explain what this fund is?
A: Sure! The WizeHive Scholarship Fund awards $10,000 to an up-and-coming innovative leader in the non-profit sector who is currently pursuing an advanced degree in that field.
Q: What motivated WizeHive to create this program?
A: We, at WizeHive, are fortunate to work with many organizations that have inspiring missions. That inspiration is at the heart of our scholarship program. We wanted to go beyond admiring the missions of these organizations and instead, “live” these very worthy missions.
Q: Can you walk us through the steps of creating the scholarship fund? Who (what roles) at WizeHive were involved in these steps?
A: The first thing that was done was to allow all members of the company to submit their ideas of what impact we, at WizeHive, wanted to make. We then democratized the final selection via direct voting by all company employees. After that a good amount of hard work remained, namely, all the hundreds of decisions that first-time scholarship programs need to make, such as, who are we targeting for the award, where are these candidates located, what information do we need to collect to award the best person and make the biggest impact, amongst others. Luckily, we assembled a committee with representatives from across the company to help make these decisions.
We were lucky to have a good amount of the company involved! Aside from the committee itself, we had volunteers who helped build the process in Zengine and opened up our review and evaluation process to all members of the company to help make our final award selection.
Q: How was Zengine, our scholarship management system, used to support this program? What was your experience with it in each phase of the process?
A: We managed the whole process in Zengine. From collecting the initial ideas to the final award decision and everything in between!
We leveraged the use of our submission portal to collect pertinent information on each candidate. We then used our review portal to allow for 3 rounds of review to collect feedback. We made good use of our summary and calculated fields to provide various reference points, such as average overall review score and rank, to ensure objectivity throughout the process.
Q: The focus last year was on making an impact in our hometown, Philadelphia. Can you let us know what the focus will be on this upcoming year?
A: We plan to continue to focus our attention on Philadelphia and further grow our relationship with LaSalle University and their Master’s in NonProfit Leadership program.
Q: What tips do you have for companies that are thinking about launching their own scholarship program?
A: For year one, I would highly recommend finding a key partner in the area in which you would like to make an impact. The team at LaSalle University, especially Dr. Laura Otten, was invaluable to our work given her expertise in the non-profit/higher education field.
I would also highly recommend keeping things simple the first year to ensure you meet timelines and get all the important work done. Don’t expect the scholarship program to be fully developed in year one. Instead, focus on setting a solid foundation to run a successful program in year two and leave room for improvements and growth along the way.
WizeHive is excited to announce year two of the WizeHive Scholarship Fund. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks!