Creating transparent and compliant scholarships and grants

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Creating transparent and compliant scholarships and grants is the name of the game.

 

After months of collecting scholarship/grant applications and conducting thorough reviews, you finally announce recipients just to hear from disgruntled applicants who did not receive funding. Or, worse… your governing body comes calling for an audit. Sound familiar? Not only does creating transparent and compliant scholarships and grants protect yourself, it also provides the engaging experience built on trust and integrity that your audience desires.

In this webinar we discuss:

  • Why this is important.
  • How to conduct blinded data collection and review.
  • Proven and fair review workflows.
  • Transparency and audit reporting.
 
Why this is important

Ever hear the saying, “better safe than sorry”? Well, this applies here as well. Not only is it easier to cover yourself when you plan things out from the beginning, but it also forces you to structure grants and scholarships a bit differently that actually enhance the overall experience.

Community and donor integrity

  • When raising funds for your grant and scholarship its critical to portray the value and program integrity to the donors
  • Obligation to donors and ensure confidence

Proof of a fair and compliant process

  • Enhance program reputation and applicant confidence by outlining the application and review process.
  • This highlights the process and expectations prior to the submission process.
  • Post grant and scholarship feedback sharing
    • Showcase proof of compliance by sharing anonymous results and proof of workflow to applicant.

Synergy between departments

  • Often there are multiple departments involved in grants and scholarships. This may be between the finance and programs team, or the foundation and guidance office team.
  • Having a dedicated and proven process IN CONJUNCTION with an online portal consolidates efforts and makes teamwork easier and more transparent.
  • Provides the ability for roles and responsibilities.

When the higher ups come knocking

  • At some point a post grant or scholarship report will need to be filed.
  • What data specifically needs to be provided? 
  • Prior to program launch, identify this data and create a template for delivery.
  • Archive this template and data for long term audit and compliance checks.

 

Blind data collection and review

A common grant and scholarship review workflow consists of blinding applicant data to ensure a fair and unbiased selection. Often, this is easier said then done – especially with a disconnected management process and data scattered between different tools.
What data needs to be blinded?
  • Deciding what data needs to be blinded will be dependent on your guidelines and pre-outlined policies. Create a review workflow and work backwards to compliance.
  • Personal information
    • This includes identifiable information such as name, address, email, etc. 
    • Alongside personal information that needs blinded is demographic data.
    • Lastly, data that may not be needed for the review process can be hidden from the review team altogether.

How do you blind data?

  • Think through how the data is captured.
  • If data is submitted through fields in Reviewr the system can automatically hide the information from user types.
  • If data is added through open ended text or through submitted documents, this will require a manual review.
  • Simply review the supporting material, strike a black line through it, and re-upload to the profile.

A proven and fair workflow

Last up in the essentials to creating a transparent and compliant scholarship and grant program is developing a proven and fair workflow. By publicly outlining, and proving, that a dedicated process is in place eases applicants minds and holds scholarship and grant makers accountable.

What makes up a proven and fair workflow?

  • Publicly available guidelines and proof of process.
  • Automatic date management that opens and closes deadlines, avoiding human error.
  • Time stamping for proof of completion.
  • Web based portal to facilitate essential workflows, such as Reviewr. Necessary recipes include:
    • Blinding data.
    • Automatic notifications and communication.
    • Visual representation of workflows.
    • User tracking and proof of completion.
    • Distributing submissions to review committees.
    • Online evaluation with automated results reporting.
    • Standardized scoring process for consistency.
    • Post grant/scholarship follow up data.
    • Data reporting and archiving.
 
For additional resources pertaining to creating transparent and compliant scholarships and grants, check out the National School Foundation Association resources here.

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