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Posted by Lori March on 6th Oct 2021

Offering Scholarships for Employees

We all know that furthering your education is essential, and it is the best way to open up new doors in life. However, for many people, this isn't easy. This is especially true for people who cannot afford this education on their own because it can be very expensive.

A person biting their pencil in frustration.

Fortunately, there are scholarships that employers offer that employees may take advantage of to further themselves educationally. These can help many people get the extra training they need to make a better life for themselves and provide themselves a better future.

Natural Cravings is offering that chance to their employees.

Related: About Us

How furthering education can help employees

Supporting employees to further their education can really help them thrive within their current careers. Here are just a few ways that scholarship programs help employees.

Employees gain specialized knowledge. Returning to school can help employees grasp all of the newest advancements in their fields. Because a higher degree demonstrates that you know what you're talking about, it gives you more credibility. It's also a fantastic opportunity for workers to delve into something specific in their field or learn about a new one altogether. Continued education will assist employees in obtaining new talents and enhancing old ones.

It'll help employees advance their careers. Higher education can make it much easier to climb the corporate ladder. In business, many professionals prefer degrees in management and leadership, particularly in things like education and healthcare.

Graduate degrees may help you move up the career ladder. You can also explain how this will help employees if they ever decide to leave your company and work somewhere else. A little encouragement goes a long way.

A sign labeled wisdom attached to a pole in the woods.

It'll increase employees' earning potential. Many employees are worried about putting money into a degree. However, the average degree holder earns about $60,000 per year, and with a Master's, they can make even more. It's an investment.

Employees gain lifelong skills. It's not just about the technical or industry knowledge that employees will learn. Higher education will help them to be good at researching, writing, and analyzing things. These skills can be helpful in their jobs or in everyday life.

Why employers should offer scholarships

Offering scholarships is a great way to foster long-term business relationships with employees. When an employer offers their employees the opportunity to further themselves through higher levels of education, it shows that they value them.

Employees who are balancing school with a job that invests in them might be more apt to stay committed to the company.

Offering brand scholarships is also a great way to support the future of industries. This means offering further training in fields or degrees that will help promote and grow your company.

For example: If you are a pet fashion manufacturer supporting an employee who studies textiles could help support your business long term.

How Scholarships Amplify Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is a chance for your company to highlight your investment in people, aka your employees. Offering scholarships is a direct way to give back to your employees and the community.

To learn more about creating your own Corporate Social Responsibility scholarship, check out this article for more information.

What can adding scholarships do for your company?

Having your own brand scholarship isn't all about furthering your employees. However, businesses also can benefit from these programs. Here are some more reasons you should add a scholarship program to your company, outside of the warm fuzzy feeling you get.

Brand scholarships help you advertise for less.

Advertising budgets are some of the largest for many different companies, with some spending close to a billion per year.

However, small businesses can easily compete by thinking outside the box by using scholarship programs as an advertising tool.

Furthermore, small businesses need to utilize outside-the-box advertising strategies and solutions.

Brand scholarships can build connections with younger generations.

One big reason that scholarships are so amazing is the age group they are geared towards. More than 30% of 18-24-year-olds are enrolled in college every year. This makes the target audience of these scholarships around 16 million on any given day.

These young minds will be the ones that shape the future of our companies, and offering scholarships can help connect the generations for a larger, positive impact on society.

Furthermore, this also connects back to a business's Social Corporate Responsibility.

Stacks of coins with plants growing out of it to signify growth.

Scholarships can generate interest through social media.

Social media is the cheapest and easiest marketing tactic today (Outside of direct emails, maybe, it's a close tie), and offering scholarships that are easy to share can significantly benefit your company.

With more than 70% of people spending an average of two hours or more on social media every day, it's a perfect way to showcase your company and the scholarships you offer.

Having scholarship applicants produce a video or perform some other task on social media not only attracts more applicants but can help your company go more viral.

The Duck brand duct tape company, for example, launched the Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest, which gives a scholarship to the student who creates the best prom outfit using their product.

Brand scholarships can strengthen your CSR program.

There's a lot of talk about socially responsible business in all sectors. Corporate social responsibility is the name given to this movement, which emphasizes long-term sustainability and social awareness. CSR isn't only about building a good reputation; it also entails making a positive difference and demonstrating that your firm values people.

And the numbers show that it's good for business.

Brand scholarships are critical for reputation management.

If your brand had a rough start, offering a scholarship is the perfect way to help rebuild your brand. It is also the ideal way to begin building your brand as well. With social media, any news, good or bad, can spread like wildfire overnight and do some serious damage to a company.

Look at what happened to Fair Oaks Farms.

Scholarships can help boost the positive things that people see about your company and how you are helping the community.

Brand scholarships can boost your SEO

SEO or search engine optimization is critical for ranking well on Google, and having a brand scholarship can help you with that. Backlinks are crucial to proper SEO ranking. Having a scholarship or a .edu will automatically show authority and boost the page rank on Google.

Also, the more traffic your site gets, the higher the rank, along with click-throughs and other factors that scholarships provide.

Related: Pet Age Women of Influence 2020 winner

Brand scholarships are helpful for market research.

Knowing your companies customer base is valuable information. Every year companies worldwide spend billions on obtaining this information.

However, having a scholarship can be a cost-effective way to gather market research. This research can include surveys or unique data as part of the application.

For example, Modern Castle, a website that reviews home goods, currently has a scholarship in which students must answer the following questions: What aspects of your house felt modern when you were growing up? What technological trends do you believe will have the most significant impact on future home operations?

These questions help Modern Castle gain unique insights into its customer's buying process.

Brand scholarships can boost app downloads and conversions.

The easiest way to connect with customers is via an app or an email subscription list. For example, if you are a software company, having applicants download the app as part of their application process. Offering a scholarship can help increase those downloads and conversions.

There are around 20 million college students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in the United States. While it is unrealistic to expect to contact everyone, it IS reasonable to expect that hundreds or even thousands of students will apply. That implies a lot of potential consumers.

Person showcasing their skills with sports.

Brand scholarships can generate product feedback.

Offering people a chance at early content has always been an easy way to get feedback on a product before the launch. Offering a scholarship can provide students with a unique opportunity to access a product while providing your company valuable feedback.

Because a scholarship is a reward within itself, this tactic can help save you money in the long run.

Brand scholarships can function as a graduate recruiting program.

Offering a scholarship is like investing in your future employees. However, this is a great way to help find, support, and source prospective employees.

Every company needs a way to find promising young talent. Offering scholarships to talented students from a young age is an excellent method for businesses to link and develop relationships with them.

Businesses may customize their scholarship plans to meet their own requirements and discover future graduates with skills that are a good fit for their organizations.

Because businesses also have a unique opportunity and can choose to partner with specific universities to establish a relationship with related departments.

Natural Cravings offers its employees a full scholarship opportunity if they work with the company for longer than a year.

Scholarship Resources

If you are looking to further your education or an employer looking to support your employee's education, here are some resources to get you started.

Scholarship Options

When it comes to scholarships, the options are almost endless.

Because there are a variety of different options for scholarships, such as the left-handed scholarship or scholarship opportunities for moms, so it can quickly become overwhelming on how you should begin applying.

There are actually around seven different categories that scholarships fall into, so this would be an easy place to start narrowing down your search.

  • Academic scholarships are perfect for students that have exceeded requirements on standardized tests.
  • Community service scholarships are offered to top students who are actively volunteering in their communities. Not all locations have these, but it is worth checking into.
  • Athletic scholarships help those with a talent in sports pursue their education.
  • Scholarships for hobbies and extracurriculars. Because schools often showcase a variety of talents, some scholarships are offered to specific pursuits.
  • Scholarships that are based on the applicants' identities. This includes the left-hander scholarship that we talked about earlier. However, this can also be more specific such as the Hispanic Scholarship Fund's awards that are open for any Hispanic heritage student.

Pro Tip: Students may search for scholarships that are a good fit by indicating their gender, race, ethnicity, or other aspects of their identity.

  • Need-based scholarships like the Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund helps students that suit the goals of the funder. However, this may include living in a specific community or pursuing specific subjects.
  • Employer scholarships and military scholarships are exactly what Natural Cravings is offering their employees. Because these scholarships help further educate those who work in these companies, many businesses are beginning to offer scholarships.

As you can see, there are many different options when it comes to funding your college education or guiding your employees down the right path.

Tips for getting scholarships

Now more than ever, it is critical that you stand out in your submission for scholarships. Here are some top tips to help you stand out against the crowd.

A sign with directions from data to information to knowledge.

Stay local (at first). Reaching out to local businesses or schools that may offer scholarships is the perfect place to start. Local companies are also more likely to have fewer submissions and give you a home-field advantage.

Find what makes you unique. Using your experiences can showcase your value and help you stand out, make the most of your uniqueness.

Stick with it. Do not give up after you hear your first no. The worst thing you can do is stop applying for scholarships after a few rejections; if you genuinely want the scholarship, you should keep trying until something sticks!

Try to choose similar scholarships. Sticking with the same type can help you minimize your efforts. Pretty much, you wouldn't have to re-write full essays if they are all about the same topic and would require minimal editing.

Have an editor. Because we all get used to our own work (I'm sure there are some things in this article that could use some fixing.), having a second set of eyes can help minimize any problems.

Try for everything. There are no limits to how many scholarships you can apply for. Even if they are small, those amounts can quickly add up. Even just $50 each semester can help pay for gas or supplies, or even coffee.

Reapply to semester available resources. Some scholarships come up each semester. Even if you have already applied, take advantage of the opportunity and apply every time.

Have a positive online presence. Make sure to update your LinkedIn profile. Or have a blog that is active to help reviewers see what kind of a person you are.

Plan your letters of recommendation. Before you even start applying for scholarships, you should make sure to have three or four letters of recommendation ready.

Grants

Grants are similar to scholarships. However, there is much more variety and typically fewer standards that you need. Grant writing is a little more complex, but the payoff can be much better.

However, keep in mind that sometimes grants do have restrictions on what you can use the money for. But all of that would be spelled out in the grant brief.

Resources for starting a scholarship program

As an employer, you might want to start offering scholarships as an incentive to your own employees, but getting started can seem almost as overwhelming as trying to apply for scholarships. Here are just a few resources that can help you get started.

The IRS of the United States offers some insight on how to start.

However, you can also find more information through other resources such as webinars, meetings, or annual conferences.

FinAid.org on Scholarship Program Design can also offer some fascinating insight into setting up your own brand scholarship.

A business person with a tablet reaching worldwide.

Do you need to start a nonprofit organization to give scholarships for higher education?

No. That's the beautiful thing about it. Your business would need nothing more or different to start up its very own brand scholarship.

However, suppose for tax reasons you decide that you need to create a nonprofit for your scholarships. In that case, it may help if you establish a program that is implemented by someone else, like a college or community foundation, rather than create a nonprofit solely for scholarships.

What to do after you start a scholarship?

The following pointers and suggestions provide a quick reference guide of some of the most important things to consider while operating a successful scholarship program.

  • Establish Award Constituency
  • Establish Scholarship Funding Source
  • Map out eligibility criteria for the scholarship
  • Have a communication plan that connects you with potential applicants
  • Create an application for the scholarship
  • Define the requirements and the selection process
  • Outline and define a timeline
  • Consider academic calendar, financial aid process, tuition due dates, etc.
  • Pinpoint an awarding process

Is there a document that outlines the rules and regulations of creating a scholarship fund?

No binding document lays out the laws and standards for scholarships because they differ by state, university, and scholarship provider. A single government body does not govern scholarships; each scholarship program has its own set of rules and regulations, which you can check with the IRS for more information.

Conclusion

Offering your employees scholarships can be rewarding to both them and your company. Because they are an opportunity for the employees to boost their education, your business will be rewarded with a more skilled workforce.

Scholarships can also help you build relationships with current employees and attract top talent in the future.

Natural Cravings believes in giving people a chance. That is why they offer scholarships to their employees after a year of service.