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How (and Why) You Should Create a Scholarship as a CEO

In today’s job market, prospective employees face stiff competition. Candidates with a strong educational background often have the upper hand. It’s unfortunate then, that the costs of secondary learning can bar talented students from getting the education they deserve. As individuals highly established in their careers, CEOs are in an ideal position to assist those with similar potential. By sponsoring a scholarship, CEOs grant disadvantaged students the same opportunities that they themselves capitalized upon.

 

Scholarships offer support in a variety of ways. As company representatives, CEOs play an active role in the community. Besides demonstrating a company’s commitment to social causes, scholarships can be used to honor local icons known for their dedication to philanthropy, community projects, or any sort of long-term betterment initiative. In fact, memorial scholarships can be established in anyone’s name, including friends, family and loved ones.

In addition, scholarships can serve as means of building a connection between CEOs and promising students. Donors can track students’ achievements as they progress through their studies, opening the door for mentorships and other forms of meaningful interaction. Also important is the fact that many schools rely on private aid for support, and setting up a scholarship is a great way for a CEO to give something tangible back to their alma mater.

Starting a scholarship involves answering several core questions:

 

Who is the target demographic?

Will your scholarship benefit students in a particular area of study, such as the technical fields? Terms of qualification can also be based around general criteria, such as leadership capability. In addition, you’ll have to clarify who is eligible to apply; scholarship programs can be made exclusive to employees’ family members, or residents within a specific location.

 

How will the program be designed/implemented?

You’ll need to determine how many scholarships will be offered per program, as well as whether they will be one-time, or renewable. Also important to work out are application deadlines, a timeline for payment distribution, and how often scholarships are offered. Roles should be designated as to who will create the application template, evaluate submissions, select recipients, and act as a liaison for related questions. Throughout the design process, it’s essential to ensure that your organization has the resources and time to continually coordinate the program and distribute awards. A valid alternative is to hire a third-party scholarship administrator to handle design and distribution.

 

How will the program be funded/budgeted?

When deciding on the value of awards per student, a good general ballpark is anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. The costs don’t end there, however; you’ll likely also have to pay legal and accounting expenses, as well as fees for printing, mailing, and marketing.

 

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Tips for Balancing Business Ownership and Philanthropy (Pt. 2)

 

jason-kulpa-balance

There is no question that philanthropic involvement can be both enriching and beneficial to recipients and benefactors alike. By reaching out to a charitable cause, a business leader can expand his or her presence in the community by forging vital new relationships — all while raising awareness for an issue or bringing attention to an individual or entity in need. Now, perhaps more than ever, businesses have shifted paradigms to include a blend of profit and societal impact.

Still, however, it takes a fair amount of organization and tact to successfully balance business ownership with philanthropy. Speaking from experience in my own philanthropic involvement with UE.co, both endeavors must be handled with care so that they may co-exist in a constructive, successful manner. I recently explored this notion in a previous blog post, but here now are several more considerations to keep in mind as you work to effectively your entrepreneurial and philanthropic lifestyles.

 

Utilize smart marketing

Marketing, in most cases, is a crucial component of any successful business strategy. However, many business leaders fail to leverage marketing for their philanthropic programs. This fact is not surprising, as the promotion of any charitable activity can feel uncomfortable and awkward. After all, you don’t want to come off as self-serving in attempt to serve others.

The key is to exercise your marketing with a steady hand, and this means keeping two important points in mind:

  • A successful philanthropic initiative will serve a charitable purpose, but should not be pursued for selfish financial gain and advertisement alone.

  • In many cases, a corporate philanthropy program must garner a considerable audience in order to endure for years to come.

In other words, your marketing campaign should reflect a balance of modesty and promotion. Look at it this way: your best philanthropic intentions will probably be fully realized if your initiative is given healthy exposure. Tip too far in one direction, however, and you run the risk of dooming your cause in terms of longevity and/or public perception.

 

Never stop networking

Given the growing emphasis on social media and widespread interconnectivity at large, it is no shock that networking has become a clear asset to business professionals worldwide. Still, despite this notion, some businesses find themselves lagging on networking in order to focus on other seemingly more important parts of their daily workload.

Instead, networking should sit at the front of every leader’s mind, and this is especially true of those leaders hoping to expand their presence in the philanthropic community. Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone in meeting new people, establishing new relationships and partnerships, and ultimately laying the roots necessary to bring new and exciting initiatives to fruition. This approach allows for increased efficiency and less redundancy for both organizations and donors alike.

Please follow and like us:

Tips for Balancing Business Ownership and Philanthropy (Pt. 1)

jason-kulpa-philanthropy

There is no question that philanthropic involvement can be both enriching and beneficial to recipients and benefactors alike. By reaching out to a charitable cause, a business leader can expand his or her presence in the community by forging vital new relationships — all while raising awareness for an issue or bringing attention to an individual or entity in need. Now, perhaps more than ever, businesses have shifted paradigms to include a blend of profit and societal impact.

Still, however, it takes a fair amount of organization and tact to successfully balance business ownership with philanthropy. Speaking from experience in my own philanthropic involvement with UE.co, both endeavors must be handled with care so that they may co-exist in a constructive, successful manner.

 

Exercise foresight

It is crucial to have a plan when venturing into business philanthropy; this is common knowledge. Still, though, fallout from ill preparation is an unfortunate commonality, and depending on its severity, it can lead to misconceptions and poor representations that can subsequently create backlash from the public. An aged, yet enduringly relevant observation is that there are two types of philanthropic failure: constructive ones and unconstructive ones. The former refers to failures providing clear evidence as to what went wrong, while the latter results from an inability to “inform future practice.”

By studying high-profile instances of constructive philanthropic failure, we can extract a number of important lessons:

 

  • One must have a strong, or at least working, knowledge his or her chosen cause — not to mention passion. If you truly care about housing the homeless, for example, do not focus on another cause simply because it is convenient or trendy.

 

  • The aforementioned point in mind, a philanthropic initiative should not be driven by marketing performance and public image alone; this is immoral and stands as the antithesis of genuine philanthropy.

 

  • At the same time, a lack of proper knowledge can lead to a breakdown in your philanthropy’s effectiveness, and it can quickly lead to additional problems that knock the wheels of the entire process despite your best intentions.

 

Build lasting relationships

Most successful charitable partnerships yield the potential for a continued working relationship. This longevity can be instrumental in ensuring the success of future initiatives, which in turn can also make the ownership/philanthropy balancing act easier to approach. A philanthropic relationship allows both participating parties to learn about each other in a different way, which can lead to longer standing interaction as a result of mutual loyalty.

Building this trust and intimacy not only aids in the preservation of the cause in question, it can also strengthen employee engagement, build up the brand of both the business and the philanthropic recipient, and ultimately foster a stronger sense of community and cohesion.

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