Gender versus Pronouns??

Good afternoon!! I am new to the Foundant /Compass Community, and am looking forward to getting some great feedback!! Reviewing our scholarship application and wondering if everyone is using the term Gender on their applications or using Pronouns instead? What is best practice?

Thank you so much!




  • @ElenaKeltz - this is a great idea! I like the idea of having this on the registration page - so there is the opportunity to share or not. And then having the additional question about gender, we too have some scholarships with certain requirements. Thank you for this information - this has been so helpful!!


  • @DanaBerggren - thank you so much for this resource! I agree with the applicant knowing exactly why, what and who will be using and seeing their information. This is a great guide!! Thank you again!


  • We stopped using prefixes a few years ago and use first name for salutation. Our gender question is also on the profile as gender is a qualifier for some opportunities. We ask as follows:

    You may qualify for certain scholarships based on your gender. Please select from the list below. This is an optional question. If you do not respond, you will not be eligible for the scholarships that have eligibility criteria based upon gender. You can select as many options as apply to you. 





    Gender Non-Conforming

    Something else

    Do not wish to specify

  • Hi all,

    I am late to this discussion, but for our 2021 application, we asked students, "In your own words, what is your gender identity?" Previously, we used female, male, and nonbinary, but there are students who don't feel that any of these three truly describe them. We wanted to make our application as welcoming as possible, so letting students use their own words seemed best. I think we will use this again for our next scholarship cycle.


  • Hi all,

    We used to ask for students to self identify their gender. We now ask that they self-identify their preferred pronouns. Instead of asking "other" we provide a selection named "let me tell you" where they can provide their preference. The gender list was starting to become quite long so the preferred pronouns seemed to make the most sense to us. In the Philanthropy Northwest Conference a week or so ago, it was shared that we will never get an A+ for DEI data and that it is always changing. Just start with the "Why" you need it, be transparent and just ask. :)

    Stefanie O'Brien

    Senior Program Officer of Grants & Scholarships

    Alaska Community Foundation

    [email protected]

  • DanielleFleerDanielleFleer
    Groundbreaker 25 Likes Photogenic First Answer
    edited October 2021

    @StefanieOBrien , I like this idea. We may consider this instead of the open-ended gender identity. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Hi @DanielleFleer and @StefanieOBrien .. I really like both of your ideas, but I have quite a few scholarships that have specific gender requirements. We want to be as welcoming as we can, but still need to gather the correct information without causing either list to be too long with choices. Thank you both for the comments and this helps so much!

    Thank you,


  • Hi there,

    I am curious what you decided to do?! We too have gender specific scholarships and we ask that information up front. I have thought about asking "what gender do you self identify with" or since a few of our scholarships are specifically for women, asking "do you identify as a female?".

    I was taking a survey the other day and it asked "what was your gender assignment at birth". It took me back a little because I wanted to know why that mattered? I do think this may be a great conversation with a local LGBTQ+ organization.

    Interesting thread! :)


  • Hi Stefanie,

    We decided to wait on making any changes on our application this year. After multiple conversations, we decided that we needed to complete some additional research ( including meeting with our local LGBTQ+ organization) on how to appropriately ask this question.

    Good luck with your application. And if you make any changes, please share!!

    Have a great day!


  • Here's what we ended up using this year: What is your gender identity and/or preferred pronouns?

    It seems to be working well!

    Thanks all,


  • That is great Danielle - thank you for sharing!!


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