Scholarship event activity?

DaraGannonDaraGannon Posts: 29 ✭✭✭
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edited June 2022 in Grants & Scholarships

Hi everyone!

We are bringing back our scholarship event this summer after a two year hiatus. In the past we have called each recipient up to the front and handed them a certificate, similar to a graduation. This year, we are hoping to make it less formal and more fun, providing time for the students, donors, and committee members to meet and mingle.

Anyone have ideas for activities/ice breakers to facilitate engagement between donors and recipients? We are planning for about 40 minutes of open time and want to prompt meaningful discussion with attendees.

Thank you in advance!



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    @DaraGannon - I once attended a networking event where, instead of asking people to "break into small groups", they asked everyone to either moo like a cow, cluck like a chicken or oink like a pig. You had to find your fellow animals, and those became your groups. This wouldn't work for all audiences (younger folks love it), but hearing the room break out into farm animal noises was very entertaining!

    Kara Adams, M.Ed., CAE (she/her/hers)|Community Manager|kara.adams@foundant.com

    Headquartered: Bozeman, MT| Remote Location: Chicago, IL | Direct: 312-802-1374 |www.foundant.com|

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    LesliePetersenLesliePetersen Posts: 4 ✭✭
    First Compass Anniversary Photogenic Summit 2022 CSuite
    edited June 2022

    Hi @DaraGannon,

    We used to do something similar with our scholarship reception. Our scholarship program has grown so much, we needed to change something anyway- it was taking way to much time. We skipped 2020 due to Covid, but changed up the format in 2021.

    First we moved the reception to an outside covered facility and moved it from a weeknight to a Sunday afternoon. Then we split it into two smaller events almost back to back. And by moving to a Sunday afternoon, we eliminated a meal time event and just had cookies made with our logo individually wrapped at each seat. These were all initially to help mitigate Covid risks somewhat. But we liked it, so we kept that format this year as well.

    We always try to sit the scholarship winners near or with the donors so they can have time to visit. Instead of calling them up to get a certificate, take photos, etc, we just asked them to stand as their names were called. It made the process a LOT faster. We used to have a speaker for about 5-10 minutes, but we cut that as well. By reducing the time of the "program" we were able to give the donors/kids/parents more time to visit at their tables. We handed them their letters of instructions on what to do to receive their scholarship (fill out post acceptance online, etc.) when they arrived and picked up their nametags.

    Each event took less than an hour. However, this year, it has been crazy hot already in Texas. So it was very hot at the receptions! We agreed next year to either move them back indoors or change it up again. Our scholarship process always seems to have a very tight timeline and it is hard for us to get everything needed completed by our usual reception time. We've always done it in May, but we heard from several parents in attendance and those that could not attend - there just is not a good day/time in May for Seniors. They have something to go to every night (sports, graduation, etc.). So we think next year we might try to just have the donors and students (and parents if they want) come to our office on some afternoons to meet and visit. It would probably be just 1-2 donors and their students (depending on how many scholarships they award) at a time.

    Hope that helps! I would love to hear what other CF's do!

    Leslie Petersen

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