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!




  • Hi Kasey,

    We have both on our scholarship application. Our CSM worked with us to change the Prefix (Mr. Mrs. etc.) field to instead ask for "Pronouns (Examples: she/hers, he/him, they/them, she/they)" on the user registration page. The field is optional, so applicants can choose to share or not. We also have a question regarding gender within our application form because some of the requirements of some of our scholarship funds. After many, many revisions, our current question looks like this:

    Gender: I identify as...

    A woman 

    A man 

    Another gender 

    Prefer not to answer 

    Our last season was the first time we had both and we have been happy with it so far!

    Good luck,

    Elena Keltz

  • Kasey,

    Here's a resource from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation that I often refer other grant and scholarship administrators to. It has some great examples on how to ask for demographic information, including gender identity. I think the key points are being transparent about why you're collecting this data, what it will be used for, and who will see it. I highly recommend using the "Applicant" visibility option on questions like gender, race, etc. This allows applicants to respond and administrators to see the answer, but will prevent evaluators from seeing information that isn't relevant to their assessment of applicants.

    LaurieAbildsoKaseyRouseKaraAdams[Deleted User]
  • @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 5 Likes First Anniversary
    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,


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