A focus on impact stewardship began in 2014 with the first iteration of Gratitude Reports. Scholarship donors of Admissions and Financial Aid funds received a packet of thank you notes from their scholarship’s recipients. If a donor supported multiple funds, the same packet included all thank you notes associated with that donor. Since then, with the announcement of the Commit to Georgia campaign in 2016, our scholarship funds have grown in investment and in number. We now offer gratitude reports for all centrally-awarded funds and for some departmental awards if the development office in the unit wants to participate.
University-wide Scholarship Reports
Donor Relations and Stewardship manages the stewardship of all non-departmental scholarship funds (endowed and non-endowed) awarded through Admissions (such as Charter Scholarships), Financial Aid (such as Access Scholarships), and some scholarships awarded by Instruction. Since these scholarships are not awarded by an academic unit, a constituent-based development officer is not always assigned to the donors of these funds. The most effective and efficient form of stewardship for scholarships is providing thank you messages from student recipients. Scholarship Gratitude Reports are personalized for each donor and include thank you messages from the very students benefiting from the donor’s generosity. Like with all impact reports, Scholarship Gratitude Reports reinforce trust that we are spending gifts to scholarships as the donor intended; this trust encourages continued and increased giving. If a donor supports multiple scholarships, all thank you notes collected are included in one mailing.
Scholarship recipients of Admissions funds are contacted during the summer upon their award announcement to request a thank you message, short biography, and photo. The information collected is compiled into a standard format and sent to scholarship donors in their spring Scholarship Gratitude Report.
Financial Aid Scholarships
Scholarship recipients of Financial Aid funds are contacted during the fall semester to complete a release of information and request a thank you message, short biography, and photo. The information collected is compiled into a standard format and sent to scholarship donors in their spring or summer Scholarship Gratitude Report depending on when the student responds to the request.
*In 2018-2019, we were unable to contact need-based scholarship recipients directly due to student information privacy laws.
Departmental Scholarship Reports
Donor Relations and Stewardship began including schools and colleges in Scholarship Gratitude Reports in 2019. The Assistant Director serves as the liaison with Financial aid, coordinates a Qualtrics survey that collects the privacy release and thank you note, compiles information with our fundraising software (GAIL), and works with the printing company to print and mail the reports. The responsibility of awarding departmental scholarships–and reaching out to students to request thank you notes–remains with unit-based stewardship coordinators. Including schools and colleges in our Scholarship Gratitude Reports strengthens accountability to award and steward donors annually campus-wide. In addition, donors with multiple scholarships that impact several units are seeing a more holistic approach to their communication from UGA.
Scholarship Gratitude Reports began in 2014. Departmental scholarships were included in Gratitude Reports in 2019.