Personally engaging donors to scholarship funds reinforces to our supporters that their investment is meaningful, appreciated, and being used as promised. Stewarding scholarships is a year-long process, running from the announcement of scholarships in early June through Commencement the following May. Donor Relations and Stewardship fulfills this important stewardship obligation by providing scholarship donors with appropriate recipient information and the opportunity to meet their award winners.
Scholarship Student Privacy Compliance
Due to reinterpretations of the Federal Higher Education Act protecting the privacy of students, scholarship stewardship saw many changes since 2018. Donor Relations works closely with the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) to adhere to legal and ethical personal information processes while advocating for the need to report to donors. Donors may hear from their recipients, but this cannot be guaranteed. We make every effort to obtain thank you messages but students have their right to remain anonymous. We cannot require them to participate in thanking their scholarship benefactor.
Enhanced Stewardship for Select Donors & Programs
Some donors like to meet their scholarship recipients on occasion, and some have established traditions with meeting their scholarship students every year. Donor Relations and Stewardship facilitates this type of engagement by providing logistical support for personalized recipient-donor meetings (in-person and virtual) We currently provide this type of stewardship in the following ways:
Annual Scholarship Luncheons
Donor Relations and Stewardship hosts the George W. Woodruff Scholarship Luncheon every spring to steward Missie Pierce, granddaughter of George Woodruff, and her husband Bill. After several years hiatus, this luncheon was revived in 2014 with the hire of a stewardship coordinator dedicated to scholarships. Bringing this luncheon back to life revived Missie’s relationship with UGA, and in 2018, a lifetime impact book celebrating the 30th anniversary for the scholarship enhanced this annual event to something more milestone-worthy. Crawford Scholars, Ed Hoard First Tee Scholars, and other centrally awarded scholarship donors have enjoyed this type of event as well.
Other Individualized Stewardship as Needed
We continue to make efforts to focus on individualized stewardship plans for top scholarship donors. As part of this effort, we also plan face-to-face stewardship visits with select scholarship donors, video interviews of scholarship recipients, and virtual events for donors with multiple scholarship recipients to their fund.
Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program Stewardship
Beginning in 2018, Georgia Commitment Scholarships (GCS) are stewarded by the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations. GCS donors also receive Scholarship Gratitude Reports, Financial Endowment Reports, and blanket stewardship for all endowment representatives or donors of their annual and lifetime giving level.
The Assistant Director of Scholarship Stewardship was hired in 2014, increasing systematic enhanced stewardship.