So, you’ve decided you want to start a scholarship. We might be biased, but we think that is the best way to put your extra dollars to good use. Now that you’ve made your decision, you might not be sure of exactly what step to take next. Fear not – we’ve got a guide that will ensure you’re on track to launching a successful scholarship!

1. Eligibility – tell me what you want, what you really really want

First, who do you actually want to give your scholarship money to? Do you believe that we will all be living on another planet in 50 years? Create a scholarship for students passionate about space so that you can ensure the quality of life on Mars is up to your standard. Or, maybe you are proud of your hometown and thrilled with the life you’ve achieved – give a student with a similar background the future he or she is dreaming of. Whatever it is, decide who is eligible for your scholarship and list any eligibility criteria that is important to you.

Things to consider:

  • GPA
  • Level of school – High school? College?
  • Volunteer work
  • Interests or intended majors
  • Hometown or location of school
  • Financial need

2. Funding – if I had a million dollars, well I’d buy you an exotic pet 

Great, you’ve established the criteria for your scholarship and you can envision all of the amazing things your future scholarship recipients will do. Next, there is one thing you must do – ensure your funding is set up for success. The cost of creating a scholarship goes beyond just the award itself, you must also consider the cost of managing your scholarship – for example, websites, management services, and administration.

3. IRS compliance – if you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat

We know that absolutely no one in this world wants to talk about the IRS, not even your tax advisor, but to start a scholarship and ensure it is set up for success, we must. The IRS requires specific conditions and procedures to ensure your grant is tax exempt. We won’t bore you with the details, but you can find all info here.

4. Launch your scholarship! – The green light flashes, the flags go up

You’ve determined your criteria, you found the funding, you made sure you’re IRS compliant – it’s go time! Your scholarship is live and ready for applicants. Things to think about: How will you market your program? How many applicants do you want?

Kaleidoscope Hot Tip: Every student who applies to a scholarship on the Kaleidoscope has a cloud-based profile automatically created for them, making it easier to apply to more scholarship and fund more of their education.

5. Decision making – but I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

Once you’ve closed the window for accepting college applications, it’s time to select the winner(s). Who is making the decision? Is it you, a team of people, or a specific review board? If more than one person is part of making the decision, be sure to outline the process. Will you be (e)mailing packets or assembling everyone in person?

Kaleidoscope Hot Tip: With our platform, every member of your review board, whether it’s 1 or 50 people, receives a unique login to review all applications that have been pre-filtered to ensure each applicant meets your requirements. As a result, the reviewer can take the time to evaluate every candidate at any time or in any location. To learn more, check out our full post about the review board process.

6. Winner, winner! – All I do is win, win, win no matter what

Congrats – you made it through the first cycle of scholarship! It’s time to alert your recipient(s) and disburse your funds. See – it isn’t too hard to start a scholarship!

Interested in working with Kaleidoscope to start a scholarship program? We would love to chat with you and help you begin.

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