Pepperdine has many pieces of technology involved in scholarship awarding, including Raisers Edge, Finance, Financial Aid, and Student Thank-You Letters. The amount of time to collect all this information for one school’s awards and to prepare the annual donor reports was inefficient at best, and to collect all the information for all 5 of our schools became an annual challenge as I insist on giving 100% accurate information to our donors. We were editing and printing over 2,500 thank you letters, sorting and attaching them to our 2-page annual impact report. The amount of hours spent on an annual impact report was at an all time high with myself being a department of one.
THE ACADEMICWORKS SOLUTION:
When I was introduced to AcademicWorks through our Financial Aid team I was elated to see that one software program would house all the financial and donor data necessary to accurately report all scholarships, internal and external, for all 5 of our schools. Donor Relations is tied to Financial Aid in all of our 5 schools now and as one of the two Engage site managers I have access to all the Financial Aid data at each school. As the Engage site manager I have begun to upload donor information into donor profiles including a pre-approved photo and bio of each donor who receives an annual impact report. At the start of our academic year I upload the scholarship budgets for awarding that are tied to each scholarship fund. This enables me to monitor the awarding process of each fund to insure 100% of the budget is being awarded, with minimal exceptions. As part of the award acceptance process, students upload their thank-you letters including their photo to the Academic Works site.
WHAT THE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE WITH ACADEMICWORKS ENGAGE:
My goal with Engage software is to be fully up and running “live” by spring of 2018. This entails getting all our donor photos and bios uploaded and entering the restrictions for each fund so Financial Aid will be able to better manage the awarding and I the reporting process. One of the greatest features is going to be Raisers Edge uploading every evening with any changes in a donor’s profile.
When this “live” process is complete our fundraisers will be able to meet with a donor, log onto Engage, enter the donor name and instantly pull up their fund data with their iPad or any mobile device; the donor will immediately see their photo, bio, and a description of their fund. With one click they can see their fund balance, book value, fair market value and the number of awards for the academic year. The awarded student’s photo and thank-you letters are also uploaded to the site for the donors to view. This personal touch is what I am most excited about. Although we are not a huge school, we do not have an annual scholarship luncheon, so these personal features bring our donors and students together. In addition to our fundraisers having access to the funds (view only), our donors will be sent a log in to be able to view their fund at anytime. I will be managing the information available for their viewing. The plan is to eliminate all paper reports in the future, but I will be able to print and mail a report for the donors who opt out of the e-version.
SIMPLIFY SCHOLARSHIP MANAGEMENT:
Academic Works Engage is the answer to our scholarship multi data department issues and allows donor relations to move into a technology based system that makes reporting easier, more efficient and has that personal touch we all strive to have with our generous donors.