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Best Practices for Sharing Social Impact Statistics from your Scholarship Program

Better application management of scholarships, grants, awards, and more.

Best Practices for Sharing Social Impact Statistics from your Scholarship Program

For some scholarship program managers, they are expected to share social impact statistics from their programs with their donors and sponsors. This is because when a strategic partner or donor gives money to a scholarship, they usually want certain assurances their money was spent in the way they intended. 

Put another way, they want to know exactly who they helped. Using scholarship management software you can stack the deck to ensure that only your ideal candidates are applying and being selected for your awards.

What Is Social Impact?

The first step in sharing your social impact statistics from your scholarship program is to understand exactly what social impact means. According to the Centre for Social Impact, “Social impact can be defined as the net effect of an activity on a community and the well-being of individuals and families.” The goal is to understand the positive social change that results from an action or project by an individual or group within a community.

An example of a social impact statistic that could be directly related to your scholarship program may look something like this:

59% of applicants for the Off to College scholarship were of Latino/Hispanic descent
64% of candidates who applied to the Learn. Grow. Work. fund had an annual income below the poverty line
75% of prizes awarded in the Aspire to Be Hired Scholarship went to African American applicants

Indirect social impact statistics may look something like this:

Local colleges saw a 107% increase in Latino/Hispanic applications in the inaugural year of the Off to College Scholarship program or
The State University had a 45% increase in enrollment in American Indians in the second year of the Learn. Grow. Work. fund

How to Determine Your Social Impact Statistics


Before you can properly share your direct and/or indirect social impact statistics, you must first gather information on the current state of affairs. If your goal is to have an impact on a specific city or state, you’ll need to gather data such as socioeconomic figures and current enrollment numbers of local colleges. Having base facts and figures will help you to determine if you have in fact, made an impact.

It’s important to note however, that it may be difficult to determine your direct social impact on larger communities. This is especially true if your scholarship is available to candidates nationwide. Because of this, focusing more on the people that applied for your scholarship will most likely give you better information related to your direct social impact.

Therefore, if your main goal is to help people below the poverty line fund their educational aspirations or give money to a specific ethnic group, it’s best to hone in on numbers directly related to those goals. For example:

  • Income levels of applicants and/or award recipients or
  • Ethnicity of applicants and/or award recipients

In the first year of your scholarship, you likely won’t have a baseline to compare your numbers to. However, you can share with your donors/sponsors the facts and figures you can collect from the initial round. Then, in subsequent years of your scholarship program you can show the growth (or decline) in the number of candidates who met your qualifications and applied, and break your statistics down by income level. For example:

In 2019 we had 1,972 applicants apply for the Take Me To School Scholarship. The median household income of applicants was $48,503. 38% of applicants were at the nationwide poverty threshold. 14% of applicants were below the nationwide poverty threshold. Our tuition assistance programs gave away $250,000 to 50 award recipients, and the average award was $4,500.

In 2020 we had 3,784 applicants apply for the Take Me To School Scholarship resulting in a 92% increase compared with 2019. The median household income of applicants was $33,174. 56% of applicants were at the nationwide poverty threshold. 22% of applicants were below the nationwide poverty threshold. Our tuition assistance programs gave away $1.2 million in scholarship funds to 285 award recipients, and the average award was $4,000.

Using scholarship management software, you can use qualifiers to target specific groups for your program. Therefore, if you don’t want anyone with an income level higher than $50,000 per year, you can add pre-qualification parameters that will prevent unqualified individuals from filling out the form in the first place.

Furthermore, if you have additional markers you would like to see from specific applicants, you can add those pre-qualifiers into your scholarship application software as well to improve your pool of candidates. Simple steps like this will help ensure that the award recipients your committee, and your sponsors, want to be chosen are the most likely to receive the funds.

Reporting Your Findings to Your Committee and Donors

You’ve gathered all the facts, now it’s time to report your findings to your committee and donors. To begin, open your report with what your goals were for this round of your scholarship program. Then, move into an explanation of how you used application management software to attract the ideal candidates to achieve these goals.

Share any statistics you have related to your goals, and whether you achieved, surpassed, or didn’t meet the numbers you were hoping to. Use a combination of visual graphs and text to make your findings clear.


It’s also a good idea to include the names of the candidates who were selected, and where appropriate what markers about them met the social impact goals of the campaign. You may also want to share ideas for how to improve the candidate pool and/or increase your social impact statistics for the next round.

Finally, invite your committee and donors to submit feedback and ideas for what they would like to do for the next round to achieve the scholarship’s social impact goals.

Achieve Your Social Impact Goals with SmarterSelect’s Application Management System

Using scholarship management software makes it easier for program managers to achieve social impact goals. With pre-qualification questions, filters, and automatic scoring, you can whittle your pool of candidates down to the cream of the crop. Learn more about what SmarterSelect can do for your scholarship program. Start your free trial now.

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