Sponsoring a local scholarship for a graduating high school seniors is great way to do good and also get some positive notice for your company. Your local high schools are usually eager to work with you. The college guidance office is often the place to start.
Before contacting the school think about the following
- Money – how much do you want to give each year?
- Define local – it is simplest to work with one local high school. In our case we wanted to reach a broader area so we work with three different high schools. Rather than deal with the complications of working with different institutions, we rotate the scholarship among the schools, offering it at each school once every three years.
- What area of study or activity do you want to promote. NJ MET is an electronic component testing company so it makes sense to for us to give the scholarship to a student who excels in STEM (Science, Math, Engineering and Technology) and will be pursuing a college degree in a STEM field.
- Who is eligible – is this only for graduates going to college? Are technical schools also included?
- How involved do you want to be in choosing the winner? Perhaps you want the school to handle the entire process of choosing a winner. Or maybe you want to establish an essay content and you choose the winner in cooperation with the school. Keep in mind that essay contents take time, you have to read all of them and create a rubric for rating them. Essays also take time for the applicants. If you create a scholarship with a complicated essay and a low dollar amount, you will likely not attract many candidates.
- Do you want to create a photo opportunity of you presenting the award to the winner? The photo helps gain exposure if local publications list the awardee.
If you want to take the cost of the scholarship as a deduction, consult your accountant or tax lawyer for advice.