Always Improving: Scholarship Committees Review Electronically

scholarshipsThe Midland Area Community Foundation has improved the annual scholarship process for scholarship review committees.  After testing the process for two years with a couple of individual scholarships, the Foundation rolled out a full electronic review process this year. The electronic process allows scholarship committee members to read applications online and comment on specific applicants in a way that other committee members can see.   With nearly 300 scholarship committee members and 300 scholarship applicants, the process of implementing new software for applicant review was started before scholarships were even launched in 2011.

The Foundation spent several months working with a software vendor to ensure that the application review could be streamlined into the existing process of applying online.  Add time for testing and re-testing and finally, the review process was ready to go. Starting in late March reviewers were able to log in and review the applicants online.  Two training dates were scheduled for those who wished for additional instruction. “This is a big change for our reviewers,” commented Jan McGuire, President and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation.  “The whole group of committee members has been incredibly willing to try this and inform us of any improvements we might make to the process in the future. This is a vast improvement in both efficiency and convenience over the way we used to do it.”  The new process saves the printing of applications on paper which totaled more than ten cases of paper each year.

When asked about his experience, Sheriff Jerry Nielsen commented, “ I have enjoyed being on the Shailer Bass Scholarship Committee for the last five years and it is exciting to see the commitment the applicants have to continue their education in order to open up future opportunities.  The electronic review has gone very smoothly and was certainly convenient for reviewing the applications.  It has modernized the process and welcomes communication between committee members in different ways.”