As a donor or foundation that offers financial scholarships to students, you have two main goals: getting the necessary attention from social media, universities, or the press and getting as many high-quality applicants as possible. The issue is that many donors or foundations don’t promote themselves. We now live in a highly digital world saturated with competition. So, although it takes time and money to launch and market a scholarship, knowing the proper channels to use and audiences to target will help your promotion efforts significantly. 

Any business that plans on getting the word out about their product or service will, without a doubt, have to use social media. To stand out in this market, being familiar with and informed on the latest social media trends will allow your product or service to stand out from others. The same concept applies to donors and foundations that offer scholarships. To reach your intended audience (parents, counselors, and students), you need to be aware of different social media platforms, how they work, and how to use them for marketing your scholarships effectively. 

So, what’s the best way to go about it? As mentioned above, you’re marketing scholarships to parents, counselors, and students — all of which are different consumers with different ages and interests. Therefore, to market your scholarships effectively, you must have a strategy that reaches each of these groups. 


Marketing to Parents 

If you want to reach high school students effectively, you can’t forget to get through to the parents first. After all, what parent doesn’t want to save money for their child’s college education? 

When it comes to marketing to parents, you have to consider their age, generation, interests, etc., to know which social media platform suits them best. In this case, Facebook is the best platform to reach parents of high school students. 

Facebook is the oldest social media platform, and it has a large demographic of older adults. According to the Pew Research Center, 37% of the “Silent” generation, born before 1945, are now on Facebook, compared to 21% in 2012. In addition, Baby Boomers are also increasingly on Facebook: 43% were on in 2012, whereas 60% had accounts in 2019. So what does this mean for donors and foundations? 

Well, Facebook gets most of its money from advertising. In Q2 of 2020, Facebook had a staggering nine million active advertisers and claimed that mobile accounted for 92% of its total revenue. On the same note, links were the most commonly used content type for brands, coming in at 44.2%.

Now, to market your scholarship, it’s more than just creating a post, dropping a link, and calling it a day. Again, the social media market is highly saturated and competitive; therefore, you’re going to need to do a little more. As mentioned in the intro, it takes some money to promote a scholarship. Luckily, Facebook comes in handy to help you reach the audience that you want, which in this case, are parents. 

To reach parents, you’ll need to spend money on sponsored ads. But don’t fret, Facebook is the king of advertising, so the platform has the tools you need to help. Thanks to Facebook’s advanced targeting mechanism, you can choose the core audiences you want to reach. So, say you have a scholarship that you want to promote. With Facebook’s ad targeting, you can choose: 

  • Location 
  • Demographics (age, gender, education, job title, etc.)
  • Behavior
  • Connections
  • Interests/hobbies

Even further, you can choose to retarget custom audiences that have engaged with your brand previously or lookalike audiences whose interests are similar to those that you’re looking for. 

Once you get the hang of Facebook advertising, you’ll be able to reach parents quickly and effectively. 


Marketing to High School Counselors 

High school counselors have the role of helping high school students succeed in school and plan their careers while shepherding students through the college application process. In addition, they have an instrumental role and influence on their high school students, so if you want to market your scholarships, it’s essential to reach them as well. 

The best platform to market to high school counselors is Instagram, the second-largest network after Facebook. Since Facebook owns Instagram, Facebook and Instagram share the same ad platform, presenting many cross-promotional opportunities. For example, when you promote your scholarships on Facebook, you can then push those same ads to Instagram, reaching even more people that you couldn’t reach on Facebook alone. According to Sprout Social, higher education has the highest engagement rate among most industries, at 3.57%, followed by sports teams (2.33%) and nonprofits (1.75%). 

Since your goal is to attract high school counselors and drive traffic to your website, you can create a single photo ad with a strong call to action. First, create an engaging description to pique the interest of your intended audience. Then, like Facebook, you can use a few different tools, such as Ads Manager, Power Editor, and Facebook Ads API. Through these tools, you can determine your objective, choose your audience based on demographics, set your placement, make your budget and schedule, decide how you want your ad to look, and build your page and links. 


Marketing to Students

When it comes to high school students, we know they’re a part of a different generation, one that’s the most active on social media. Marketing to high school students is the easiest of the three audiences because they’re easily impressionable and spend more time online. Therefore, the best platform to market to them is Snapchat. Now, you might be thinking, “What about TikTok?” Although TikTok has risen in popularity, U.S. teens still prefer Snapchat over TikTok, with 34% of teenage users describing it as their preferred platform. 

To market effectively on Snapchat, donors and foundations can use Snapchat’s Instant Create or Advanced Create within its Ads Manager. Instant Create allows you to create a single ad quickly — in less than five minutes. Advanced Create allows complete control over your ads, giving you the ability to create multiple ad sets for your ad campaign. 

Say you want to use Instant Create. You can follow a simple process to create your ad: 

  1. Choose your objective. For promoting scholarships, you would pick “website visits.”
  2. Design your ad. Here, you can input the brand name, headlines, call to action, caption, and logo. 
  3. Choose your targeting, budget, and duration. Here is where you can choose your target demographic: men and women aged between 16-19. 
  4. Add in your payment details. 
  5. Publish your ad. 



We know that it can be challenging to get your scholarship in front of the people you want to reach. But, by using social media platforms and the different advertising tools they offer, you can become more effective in marketing your scholarships to high school students, parents, and high school counselors. For more information on how you can improve your scholarship process, click here.

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