We’ve all been there – filling out that never-ending application. Whether for grants, scholarships, or any other program, applications can become long and tedious.
In a recent survey conducted with SurveyMonkey Audience, we found that 50% of post-secondary students had, at some point, abandoned an in-progress scholarship application due to overly complex and time-consuming requirements.
And according to a report published by Project Streamline, non-profit organizations are increasingly frustrated by the burdensome process of applying for grants.
What does that mean for you?
If you’re managing an application process, it’s crucial to structure requirements with applicants’ time-sensitivity in mind.
Let’s outline 4 easy-to-implement best practices that’ll help you reduce applicant fatigue and ensure that your application process is straightforward and quick to complete.
1. Use an eligibility quiz
We’ve covered the importance of eligibility quizzes before, but it’s important to underscore their value. If applicants don’t qualify for your program, they want to be told as soon as possible. Nobody wants to spend time filling out an application that isn’t going to be accepted.
With an eligibility quiz, you can ask questions to determine whether an applicant meets you basic requirements up front, before allowing them to continue with a full application. If they’re deemed ineligible, you can screen them out early.
2. Break your application into stages
Instead of asking applicants to complete your entire application at once, structure your process with multiple stages and escalating requirements. Breaking down your process into stages makes it more digestible.
Within each stage, only ask for the information you need to make a decision on whether that applicant should advance to the next stage.
For example, in your first stage, include your eligibility quiz to determine if applicants meet basic requirements. If they do, move them to a second stage to complete an application form. Then, in a third stage, ask for supporting documents like reference letters.
3. Use smart forms with logic
Online application forms have made it easier for applicants to submit information, but few organizations are taking full advantage of smart forms. Most application forms still present applicants with every single question, requiring them to skip those that aren’t applicable.
Smart forms with branching logic allow you to dynamically show and hide questions to specific applicants based on their answers to previous questions – ensuring that every question you ask is relevant.
For example, if an applicant indicates that they’ve received funding in the last six months, you can display a follow-up question asking them to indicate the amount they received. If they indicate that they haven’t received any funding, you can automatically hide the follow-up.
4. Enable applicants to save in-progress applications
It’s not always possible to complete an entire application in one-sitting, and there’s nothing more frustrating than having to restart an application form after you’ve already completed half of it. Today’s applicants expect to be able to save their applications in-progress.
Luckily, many application management tools allow applicants to save their applications. With SurveyMonkey Apply, applicants don’t even have to click a button. All entered information is automatically saved, giving applicants the confidence they need to complete tasks at their own pace.
To begin implementing these tips into your process, get in touch by filling out the form below!