In any application and review process, effective communication between applicants and program administrators is critical. As an applicant, nothing is more frustrating than submitting an application and not hearing anything back.
Whether you’re collecting applications for grants, scholarships, fellowships, or any other program, applicants want, and deserve, frequent updates.
Why is email communication important?
From an applicant’s perspective, it’s discouraging and confusing to feel like you’ve been forgotten about or not know what your next steps are.
Applicants deserve an open line of communication and should know the status of their application at all times. Communicating with applicants helps keep them informed, engaged, and ensures that they’re able to complete the application requirements properly and confidently.
On the other hand, a lack of clear communication can result in an increase of support requests, unqualified or improperly completed submissions, and a damaged organizational reputation.
Overcoming a lack of time and resources
While the importance of communication is not lost on many program administrators, one common roadblock often rears its ugly head: a lack of time and resources.
Maintaining proper communication with applicants is a time-intensive job, and many organizations simply don’t have enough capacity.
Luckily, there’s a solution! It’s something we call email automation.
Email automation allows administrators to create and schedule emails that are automatically sent based on a specific event or set of criteria.
With SurveyMonkey Apply, you can create personalized, automated emails that get triggered in a number of different ways – by an upcoming deadline, when an application is received, when a file is uploaded, when an application is approved or denied, and more.
Email automation takes the manual work out of communicating with applicants and ensures that they receive timely and relevant updates as they move through your process.
The 6 emails you should be sending to your applicants
1) The welcome email
When a candidate begins their application, send them a quick hello and let them know that you appreciate and value their time. Remind them about your requirements, instructions and deadlines (link to important resources), and let them know how to get help if they run into problems. A welcome email will get applicants off to a good start and is a small, but always appreciated, gesture.
2) The upcoming deadline email
Send applicants notification emails before all upcoming deadlines and ensure that they’re able to complete their tasks on time. Best practice involves sending an initial reminder email 4-6 days before a deadline, and a second reminder email 1 day before the deadline.
3) The confirmation of receipt email
When an application has been submitted, send the applicant an email to confirm that you’ve received their materials and let them know what their next steps are. A quick note will put their mind at ease, and you won’t have to field a multitude of phone calls and emails from applicants following up about their submission.
4) The status change email
Whenever the status of an application changes, it’s important to send a notification alerting the applicant. If, for example, an application is moved from the first review stage to the second, let the applicant know. With timely updates, applicants won’t be left in the dark and you won’t have to handle disorganized requests for status updates.
5) The disqualified/declined email
As soon as an application has been disqualified or declined, let the applicant know that they have been removed from consideration. It’s a common courtesy that’s often forgotten, but it goes a long way in making applicants feel that their time was valued and presents your organization in the best possible light.
6) The thank you email
After your application cycle has concluded and you’ve selected your successful candidates, send a final thank you email to everyone who applied. Thank them for taking the time to submit an application, recognize your successful applicants, include a link to a feedback survey, and invite them to apply again next year. This is your chance to ensure that everyone involved in your process finishes with a positive impression of your organization.
To learn how you can start including automated emails in your process, get in touch by filling out the form below!