DoSomething.org is on a mission to inspire young people to participate in their communities, give back and ultimately make a difference.
In addition to helping students, the organization hosts about 25 scholarships a year. Marissa, who does marketing for the organization offers advice to students working to be great applicants.
“It really comes down to the right intentions,” she said. “We want … to get young people excited to be agents of change. I would say that … the best way to not just win the scholarship but to be a leader in your community and a great volunteer is to just have the right intentions… We want people who want to make a change.”
DoSomething.org hosts three to five different campaigns with scholarships every month, and participating generally consists of four steps:
After completing all the steps, applicants are entered to win the scholarship.
“We look at all the people who have made it to that next level – the final round – and then we randomly select within that group of people one scholarship recipient,” Marissa said.
The goal of randomizing the selection is to even the playing field allowing students who have communities and families with less resources to fairly compete with individuals that come from areas that have more volunteering opportunities and participation.
“We didn’t want to pick the person who always just had the highest impact,” she said. “We do weight the finalists. It is true the more action you do … The greater likelihood you will be selected, but at the end of the day we are still selecting from the top tier of performers. Nothing is guaranteed, but that is how we decided to work our scholarship process.”
It is important to first sign up, and then complete all the steps in order to be eligible.
Marissa urges students to volunteer for more than just access to funding for higher education, because the work helps
“Paying for college or paying for education is the biggest pain point for young people, and we do want to address that … but it is not the end all be all,” she said. “Here at DoSomething, we really believe that volunteering helps in learning empathy, and being more aware of other people and other situations that you might not be interacting with on a day to day basis.”
Marissa said volunteering opens up doors even more so than a $5,000 scholarships.
Resources to get started: