And the winner is……..
There is no doubt that being nominated for and winning an award can bring a huge boost to your charity, employees, supporters and beneficiaries and open doors for networking and new opportunities. Here are our tips on making the most out of entering awards.
Time and resource
Some award entries take a much greater investment of your time than others, so be selective on what you enter. Read the entry guidance carefully, so you provide the judges with exactly what they are looking for and more importantly so you don’t waste your own time.
Making and submitting an award application can be an opportunity to enable you to look at your charity from a new perspective, to make you think about your strengths and weaknesses and what makes you stand out from others. Awards can help instil the need in a charity to set clear campaign goals and objectives, which can be measured to quantify the return on investment and results.
Entering an award can be a good way to engage across the charity, to work with a particular team or individual to put a spotlight on them and the work they are doing, making them feel motivated, supported, and valued. This can also help with recruitment in the future as candidates are more likely to be attracted to an award-winning organisation.
Free PR and marketing
Being shortlisted for an award gives you the opportunity to use the news for your own free PR and marketing and can help raise awareness of your charity brand, work, key team members and introduce you to a range of new audiences and potential partners and donors.
Being nominated for and winning an award can give you important third party endorsement and some awards also have a real kudos attached to them, showing your charity is working to and meeting a high standard.
So which award should you enter? Choose wisely as there are a lot out there and some have costs associated with them. It isn’t just the investment in time to enter the award. Some charge an entry fee and others may have a glitzy award ceremony which you need to pay to attend. While these can provide a useful networking opportunity, they can also send out the wrong signal, especially at a time when charity resources are stretched and many people are struggling with the basic costs of living. Ask the organisers for a free place or a charity discount.
As well as those awards focused on the charity sector, look at those in your wider local business community, for example many local chambers of commerce have an annual awards programme.
Also consider those awards that value and recognise community involvement or project leadership, rising stars, and outstanding contributions. Some awards may focus on a particular aspect of a campaign and its implementation. That could be the communications of it, the use of technology or more general innovation used to deliver it and achieve results.
Don’t forget to thank some of your most avid supporters for the role they play in your success. You can nominate people via the official honours system (for free) for the work that they do in supporting your organisation.
Finally, why not consider holding your own ‘awards ceremony’ to thank your staff, volunteers, beneficiaries, and the others who work with you day after day, to help deliver your charitable objectives and use the opportunity to remind people what you have all achieved together.
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