TRANSPARENCY OF THE SCORING AND SELECTION PROCESS
To maintain your awards program’s integrity, your scoring process must be transparent. Many associations post their points-based scoring system on their website for all to see. Here are two examples:
Post a selection criteria checklist as well. The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) created a checklist that their chapters now use as a benchmark to establish their yearly goals and strategic priorities.
Review your criteria and scoring system every few years to make sure they still serve the goals of your awards program. Evaluate its fairness. Do criteria favor one type of chapter? For example, small vs. large membership, small vs. large budget, or staff- vs. volunteer-managed?
IMPROVE CHAPTER AWARD PRIZES
Remember the reason you have a chapter awards program in the first place: to recognize the efforts of extraordinary chapters (and their leadership teams) and to share their success stories with other chapters. You want to encourage the busy volunteer leaders of these A+ chapters to take the time to apply for an award. But what do they get for their efforts? Just the obligatory plaque?
Give your stellar chapters something they will really value, for example, scholarships to attend your association’s annual conference or chapter leadership conference.
The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) chooses four regional winners for their Chapter Excellence Award and then one national winner from that group. The regional winners each receive two scholarships to attend the spring regional conference, and the national winner receives four annual conference scholarships. These scholarships cover expenses for conference registration, airfare/transportation, and hotel accommodation.
Another way to facilitate leadership development is to award scholarships for external conferences or for online courses and learning programs—either your association’s or other programs. You could also reward winning chapters with a facilitated strategic planning session or on-site leadership training.
Think of ways to help chapters show off their accomplishment. CUPA-HR also gives award winners a podium banner to use at chapter events. The National Schools Public Relations Associations (NSPRA) provides a “mark of distinction” logo for award-winning chapters to use on their websites, newsletters, and stationery.
The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) provides a digital badge for its Innovation Award recipient. Digital badges can be displayed on websites, social platforms, and collaboration platforms, like the AMTA Volunteer Hub.
Now, it’s time for the big moment—the awards presentation, as well as post-event award promotions. We’ll cover these topics in Part 4 of this series.