CREATE A USER-FRIENDLY SUBMISSION PROCESS
The awards entry form must ask for enough information to help judges spot an extraordinary chapter, but not so much that the form itself becomes a barrier to entry.
You could try a different approach than the typical entry form. For example, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) asks its award applicants to share their story in the online Volunteer Hub. If you take this route, provide an entry checklist so you can compare apples to apples.
Or, you could request video “applications.” Again, post a checklist so volunteers provide sufficient information for judges.
Give chapters the guidance they need to submit a winning application. The ASAE Foundation asked some of their past Innovation Grants Program applicants for their top ten tips for successful proposals. ASAE also provides guidance for entering their Power of A Awards.
In addition to print, consider webinars and videos. The American College of Radiology (ACR) posted a YouTube video recording of a webinar on “What You Need to Know” about their chapter recognition awards.
FIND THE BEST TOOLS
During the Association Component Exchange (CEX), several component relations professionals talked about the tools they use for forms and applications, including awards entry forms. Two popular choices were JotForm and WuFoo by Survey Monkey. You could also use software specifically designed for awards submission and judging, for example, OpenWater, RhythmQ, or WizeHive.
Awards applicants should be in compliance with reporting and other requirements. To ensure a fresh selection of winners every year, some associations specify how often a chapter can win an award. For example, at the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), a chapter is ineligible to receive an award more than once every three years.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) takes a different approach. Winning chapters enter their Platinum Club of Continuing Excellence after earning an award five or more years in a row.
Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of scoring applications, selecting winners, and finding better prizes for award winners—the topics of Part 3 in this series.