Shine A Light On Award Worthy Collaborations
A quick search for award applications yields a list of seemingly endless opportunities. From professional organizations to industry competitions, finding the right award to apply for is just the beginning.
Not all projects are appropriate for award compeitions, of course. Some of our most meaningful work will never grace an award application, despite its essential nature. But when we know a product deserves broader awareness, there’s a right way to proceed.
Have you been part of a project you feel is award worthy? Here are some insights we’ve taken away from working with clients to receive recognition for their resources:
Know awards available for the resources or programs being developed:
Applying for awards takes time and planning. It’s good to have a list of potential awards relevant to your organization and the work you do, know the deadlines and the requirements, and keep the list updated for quick reference.
- Find the right fit. Look for awards that showcase the kind of work being done (e.g., video, apps, eLearning, curriculum programs, etc.).
- Keep an eye on deadlines and plan ahead. You might identify a potential award to apply for and find the application window for the year has come and gone. Set a calendar reminder to check back for important dates and plan ahead for application prep.
- Evaluate the application requirements. Research the application and past winners to identify what information will be needed. Starting an application and then finding out you don’t have enough information to complete it is a time waster.
- Assess the data. If specific metrics are needed for the award, be sure those details can be acquired. Some award applications require extensive evidence or data (production costs or audience reach, for example), which can be a deal breaker if that information is not available.
Include the client in the application process:
You will need the client’s consent and their assistance in gathering information. An effective application often requires a larger conversation than the project team because specific data metrics may need to be pulled from different departments. Confidentiality and legal requirements must also be considered for some clients.
- Take a team approach. Ask the client for consent to submit an award on their behalf and for their collaboration in assembling the application.
- Divide and conquer. Identify how involved the client would like to be in the process. You might take the lead on drafting the applications, while the client reviews the prepared draft or helps to compile data.
- Assess the fees. If there is a cost, identify how and who will pay for them.
- Submit early! Don’t wait until the last minute. Allow yourself enough time for a thorough review to ensure all the key information has been included.
Press Releases & Public Relations for the Client:
After the results are announced, the organization sponsoring an award may offer marketing and public relations items for download, such as press releases. And they may offer commemorative objects, such as plaques, paper weights, or statues for sale. If these items are available, make sure the client is aware and let them decide what is appropriate to use in sharing the message of their achievements about the awarded resource.
- And the winner is… Keep an eye out for the awards being announced and share results with the clients.
- Process the feedback. Some awards provide feedback when the results are shared. Be sure to set dedicated time aside to review the feedback. If the recognition is not as high as anticipated, reflect on the experience and lessons learned for future award opportunities. It’s okay to apply and not win. It’s part of the process in understanding what makes a winning submission and finding the right opportunities.
- Spread the word. Identify and brainstorm ways to help the client share the story of the program and the achievement within their industry.
- Celebrate! Take time to honor the collaborative work. It is a big risk to apply for an award and compare the resources created with others in a specific industry.
Receiving an award for the work we do is never the goal we set out for at the beginning of any project. It’s often in the post-project review or wrap up with the client when we realize what we created turned out awesome and would be a great candidate to submit for some recognition. It’s also key to remember that not all projects are created equal – we don’t submit every single project for awards. And that doesn’t mean the projects are bad! But sometimes there are projects that have all the elements PLUS a really cool solution that stands out as a candidate to submit for an award. When those projects come along, why not celebrate them?
Shining a light on the results of our industry collaborations through the awards process, is one more way we can achieve our purpose of helping others “do good.”