Saturday, 6 March 2010

Writing Winning Awards

It's taken me a little while to write up my notes from the NHF Marketing and Communications Conference in February 2010 (I've been busy with Brum Twestival!) but here's the first of a two parter.

One of the workshops I attended was about writing winning awards. Rosemarie Anderson, Chief Executive of Rockingham Forest Housing Association, talked about how they'd won the 2009 national What We Are Proud Of award - even though they are a small housing association, with only 20 staff.

She said the benefits of winning awards include media coverage, staff morale, cementing relationships with partners, meeting strategic priorities and business opportunities.

But it's important not to just apply for awards willy-nilly. They can take a lot of time (and sometimes money) out of the organisation and the business case needs to be solid. 

Once the business case has been made, the organisation needs to go through these steps:

  1. Plan ahead – it takes much longer than you think
  2. Assemble project team – ensure everyone is aware in the business of who is managing award submission and what is required of individuals. (Don’t delegate to the most junior team member.)
  3. What makes your project unique?
  4. Put in context, tell the story of the organisation
  5. Use partner and customer feedback
  6. Read the criteria and stick to it – dates, word count, images, presentation
  7. Be creative – use film, supporting materials (clearly labelled), images#
  8. Grab attention with first two pars
  9. EVIDENCE – statistics, surveys, results!
  10. Include press cuttings, coverage if you can – but not pages and pages. A summary page and two or three of the strongest.
  11. Have your PR ready to roll if you win.
  12. Thank everyone and CELEBRATE!
  13. Take a long term view – if you don’t win, get shortlisted, evaluate, was it still useful exercise?

  1. Miss the deadline
  2. Make typos or mistakes
  3. Leave out outcomes – most important bit
  4. Give up – have another go next year!

My organisation, Wolverhampton Homes, has just been shortlisted in three categories (Career Development Star of the Year, Inspirational Colleague of the Year, Procurement Team of the Year) for the Inside Housing Housing Heroes Awards. We'll find out in May if the entries were good enough to win!

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