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From the Oscars to the Grammys and even the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards, everyone loves award shows. They celebrate, inspire and recognize exemplary work.
Associations are no different and an award from one’s association signifies professional achievement and is consistent with the mission to “advance the industry and promote best practices.”
To explore how associations manage their award programs, AssociationExecs.com and association technology company Votenet Solutions surveyed more than 170 associations.
Award programs benefit the association mission
Associations embrace award program benefits with more than 88 percent offering awards for both individuals and companies. Reasons range from recognition to inspiration to generating industry buzz.
“By publicly recognizing excellent achievements, the association strives to inspire others to give care, thought and effort to their own projects,” said Terry Davis, CEO of the American Association for State and Local History.
Other key reasons include:
Member value – almost 74 percent reported that members value awards and contests.
Industry buzz – almost 50 percent reported that awards programs generate industry buzz and PR.
“A robust awards program is a powerful public relations tool,” said David Harrison of Harrison Communications, a firm specializing in PR for associations. “Awards generate thought leadership and visibility for the organization charged with setting industry standards and promoting best practices.”
Associations recognize need for improvement in managing award programs
Association executives, however, also recognize award programs take a toll on staff and resources.
The biggest challenges identified with awards and contests included:
– Staff time commitment
– Lack of entries
– Program costs
– Hassle of managing the program
– Lack of volunteer judges
“Our awards program is one of our biggest annual projects and takes enormous effort to receive entries, plan the judging weekend, prepare entries for judging review, collect results and manage the award distribution,” Legal Marketing Association executive director Betsi Roach said.
One statistic that stood out is most organizations manage their programs with just basic technology – 70 percent reported using standard office software such as spreadsheets compared to almost 6 percent who said they use a vendor or software service offering specialized awards and contest software.
“By switching to a software tool that handles much of the process, we not only saved over 100 hours of staff time, but we also saw a decreased amount of time the judges had to spend at the judging weekend,” Roach said. “The online tool allowed judges to review entries on their own before reviewing finalists at the judging weekend.”
“Too many associations manage their programs with yesterday’s technology,” said Michael Tuteur, CEO of Votenet Solutions. “There is opportunity for automated workflow around nominations, entries, fees, judging and overall management. That would offer time savings. Further, a web-based solution puts the emphasis on promoting the awards and key deadlines as well as organizing awards events and galas rather than the headaches of managing the process.”
Download the full report at www.trofeeonline.com. Votenet developed the Trofee Award and Contest System.