Winning awards for your positive impact is an important part of running a Big Why business – and to do that, you need to know how to write winning award submissions!
Not all Big Why business founders realise this – but you can (and should!) nominate yourself for awards, even when you’re small!
You’ve got a big, beautiful vision to make the world a better place. You and I both know that “business as usual” won’t cut it anymore. Our precious planet needs spokespeople now more than ever.
You’re working hard to protect the environment, invest in communities and support inspiring causes – because you care about our home and you want to see people and the planet thrive.
It’s time for you to get the recognition your hard work deserves. Not just as a “thank you” for all the hours you’re putting in, but because being featured in the press, speaking on stages at events and being seen as a thought leader in your industry all adds credibility to your brand.
And winning, or even being shortlisted for, an award, can make all of that happen.
Plus, they can help you win new business too. 82% of senior business people say they would be influenced by a relevant industry award win when buying products and services.
It stops people in their tracks and makes them take notice. Not just the people who already believe in your cause – but the ones we really need to work with. The ones who haven’t changed their behaviour yet.
As a leader, you can inspire others to take action.
It’s through the power of community and connection that I’ve grown #EthicalHour to become a global, award-winning platform with consistent trading income and a powerful, positive impact on the causes we care about.
Along the way I had to learn how to overcome imposter syndrome, put myself forward and understand how to write winning award submissions. And I’m sharing that knowledge with you so we can see more changemakers get recognised for their impact, because it’s so important that they do!
I’ve won several awards, supported many organisations with successful applications, and even hosted and judged the Be The Change Awards 2019 – so I’ve seen a lot of successful (and not so successful) applications over the years.
Preparing awards submissions can be a time consuming activity, but they can be worth the investment even if you don’t win. If you are shortlisted you can still make the most of the reputation building benefits!
Here’s how to set yourself up with the best possible chance for success:
Look at previous winners
Most awards will list previous winners on their website. If you can find similar brands who won in the category you’re looking to enter, take some time to research their backstory.
Read their website, look at their social media and observe how they tell their story.
Which parts of their positive impact do they highlight?
How have they crafted their story to make it captivating to customers and stakeholders?
As an ethical consumer, there’s probably certain things you look for when you visit a brand’s website – and it’s exactly the same when an awards judge looks through your application.
Looking at previous winners might help inspire you when you’re writing your application, and help you decide which parts of your impact story to highlight.
Tell a story
Remember that the judges will be reading numerous entries – so a submission with a clear, compelling story will stand out.
Good stories have:
A beginning – what problem did you observe? What inspired you to get started?
A middle – what achievements have you accomplished? What obstacles have you faced and how have you overcome them? What innovations and impact has there been?
An end – where are you hoping to go next? What’s your vision for the future? How will your business expand and your impact grow?
Keep your applications safe!
Writing awards applications takes a lot of time, and often you have to submit them using a form on a website.
It’s a good idea to write them in a word document where you can spell check and save them as you go.
Plus, if you keep them safe, you can reuse sections for future applications and save yourself time by not starting from scratch every time!
Include testimonials, evidence, anecdotes and case studies
If you’ve had positive feedback from customers, beneficiaries and other stakeholders – include it in your application! It’s always good for the judges to hear about how great you are from the people that have worked with you.
If you haven’t got any of these to hand, don’t be afraid to ask for some to support your application.
Encourage your customers to post positive reviews and recommendations publicly – such as your Facebook page or Google, so you can use them again and again and other potential customers can see them. Or, if they’re sent to you via DM or email, take a screenshot and create a photo album of positive feedback on your Facebook page – but make sure you get permission from the person who sent the message first!
Back up what you’re saying with evidence on your website
Judges get hundreds of applications, so they won’t have time to do background research on everyone. It’s essential that all the important information and evidence is included in your application, so they don’t have to go digging for it.
That being said, if they’re stuck between two winners, they might look at your website and social media to help inform their decision.
The information you share publicly should support what you’ve written in your application – and pulling together awards submissions can be a good reminder to share your positive impact on your website too!
For help with putting your impact on your website, read this guide.
And finally… don’t be afraid to celebrate yourself!
SHOULD YOU NOMINATE YOURSELF FOR AWARDS?
This is a hotly debated topic online. Many awards are open for self-nomination, but putting yourself forward for an award can feel uncomfortable.
You might be worried about what people will think if they knew that you’d put yourself forward, or whether you’re confident enough to talk about your achievements.
However, if you’re self-employed, and especially if you haven’t got a team to nominate you, you absolutely should nominate yourself!
The benefits of winning an award far outweigh the worry, and it’s definitely worth the time investment.
Winning, or even being a finalist for an award, is an excellent way to add credibility to your brand, attract interest from the press and gives you an excuse to promote your work!