Top 10 Tips for writing an Award winning entry

The Workplace Giving Excellence Awards recognise the most outstanding workplace giving programs and performers in Australia. Awards not only motivate and instill pride in your employees, they inspire stakeholders and create an overall sense of achievement across your organisation. Here are 10 tips for writing an Award winning entry this year.

1. Give yourself enough time. Most awards programs give applicants plenty of time. The majority of submissions, however, come in at the last minute. A judge knows immediately who spent time preparing a thoughtful award submission and who didn’t.

2. Stay on point. Make sure your answer addresses the question directly. This is not a chance for you to veer off into a different direction to profile something you want the judges to know. Stay on topic and know the judge is most grateful when they have an answer they can easily grade.

3. Don’t skip questions. Sounds obvious, right? You’d be surprised how many people skip questions. Every question left unanswered results in a judge marking down your application. Judges almost always work on a points system where the highest score wins. If you garner no points for an entire question or category, you’re likely taking yourself out of the running for a win.

4. Stick to the word count. Word counts are designed to ensure judges have enough time to get through all the entries in the allotted time. Going over word count does not impress anyone. Take it from a judge; we often spend evenings or weekends reviewing entries, so longer is not better.

5. Write off line. Regardless if you’re writing and printing your application or filling out an online form, you’ll want to write the entire thing on paper before you submit. The websites of popular contests often crash during peak periods and you don’t want to lose all your hard work because of a system failure. Also, committing everything to a single document before you send it allows you to ensure there’s been no repetition, inconsistencies or contradictions in your entry form.

6. Tell a story. Have mercy on the poor judge who has 35, 80 or even a hundred applications to read. You can make your entry stand out by deploying brand storytelling techniques. It works; believe me.

7. Quantify results. One of the first things you learn when writing fiction is the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule. The same applies for award entries. Don’t say you’re a leading provider; give facts and figures to show you are. Winning entries always show proof of the claims they’re making.

8. Get your staff and co-workers involved. The bigger the award, the more information you’ll need. Ask your friends to give you their impression of why you should win a particular award. Get your co-workers involved and have them help you collect evidence, metrics, examples, testimonials or anything else needed for your application. If it’s an award for work, everyone stands to gain something when a project wins.

9. Include the icing. Don’t forget to include achievements or activity in areas like volunteering, philanthropy, or specialised training. When all things are equal, people showing they went the extra mile gives judges the tie breaker they need.

10. Read your submission aloud. Before you send off your award entry, stand up and read it using your normal speaking voice. You’ll be amazed at how the act of getting on your feet and using your full voice uncovers clumsy sentences and other errors affecting the readability of your submission.

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