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How to win awards in order to secure more grants

We spoke to award-givers and award-seekers to understand how charities and not-for-profits can stand out from the rest – and take home both an award and the opportunity for more grants and donations

Applying for, and winning awards, is instrumental in boosting organisational morale and seeing an influx of grants, donations and support from the community.

Award winners have reported a significant increase in donations and grants that come from an upsurge of credibility and recognition. Oftentimes, charities, not-for-profits and social enterprises also receive access to networking and educational opportunities.

To better understand how to win these awards, Third Sector spoke to the General Manager for Business Marketing and Awards at Telstra, Teena Wooldridge, who said that a lot of doors will open for organisations that take any opportunity to enter.

“There’s a lot of media attention and a lot of credibility behind the awards, particularly for a charity or a social purpose who is being recognised as an organisation by Telstra, which will often give them more credibility and opens the doors to more grants.

“Most of the charities that have entered in the past have come back and reported a significant uplift in grants or donations they’ve received as a result of the increase in awareness and credibility that they have gained.”

Wooldridge said she looks for organisations that “demonstrate a level of organisation, structure and rigour around their operations”, by specifically looking at operational, marketing, staff management and training and relationships with volunteers.

“We’re looking for how businesses operate and the capabilities in which they operate those businesses,” Wooldridge added. “We do look at cash flow, but in the social purpose and charity sector it is not a prime driver, it’s more to make sure that the proper process and systems are in place to help organisations do that.”

Multi-award winner, Gail Ker OAM, Chief Executive Officer of  Access Community Services and has been recognised in the Telstra Queensland Business Women for Purpose and Social Enterprise Award, as a finalist for the Australian of the Year Awards, the UN Queensland Community Award and been awarded an Order of Australian Medal.

Ker told Third Sector that organisations should not be “intimidated or discouraged” by the nomination processes and that it is important to be persuasive when writing the application: “This is your opportunity to sell yourself to show the selection committee that you or your organisation is the deserved recipient of the award.”

She added that nominating for awards is a positive way to raise the profile of either executives behind the organisation or the organisation itself, and often generates a lot of interest from the community and from grant-givers on the organisation’s work.

“The time it takes to write the nominations can be a worthwhile investment in raising your organisations profile and provides an amazing opportunity to establish new partnerships with individuals and organisations,” Ker said.

She said that by winning awards, organisations are exposed to new networks and is provided with invaluable opportunities to share ideas and learn from the experiences of others. Organisations also have the opportunity to boost morale among staff.

“Winning awards creates trust and a level of comfort for funding providers in knowing your organisation is innovative, high performing and recognised for the quality of the work that it undertakes,” Ker said.

“Awards can help to give you a competitive edge over others in your field, providing a level of credibility of the organisation and the services and programs it delivers.”

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