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9 Tips for Writing an Award Nomination

Posted on 3rd October 2012 by Tim Spell
By Admin |October 3rd, 2012

While our awards management system may help associations stay on top of their awards programs, it doesn’t do a whole lot to encourage good submissions.  We’ve put together a few tips you can incorporate in your next newsletter to find the best of the best.

So who is this best of the best?  You work with a lot of great people, but there is one that stands out. He/she deserves to be recognized, and you plan to make it happen. But what takes an award nomination from just “good” to “WOW!”? These tips are designed to help you put the wow-factor in your nomination. 

1. Read the Rules and Criteria

This should be the most straight forward part of any project, but unfortunately it is often overlooked. Take the time to understand the process behind the award-selection and commit to fulfilling every requirement. Without doing so, your nomination will be discarded without consideration.

2. Use the Criteria as a Guideline

Be careful with this. Do NOT just copy and paste from the award description. Instead, use specific examples to demonstrate how your nominee fits the award category perfectly. Write about the results that came from this person’s actions.

3. Talk to your Nominee

Who wouldn’t be flattered by what you are doing? Get his/her input early on to be sure you are highlighting what is important to him/her in the nomination. 

4. Add Anecdotes, but get to the Point 

All award nominations should be written as a narrative. But remember, the selection committee cannot waste a day on one nomination. In short, do not say in ten pages what you could say in one. 

5. Throw Away Unnecessary Words

This especially applies for adverbs (e.g. “very”); if you choose a strong, appropriate word, it won’t need a crutch to stand on. A sample sentence is: “He does a very good job at finishing his work on time” versus, “He finishes his work promptly.” Which sounds better to you?

If you have trouble with this concept while writing, don’t worry. Let the words spill out organically. Later, use one read through solely to eliminate “fluff” words and construct strong sentences. 

6. Realize the Judges do not Know Him/Her

And if they do, pretend they don’t. It is important to introduce your nominee through your eyes. Provide them with a brief job summary and use the aforementioned anecdotes to prove the person goes above and beyond.

7. Avoid Ambiguity 

The selection committee doesn’t have the time to decode acronyms or look up jargon. If you want to use a word that not everyone knows, define it. Always spell out acronyms the first time you use them. 

8. Find at Least Two Reviewers

The first should be someone that doesn’t know the nominee. After a read through of the award description and your nomination, ask the reader to describe the nominee. Then ask if the nominee deserves the award and why. This should expose any serious issues with your nomination’s content or wording. The second should be the nominee or someone who knows the nominee well. This person should check for accuracy and completeness. 

9. Submit it Before the Deadline

I know a person who deliberately waited until 11:59pm on the night of a deadline before hitting submit. Surprise! There was a problem. Make sure you have enough time to correct any error–human or technological. 


Photo Credit: Vee-vee on Flickr

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