Could Awards play a key supporting role in your fundraising?

In this article, Lynn Kennedy, Fundraising Advice Officer at NICVA, looks at whether Awards might have a real place in an organisation's fundraising strategy.

Considering Awards as part of your fundraising strategy?

NICVA is currently partnering with Aviva to help them publicise their Community Fund scheme.  Why?  The simple answer is that there are potentially some real dividends for VCSE organisations in investing their finite time and resources in entering Awards, both internally and externally.

It can certainly be strongly argued that Awards are as useful for their non-financial benefits as for the fact that winning one would boost your coffers. If you truly meet the criteria for an Award, and its message, value and ethos are closely aligned to those of your organisation and its work, it may be seriously worth considering entering as part of your fundraising strategy.

External Benefits

Externally, the right award and any successes within it can significantly raise both your organisation’s profile and general awareness of your work, particularly if you take real advantage of the PR opportunities it brings. It is also a real chance to showcase your achievements.  For prospective funders, an award win can set you apart from your competitors, and can help persuade a potential funder to consider backing a new project.  In addition, the amount of support required to enable your organisation to do well in an Award can also demonstrate to funders that you have a strong supporter base, which is loyal to your organisation and connected to its work. 

Internal Benefits

Internally, entering an Award can increase morale within your organisation by way of providing a concrete means of recognising your staff and volunteers’ hard work and efforts.  It can also differentiate you from other organisations in the same area of work and give a greater sense of pride and ownership to those who both work for you and use your services.  Finally, it can give you a great excuse to celebrate if you do well!

Case Study: Aviva Community Fund

Aviva Community Fund’s winning projects in 2015 reported that the awards had enabled them to achieve the following:

  • Provide additional products and services (74%)
  • Help more people (79%)
  • Increase their profile (e.g. in the media/community etc.) (68%)
  • Secure additional money or support from others as a result of ACF (34%)
  • Increase the morale/motivation of their employees/volunteers (87%)

One of the 2015 winners, Shine Cancer said of their experience,

“Simply participating in the Aviva Community Fund has enabled us to expand our reach into our community; winning was an added bonus which gave us a platform to promote Shine Camp in a bigger way than ever before.  As a small charity, it can be difficult to have the ‘profile’ of other larger charities. Winning the Aviva Community Fund award meant that we were able to reach more people in our community, particularly through social media and also that people who had never heard of us before learned about Shine for the first time.”

In short, if you strategically choose an Award which matches your values and ethos and also has criteria you can fully meet, and you can also mobilise your supporters into backing your entry and make the most of the subsequent profile-raising and PR opportunities, an entry into the right Award could be a potentially useful tool in your fundraising arsenal.

NB Aviva Community Fund will be returning in September 2016 and if you Register at MyAviva between now and 30 June, they will add an extra £1 to the prize fund for every person who signs up, until they reach £2 million.



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