Frequently asked questions about the Awards

If your question isn’t answered here please contact [email protected]

What are The Charity Awards?

The Charity Awards is Civil Society Media’s annual awards programme held to identify, recognise and reward those organisations doing exceptional work in all areas of charitable activity. The Charity Awards were established in 2000 by Civil Society Media founder, Daniel Phelan.

Who can enter?

The Charity Awards are open to:

  • Registered charities in England & Wales
  • Charities registered with OSCR, the Scottish Charity Regulator
  • Charities in Northern Ireland recognised by HMRC or registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
  • Exempt or excepted charities registered with HMRC in England and Wales

Previous winners include charities of all sizes from household names to small community-based projects.

Can I enter if I’m not a registered charity?

At present we will not accept applications from community interest companies and other social enterprise legal forms. We will accept projects carried out by charity trading subsidiaries and joint ventures partially owned by charities, so long as a charity submits the entry on their behalf.

Do I have to pay to enter?

The Awards are free to enter and shortlisted charities would be invited to attend the gala presentation dinner as our guests.

Can I enter more than one project?

Absolutely, there is no limit to the number of projects a charity can enter.

Can I enter an ongoing project?

We are happy to consider both ongoing and completed projects, so long as they remain relevant to the current environment. In general, we recommend that your initiative or project has been running long enough to show a compelling track record of success.

If we have been unsuccessful in the past can we enter again if the project has developed further?

Yes – in fact, previous applicants have entered a second time and gone through to win their category.

Why should I enter?

The Awards provide a perfect opportunity for you to propel your charity’s work into the spotlight, to influence policymakers and funders and to boost the morale of your staff and stakeholders.

When do entries open?

Entries for the Rathbones Covid-19 Response Award open on 2020 open on Monday 1 March, you will be able to download an entry form from the website.

When do entries close?

You need to submit your completed entry, along with a copy of your charity’s statutory accounts, if they’re not available from the Charity Commission website, by Thursday 1 April.

What if I can’t submit my statutory accounts?

If for any reason you cannot submit statutory accounts – your charity is too new, or has recently merged – please contact us and we will discuss the most appropriate course. We do require some evidence of financial propriety in order to make an award, and would probably recommend delaying entry until you have filed your first set of accounts.

How are the Awards judged?

The independent judging panel will take a range of attributes into account when reviewing the entry forms – we call these the ‘Hallmarks of Excellence’. The project or initiative you are putting forward should be able to demonstrate achievement in most, if not all, of these Hallmarks. Learn more about our judges here.

What awards are presented?

Awards are given out in the ten categories below and an overall winner is chosen from the winners of each category. In addition for 2021, we are introducing a new category; the Rathbones Covid-19 Response Award. We would like to encourage any organisation that has gone above and beyond during the pandemic to share their work with us so that we can shine a light on examples of demonstrating excellence through adversity.

The Daniel Phelan Award for Outstanding Achievement is also presented to an individual.

  • Arts, culture and heritage
  • Campaigning and advocacy
  • Children and youth
  • Disability
  • Education and training
  • Environment and conservation
  • Grantmaking and funding
  • Healthcare and medical research
  • International aid and development
  • Social care, advice and support

What happens to our 2020 entry?

All 2020 applications will go forward to 2021. We know that submitting an entry takes a lot of time and effort.

Will our entry be judged against new projects?

No, new entries will not be considered. Your application will only be judged against those submitted in 2020.

Our project results/outcomes have changed, can we update our entry?

Yes, you will have the opportunity to submit additional evidence to support your entry. We will be in contact in due course. However, this is not an essential requirement.

When will the 2021 Charity Awards be presented?

The 2021 Charity Awards will be presented in an online ceremony taking place on Thursday 10 June.

Will you be announcing a shortlist for the Covid-19 Response Award?

Due to the high number of entries for the Covid-19 Response Award, there will be no shortlist. We will be announcing winners on the night, so we encourage you and your team to register and tune in.

Is there a limit to the number of people who can register to watch?

Unlike our usual awards ceremony, there are no capacity limits. We would encourage anyone connected to the nominated project or charity to join in with the celebrations. In addition, registrants who sign-up with the same email domain will be placed together on a virtual table, so you’ll easily be able to chat with one another on the awards platform.

Is there a registration fee to watch the ceremony?

The awards ceremony is free to watch. There is no registration charge.

How do we register to watch the ceremony?

Register your details here:

Activate your account, and we will send you a link to watch the ceremony closer to the time.

I have questions that are not answered here, who can I contact?

You can email [email protected] and a member of the team will reply.