We didn’t think we stood a chance at being shortlisted for a Charity Award, let alone winning one.But I would recommend even the smallest charities enter. Even filling in the application is such a brilliant exercise. Having to distil exactly what was great about a project has so many applications in other areas of the organisation. It can help with future planning and wider communications, and is great for showing your teams (and donors) that what they invested time and resources in really worked.The best bit for me was filling in the Hallmarks of Excellence – ten attributes that show your organisation is up there with the best. It wasn’t easy to write, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dipped back into the application since applying, because the stuff I wrote about how we display these attributes is proving indispensable for Charity of the Year applications, web copy, and annual reports.
“To win such a prestigious award, when the other finalists were truly inspirational, was incredible, and a real testament to the value of the Prison Volunteer Programme and the great partnership with the Prison Service. Everything from selling the programme through an initial application form to preparing presentations for the judging panel was invaluable to our staff and a great learning experience. Sue Ryder was delighted that our vital work – which not only helps Sue Ryder and the prisoners themselves but society as a whole – received the recognition it deserved.”
“What better way is there to say thank you to your hard grafting staff, to celebrate the success your clients have had and help shine the light on great work that is making a huge difference to so many extremely disadvantaged and hard to engage lives than nominating them for this prestigious honour. We were so thrilled that St Giles Trust gangs exit service SOS was singled out – we know it’s great, our funders and partners see its value. But it’s a great platform for others to better understand that by doing things radically differently you can get giant step changes in outcomes that everyone in society benefits from. I cannot encourage you enough to enter The Charity Awards. Think simply this – why wouldn’t you want to nominate one of your teams.”
“Of course our delight at being announced as a winner was huge, but once the excitement of the celebrations had died down, we realised that winning the award for Grantmaking and Funding had deeper on-going benefits. As a team, it energised us and the external approval of our work by the awards’ panel increased our confidence in our approach. Plus, as a funder we were able to share our success with our hard-working grantees, who deserved to take some of the credit for our win. We would definitely urge others to enter the Charity Awards as the process of scrutinising your organisation and recognising where there is good practice and achievement is very worthwhile.”
“Winning the award has been a huge achievement for Peas. It was recognition for our staff in Uganda, Zambia and the UK for all the hard work they do and to keep striving for more. I would urge any charity to get involved as the process is straightforward and the impact is huge.”
“Winning the award in 2012 proved to be not only a real encouragement to all those working on YMCA programmes across Scotland but also to be an accolade that has been recognised by partners and which has provided YMCA Scotland with significant additional credibility and opportunity as we go about our work.”
“Having not put in for an award before we at CSV ViCP were totally unprepared for the incredible impact winning the award has had on our work with chaotic and neglectful families. Not only has the award raised the profile of this work as a direct result of the media attention and coverage that immediately followed, but also by having the endorsement and the winner’s logo which appears on our website, publications, emails and stationery. Winning the award has undoubtedly opened many doors previously closed to us. Although this work is challenging and not without risk, local authorities are now much more likely to fund this initiative so we can help more children and families.”
“Winning in the Healthcare and medical research category has not only increased recognition of our charity’s work in the field of rabies control, but just as importantly, has given the communities we work with a greater sense of pride in the programmes, further encouraging sustainability. We would definitely encourage other charities to apply.”
“Winning the Charity Awards 2011 for Advice, support and advocacy was a real boost of morale for those delivering our direct services to children and families, currently in 170 schools around the UK and available to 58,000 children. The award was recognition of The Place2Be’s previous 17 years of growth and gave our partner schools, our employees, volunteer counsellors and funders a real sense that their investment was worthy of an award. We have since had many enquiries from schools across the country. We believe that our funders past and current were encouraged by the depth of the due diligence carried out in connection with the award, providing them with the necessary comfort that their investment in Place2Be services was well placed to make a lifetime of difference to children and families in schools.”
“We were thrilled to win one of the most prestigious accolades in the UK charity sector. Since winning the award, the profile of our organisation has been heightened locally, regionally and nationally through the subsequent press and media attention and acts as an additional motivator to all people involved in the project, helping us to help even more young people. I would urge anybody who is considering applying to The Charity Awards to go for it!”
“A big thank you from the bottom of my heart for the chance that The Charity Awards has given me. As a result of winning our sector category I was able to attend the Leadership in Management Course run by The Leadership Trust Foundation.The week was such an eye-opener for me. I came away with so many positives and this has already come to the fore not only in my development in the workplace but also my personal life. Winning the award has given Blue Sky the confidence and opportunities to go from strength to strength, and I would encourage any charity to give it a go.”
“Winning the Healthcare and medical research category was a huge affirmation of the quality, innovation and impact of our services. It raised the profile of respite care, an often-undervalued but vital help for families with a seriously ill child. And it made our hard-working staff and volunteers feel good about all their efforts over many years.”
“Winning the Overall Award at the last Charity Awards has had a huge impact at Mencap. When the sector is operating in a climate that is throwing up new uncertainties and challenges everyday, being rewarded for the important work we do provides much encouragement. Our experience, from entering to winning, was great and I’d encourage any charity with something good to say about itself to enter.”
“Winning the Education and training category in 2011 has been a huge boost to our plans to expand the work over the coming years, providing additional validation for what we are achieving. We have also had a lot of positive feedback from those involved in the scheme… the recognition of their commitment to improving the opportunities for care-leavers in education has been very motivating, particularly during such challenging times.”
The Charity Awards bring something unique to the charity world by celebrating leadership, innovation and excellence in how charities deliver their aims. I am very proud to have been part of the judging panel and to continue to support the Awards. The Charity Awards step beyond identifying good causes to showcase good practice in a very special event of celebration. The Awards serve all of us, in the voluntary sector and more widely, to look not just at what we do and why we do it, but also whether we do it as effectively and transparently as we could, and should.