Strengthen Awards Program to Enhance Publicity, Member Retention

Recognizing members for their achievements within the industry and the association is achieved in different forms—magazine article profiles, Q&A on social media, press releases, and formal awards programs.

The American Concrete Pavement Association’s awards program is over 30 years old and has evolved throughout the years to add recognition for sustainability and innovation to its association and paving awards. In addition to highlighting all award-winning projects and key member recognitions in press releases, the website and the magazine, ACPA encourages members to post photos of the flags presented to them as award winners to the association’s social media outlets.

Award presentations are a highlight of International Erosion and Sediment Control Association’s annual meeting and recognize member contributions to the industry and the association as well as research to support the industry’s mission. Recipients are identified on the website and in the magazine.

One author suggests the following tips to create or enhance an awards program:

  1. Understand your goals and audience.

Know why you want to start a program and who is it for? Do you want to attract new members, draw attention to your industry, or retain members with positive recognition? While an awards program is good for publicity, don’t neglect to advertise the program.

A well-organized marketing campaign ensures that potential members hear about the program as well as the winners, which raises the association’s profile in the industry.  Remember to explain why the winners were selected—this further promotes excellence in the industry by showcasing best practices.

  1. Employ software tools to manage the program.

Handing out the awards is the easy part—it’s managing the entries that can get complicated. Turning to award management tools can help you set up a site to receive and manage entries and simplify the judging process. When selecting a tool, keep integration in mind, specifically integration and compatibility with your association management software.

  1. Build a revenue model.

While associations may want to launch awards programs to celebrate their industry, it’s also important to consider the model from a financial point of view. There are two ways to make awards programs an effective revenue driver—one, by making the program pay-per-entry and open to any interested entrant; and two, by making the program free to enter for paid members. Whichever route is taken, tie the awards presentation to an event—such as an annual conference—to promote greater attendance.

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