+44(0)1273 258703
donna greenyer

Donna Greenyer

Accreditation Manager, IASC

Leading by example in the awards industry

Navigating the sea of awards schemes isn’t always easy. Sadly, there are some awards schemes globally, which, on the surface appear to be legitimate and benign; however when you look beneath the surface, they are anything but. Maybe they invite you to enter (or say you have been nominated out of the blue), then charge you an unexpected fee to download their entry forms before you realise they aren’t suitable for you anyway. Maybe they say you have been shortlisted, but hint that if you don’t go to the awards dinner, you won’t win. Maybe you took the time to enter their awards and then never heard back from them again. Even worse are the awards that are simply pay-to-win schemes. Those who have been stung by such schemes in the past (often known as ‘vanity awards‘), could perhaps argue that the awards industry is just a sycophantic way to make money, by selling logos, fancy dinner tables and unearned legitimacy.

In response, the Awards Trust Mark initiative, a not-for-profit accreditation scheme, has been created by the Independent Awards Standards Council (co-founded by our Managing Director, Chris Robinson). Its aim is to help people navigate the choppy waters of the awards industry, to share best practice where it is found, and encourage positive change across the awards industry, while increasing public trust in awards schemes as a whole. 

The gold standard for awards

All levels of the Trust Mark require award schemes and their directors to voluntarily sign up to a strict code of conduct and go through a process of validation by a member of the council. The crème de la crème of these schemes are awarded a Gold Awards Trust Mark, which requires the highest ethical standards to be met. One such award scheme, run by founder Karen Sutton, are the Global Good Awards, which successfully re-accredited this year as a Gold standard award scheme. In doing so, they demonstrated that:

  • Entry into the Global Good awards is open to all organisations, with no restrictions.
  • Programme timelines, costs, dates, commitments, Ts&Cs and processes are clearly outlined on their website prior to the entry process.
  • They charge no fees until the final entry has been submitted. Once an entrant has registered with them, they have immediate access to the application form questions without payment being required.
awards trust mark
  • Entrants can contact Karen and her team, and expect a quick response, at any time.
  • The judging process is fair, transparent and strict, with NDAs signed by all judges.
  • Judging is scored online using a clear and effective system, removing any possible bias or inconsistency.
  • All judges are independent and have judged before. Judges and categories are matched only by their professional experience, and no judge will be asked to score a category out of their sector knowledge.
  • Although judges can enter their own organisation, they will not take part, be notified or consulted about a category in which they entered. They will also have no commercial interest in the decisions made.
  • free feedback report is emailed to ALL entrants, whether they were finalists or not, immediately after the awards ceremony. If an entrant requests information about the score given to the winner of their category, they will be supplied with the percentage mark for the benefit of benchmarking.
  • Finalists are not obliged to attend the awards ceremony, although they are encouraged to do so. The ceremony is as accessible as possible to those on tight budgets and has a focus on sustainability.
  • Winners are announced live on Twitter on the night, and they are one of the very few award programmes to publish a full-page promotion of the project on their website.
  • No charge is made for finalists and winners using the logo or widgets.
  • Quotes for press releases, winners’ photos and vox-pop videos are supplied free of charge.

Helping others to run sustainable awards

Not only do the Global Good Awards conduct themselves in accordance with the standards set out by the Awards Trust Mark, they also demonstrate how other awards organisers can – and should – conduct themselves. As their director, Karen, acknowledges: “We have to ‘walk that talk’ right beside our entrants”. Just a few examples of their best practice include:

  • Venues for their awards dinner and meetings must meet their sustainable standards.
  • Their awards dress code encourages attendees to wear something sustainably made, from a charity shop or from their wardrobe. Karen herself wore a ballgown constructed from … crisp packets! (A masterpiece, as you can see…)
  • All their marketing materials from 2016 onwards have been made using 100% recycled paper.
  • Delegate travel to the awards event is carbon balanced (including any international flights).
  • They work with their venues to deliver a fully vegan menu, with the aim to demonstrate that you don’t have the ‘be’ vegan to ‘eat’ vegan. This extends to the wine and beer too!
global good awards dress

“Shared best practice helps change happen faster”
Karen Sutton, The Global Good Awards, seen here on the right, wearing her magnificent crisp packet dress. 

The Global Good Awards recognise, reward and support change across all aspects of purpose driven sustainability and social impact. Any organisation can enter their awards scheme, regardless of their shape or size; they just need to be making strides towards a better world for people, the planet and the global economy. For further examples of what they do, sustainable event consultancy or to read their comprehensive guide ‘How to Run Sustainable Events – 17 Top Sustainability Hacks’, visit their website and register for more best-practice ideas. 

Impartial feedback

As part of the Awards Trust Mark accreditation process, references are required from former judges and entrants (picked at random). Some of the comments from this year’s validation process included:

“They are so well-organised. They even have dates for next year!”

“They are great, the whole process and platform was so user-friendly, it wasn’t a chore at all. The Awards night was great, with very topical speeches and an all vegan menu – pretty cool! The ethical dress stance was great, and they practiced what they preach.”

 “I loved that you get feedback, the only awards scheme I have entered that does. We are a growing business, so it’s great to have feedback.”

“Probably the best and most efficient awards process we have ever been through. I was amazed by the efficiency. Being a small organisation, the costs etc. of entering an award can rack up and it takes a lot of time to enter. But it was great value, with a lovely award event, tastefully done…It’s not just about making money…I loved Karen’s input.”

global good awards

Why the Awards Trust Mark?

So why did such a credible award scheme want to be part of the Awards Trust Mark, when they already do so much?  

Be the change you wish to see

Karen pointed out that “Saying you are incredible and saying you reward organisations is one thing – but getting a mark to confirm what you do says a lot more.” She went further to say, “In terms of entrants, they like to work with someone who isn’t just saying what they do, but proving it and aligning with what they are trying to achieve at the same time.”

Sponsorship

Karen also remarked that gaining Trust Mark accreditation has helped with securing sponsorship, which, in an especially difficult landscape, is certainly worthwhile. 

Accountability

Karen and the Global Good Awards have a unique perspective, as they have had the experience of entering awards themselves. As Karen remarked: “We have been on both sides of the table, and I would definitely err towards those who have the Trust Mark accreditation. It’s law for financial advisors to be certified with the FCA, while solicitors have to follow the SRA code of conduct – so why, for something so personal, and that costs a lot of money, is there no governance for awards? I personally think it’s worrying.”

It is a belief shared by the Independent Awards Standards Council and the Global Good Awards that best practice helps bring about change faster. If you are interested in being part of that change, you can look to join the accreditation scheme or become a member of the Independent Awards Standards Council. Karen believed in it so much she is now a council member herself! For full details and application forms, visit the website https://awardstrustmark.org/

awards trust mark gold

(C) This article was written by Donna Greenyer, on behalf of The Independent Awards Standards Council, which owns the intellectual property rights contained within.

donna greenyer

Donna Greenyer

Accreditation Manager, Independent Awards Standards Council

Leading by example in the awards industry

Navigating the sea of awards schemes isn’t always easy. Sadly, there are some awards schemes globally, which, on the surface appear to be legitimate and benign; however, when you look beneath the surface, they are anything but. Maybe they invite you to enter (or say you have been nominated out of the blue), then charge you an unexpected fee to download their entry forms before you realise they aren’t suitable for you anyway. Maybe they say you have been shortlisted, but hint that if you don’t go to the awards dinner, you won’t win. Maybe you took the time to enter their awards and then never heard back from them again. Even worse are the awards that are simply pay-to-win schemes. Those who have been stung by such schemes in the past (often known as ‘vanity awards‘), could perhaps argue that the awards industry is just a sycophantic way to make money, by selling logos, fancy dinner tables and unearned legitimacy.

 

In response, the Awards Trust Mark initiative, a not-for-profit accreditation scheme, has been created by the Independent Awards Standards Council (co-founded by our Managing Director, Chris Robinson). Its aim is to help people navigate the choppy waters of the awards industry, to share best practice where it is found, and encourage positive change across the awards industry, while increasing public trust in awards schemes as a whole. 

The gold standard for awards

 

All levels of the Trust Mark require award schemes and their directors to voluntarily sign up to a strict code of conduct – and go through a process of validation by a member of the council. The crème de la crème of these schemes are awarded the Gold Awards Trust Mark, which requires the highest ethical standards to be met. One such award scheme, run by founder Karen Sutton, are the Global Good Awards, which successfully re-accredited this year as a Gold standard award scheme. In doing so, they demonstrated that:

  • Entry into the Global Good awards is open to all organisations, with no restrictions.
  • Programme timelines, costs, dates, commitments, Ts&Cs and processes are clearly outlined on their website prior to the entry process.
  • They charge no fees until the final entry has been submitted. Once an entrant has registered with them, they have immediate access to the application form questions without payment being required.
awards trust mark
  • Entrants can contact Karen and her team, and expect a quick response, at any time.
  • The judging process is fair, transparent and strict, with NDAs signed by all judges.
  • Judging is scored online using a clear and effective system, removing any possible bias or inconsistency.
  • All judges are independent and have judged before. Judges and categories are matched only by their professional experience, and no judge will be asked to score a category out of their sector knowledge.
  • Although judges can enter their own organisation, they will not take part, be notified or consulted about a category in which they entered. They will also have no commercial interest in the decisions made.
  • free feedback report is emailed to ALL entrants, whether they were finalists or not, immediately after the awards ceremony. If an entrant requests information about the score given to the winner of their category, they will be supplied with the percentage mark for the benefit of benchmarking.
  • Finalists are not obliged to attend the awards ceremony, although they are encouraged to do so. The ceremony is as accessible as possible to those on tight budgets and has a focus on sustainability.
  • Winners are announced live on Twitter on the night, and they are one of the very few award programmes to publish a full-page promotion of the project on their website.
  • No charge is made for finalists and winners using the logo or widgets.
  • Quotes for press releases, winners’ photos and vox-pop videos are supplied free of charge.

Helping others to run sustainable awards

Not only do the Global Good Awards conduct themselves in accordance with the standards set out by the Awards Trust Mark, they also demonstrate how other awards organisers can – and should – conduct themselves. As their director, Karen, acknowledges: “We have to ‘walk that talk’ right beside our entrants”. Just a few examples of their best practice include:

  • Venues for their awards dinner and meetings must meet their sustainable standards.
  • Their awards dress code encourages attendees to wear something sustainably made, from a charity shop or from their wardrobe. Karen herself wore a ballgown constructed from … crisp packets! (A masterpiece, as you can see…)
  • All their marketing materials from 2016 onwards have been made using 100% recycled paper.
  • Delegate travel to the awards event is carbon balanced (including any international flights).
  • They work with their venues to deliver a fully vegan menu, with the aim to demonstrate that you don’t have the ‘be’ vegan to ‘eat’ vegan. This extends to the wine and beer too!
global good awards dress

“Shared best practice helps change happen faster”
Karen Sutton, The Global Good Awards, seen here on the right, wearing her magnificent crisp packet dress. 

The Global Good Awards recognise, reward and support change across all aspects of purpose-driven sustainability and social impact. Any organisation can enter their awards scheme, regardless of their shape or size; they just need to be making strides towards a better world for people, the planet and the global economy. For further examples of what they do, sustainable event consultancy or to read their comprehensive guide ‘How to Run Sustainable Events – 17 Top Sustainability Hacks’, visit their website and register for more best-practice ideas. 

Impartial feedback

As part of the Awards Trust Mark accreditation process, references are required from former judges and entrants (picked at random). Some of the comments from this year’s validation process included:

“They are so well-organised. They even have dates for next year!”

“They are great, the whole process and platform was so user-friendly, it wasn’t a chore at all. The Awards night was great, with very topical speeches and an all vegan menu – pretty cool! The ethical dress stance was great, and they practiced what they preach.”

 “I loved that you get feedback, the only awards scheme I have entered that does. We are a growing business, so it’s great to have feedback.”

“Probably the best and most efficient awards process we have ever been through. I was amazed by the efficiency. Being a small organisation, the costs etc. of entering an award can rack up and it takes a lot of time to enter.  But it was great value, with a lovely award event, tastefully done…It’s not just about making money…I loved Karen’s input.”

global good awards

Why the Awards Trust Mark?

So why did such a credible award scheme want to be part of the Awards Trust Mark, when they already do so much?  

Be the change you wish to see

Karen pointed out that “Saying you are incredible and saying you reward organisations is one thing – but getting a mark to confirm what you do says a lot more.” She went further to say, “In terms of entrants, they like to work with someone who isn’t just saying what they do, but proving it and aligning with what they are trying to achieve at the same time.”

Sponsorship

Karen also remarked that gaining Trust Mark accreditation has helped with securing sponsorship, which, in an especially difficult landscape, is certainly worthwhile. 

Accountability

Karen and the Global Good Awards have a unique perspective, as they have had the experience of entering awards themselves. As Karen remarked: “We have been on both sides of the table, and I would definitely err towards those who have the Trust Mark accreditation. It’s law for financial advisors to be certified with the FCA, while solicitors have to follow the SRA code of conduct – so why, for something so personal, and that costs a lot of money, is there no governance for awards? I personally think it’s worrying.”

It is a belief shared by the Independent Awards Standards Council and the Global Good Awards that best practice helps bring about change faster. If you are interested in being part of that change, you can look to join the accreditation scheme or become a member of the Independent Awards Standards Council. Karen believed in it so much, she is now a council member herself! For full details and application forms visit the website https://awardstrustmark.org/

awards trust mark gold

(C) This article was written by Donna Greenyer, on behalf of The Independent Awards Standards Council, which owns the intellectual property rights contained within.

boost award entry writers

Sign up for free award deadline reminders!

At the start of every month you will receive Boost's comprehensive list of upcoming awards deadlines (in the next two months) organised by industry sector. Please note we are unable to accept personal email addresses (Gmail/Hotmail etc.)

Never miss a deadline again!




Your personal information will be used as set out in our Privacy policy. Submitting your details indicates your consent, until you choose otherwise, that we will email you the requested services. You will be required to confirm this via the email address you enter, you can opt out at ANY time.

  Leave me blank

Thanks for signing up for Boost's free monthly award deadline reminders. We hope you find them useful.

Share This