Helping you understand, measure
and communicate your Social Impact
You only get one chance to tell your story so make the most of it.

The impact of awards

Anyone on social media or involved in the business world at all in Northern Ireland will have noticed over the past few weeks that awards season is well and truly upon us. Events recognising the great things happening in the third sector, the business world and digital innovation have taken place at the recent BITCNI, Institute of Fundraising (IoF) and Digital DNA ceremonies.
And there are plenty more still to come for people involved in the third sector, including the Social Enterprise NI Awards (deadline for applications 30th June), Social Enterprise UK (deadline for applications 8th July) and the CIPR PRide Awards (deadline 14th June) with categories for Not for Profit, Healthcare and Community Relations campaigns.
Why apply?
The applications for these awards can be extensive and time consuming to complete, so are they worth the effort? 
Obviously if you win your category it is a fantastic boost for your brand and a great PR opportunity. Even after the initial post event PR of your win, if it is something worth shouting about such as Social Enterprise of the Year or Business of the Year you can use the accolade on your email signature and marketing material for the rest of the year which is a fantastic endorsement for your organisation.
In 2014 our parent social enterprise the NOW Group won Social Enterprise of the Year and Chief Executive Maeve Monaghan was named Social Enterprise Women’s Champion at the Social Enterprise Northern Ireland Awards, which resulted in a great profile building opportunity for the organisation. 
Even if you don’t win your category, the promotional opportunities that come with being shortlisted also provide a chance to tell your story and the networking opportunities at the event itself could lead to some promising connections. It’s also a great chance for your staff to have a good night out and be rewarded for their hard work.
Demonstrate your impact
The reason we at Gauge are interested in awards is that the process of submitting an application for an award is similar, although on a much smaller scale, to carrying out a social impact report. It is a good opportunity to stop and reflect, gather evidence and report.
We’ve written before about why we believe impact measurement is so important and how organisations can measure and demonstrate their impact and many of these principles can be applied to awards applications as well.
The way to make sure your application stands out from the rest is by using evidence to demonstrate the impact of your business, partnership, product or service. You will need to take time to reflect on what has been successful in the campaign or service you are nominating and then use data, case studies and quotes as evidence to back this up. If possible including diagrams, infographics and testimonies, similar to those we use in Impact Cards, will help you stand out from the crowd and get the judges attention.
Reward your impact
Awards are a great opportunity to get recognition for you and your team’s hard work throughout the year and can be a great PR and marketing opportunity for your brand. Check out the following awards which are coming up and may be of interest. Good luck!
Social Enterprise Awards Northern Ireland – Recognising excellence in the social enterprise sector in Northern Ireland. Categories include Social Enterprise of the Year, Consumer Facing Social Enterprise and Social Impact Award. Deadline for applications 30th June.
UK Social Enterprise Awards – Rewarding excellence in the social enterprise sector throughout the UK. Categories include UK Social Enterprise, Social Enterprise Women’s Champion and International Impact. Deadline for applications 8th July.
The CIPR PRide Awards – These awards recognise outstanding PR campaigns which have delivered impact. Categories which may be of interest include Community Relations Campaign, Not-for-Profit Campaign and Healthcare Campaign. Deadline for applications 14th June.
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Gauge NI: 15-17 Grosvenor Road, Belfast, BT12 4GN