Award blog: yellow paper award ribbon on a blue background

Is it Really an Award if you paid for it?

It is Award season but if you have had to pay to enter, did you really win it?

In my last year of school I was a candidate for the Head Girl. Every class had to put someone forward and I was the chosen one.

I put my all into my speech, really thinking about what would make a difference to the sixth formers when I represented them. 

On the day I took a deep breath and went for it. I even made the sixth form head physically take my one page proposal to allow half days for our year group. 

Everyone said that I was great, surprised even of my confidence to go speak in front of 126 bleary eyed, half bothered sixth formers. 

Yet I didn’t win. 

Even some of my friends didn’t vote for me. The reason? Because with all the will in the world I wasn’t popular enough to make a difference. 

Yes, even in school Head Girl voting there is politics.

Award Winning (payable by cash, card or cheque…)

The other day in a WhatsApp group of my closest business friends someone posted a link to enter business awards. 

Awards can be a great achievement for any business; recognising their hard work and perseverance within their industry. 

I had heard of the awards before and winning one would be a significant achievement for my business. However, when I went to look at the categories I realised that there was an entry fee – I would have to pay £150+ to even have my business considered.

When you have to pay for an award, in my opinion it is no longer an award. You are then doing it for strategic gain for your business. An award by its very definition is: “a prize or other mark of recognition given in honour of an achievement” not who can pay to enter.

Being Selective (even before you enter…)

The main core of my business works with new companies. Businesses who are less than 5 years old but are doing some absolutely incredible work to increase awareness of causes and create change. These businesses have every right to be considered for an award, but like myself they won’t have the budget to enter into an award. Their money is invested in their business so that they can continue helping others and, after last year, surviving. 

Having worked in the corporate world I have seen how these types of paid awards work. Once submitted there is a massive campaign to prove they deserve the award: There are dinners, networking events, chats over emails to get people to remember when it comes to voting, or chatting to the judges to show how well deserved they are to have this award. 

It’s a popular vote all over again. And that is not how awards of any kind should be.

I would love to win an award for my business. But not because I’ve paid for it or chatted to someone who can influence the outcome. 

But because I deserve it. 

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