Building Your Special Event around an Awards Program

2010 DeKalb Public Safety Champion Awards

“Who is your Pubic Safety Champion?”

The DeKalb Police Alliance was trying to find a way to increase awareness and funding through their upcoming special event. They knew they needed that something special to tell their story and brand their event.

The 2010 DeKalb Public Safety Champion Awards filled the bill! The awards competition became the story, increasing interest in the organization and the upcoming Police Officers Ball. And, it became the linchpin that pulled together all the elements of the event.

The awards honored men and women in public safety and the community who went above and beyond the call of duty to keep everyone safe. An eye-catching nomination form highlighting the Champion Award statuette was key to all promotional activities, including presentations, press releases, social media initiatives and articles. An on-line nomination form gained the most nominations. All people and organizations nominated were recognized as Champion Honorees; the winners were recognized and saluted at the event.

Here are some hints on how you can create an awards program to better tell your story:

  1. Brainstorm – Invite board members and stakeholders to the table. Explore what type of awards program works best with your mission. With the police alliance it made sense to honor people committed to public safety. Look in your arena for best fits.
  2. Make sure you have buy-in from your board– This is key to your success.
  3. Check the Calendar – make sure no other organization is having a similar awards program around the same time as yours.
  4. Be creative and consistent with your messaging and graphic design – Be sure that you take full advantage of the program’s potential by weaving powerful messages and graphics throughout your event.
  5. Find an awards sponsor – Write your proposal to show the awards program benefits to sponsors.
  6. Publicize, publicize, publicize – Create a dynamic program using traditional and social media. Benchmark your successes and analyze responses to see what segment of your market you’re missing.
  7. Use the event wrap-up to position next year’s award program. Start building anticipation. Invite this year’s winners to reach out into their communities to nominate.

Your awards program will unearth many meaningful stories and help ensure your success. If you want guidelines for event management and sponsorships, please contact me directly –

Lessons from Al Gore

“If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter which way you go!”

Honorable Al Gore addresses 21st Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture. Photo credit Chris Savas

Honorable Al Gore addresses 21st Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture. Photo credit Chris Savas

What sage advise from the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.

There is an old African proverb that says, “if you want to go quickly go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”

We have to go far, quickly. – Al Gore

My next post describes the planning and execution of the 21st Annual Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture featuring The Honorable Al Gore. More than 3000 people joined us for this extraordinary evening.

The success was the result of planning, planning & more planning to figure out which way we were going.

So, please join me so we can figure out how to go far, quickly — together.