Social impact awards go both ways: they reward those who do well and encourage others to do the same. These award-winning organizations recognize social and environmental leadership and innovation for their role in building a fair, diverse and conscientious marketplace.
Receiving a social or environmental impact award has many benefits. In addition to the recognition of winning the award itself, the doors are opened to unique networking opportunities (with past and other winners and award sponsors, that is), you are more likely to win future awards, and your organization has gained the reputation it can help attract. New customers. Some also come with good cash prizes.
In order to receive an award for organizational social and environmental change, you need to understand what these awards mean, not to mention how you can get your organization in the running.
Social and Environmental Impact Awards: Understanding Recognition
While each award is unique, areas of interest follow specific themes that change, such as global concerns and climate change. In general, they understand social and environmental leadership, influence and innovation.
Corporate awards often focus on corporate leaders using their influence and connections to create unique partnerships and models for success. They are change makers who inspire others to do good.
Other awards give priority to companies that develop new, innovative products or business models that solve a specific social or environmental need. A good example is Boston College’s Corporate Citizenship Innovation Awards, which recognize companies for environmental innovation and innovative program design.
Others still focus on social justice and community development. The two often go hand in hand, and corporate awardees show how creating fair opportunities to address inequality can make a real impact in society—often in a way that’s repeatable and scalable.
Only certain social impact rewards apply to your business. If your organization doesn’t focus on sustainability, climate change or conservation, it makes little sense to pursue an environmental finance award.
But it’s becoming more common to see award-winning organizations integrate social and environmental criteria into their awards programs, so business owners should follow suit.
A good example is the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Despite the different award categories, all nominated organizations want to consider the environmental impact of their activities, diversity and inclusion management, and innovation in using technology to maximize impact.
Build social responsibility into your business strategy
And so your company’s character, from its policies to its business, is always taken into account when running for a corporate responsibility award.
For example, you must have environmentally friendly business practices to receive awards for the environment—or any other modern impact award. You want to work with other organizations and vendors who show the same commitment to the environment as you do. Simply put, don’t just be a poser. Practice your values in everything you do.
You must also demonstrate commitment to the safety of your employees. Build diversity and inclusion into your policies and procedures. Engage in healthy employee recognition and consider your employees’ values when building corporate responsibility programs and encouraging employee engagement—for example, by matching donations and providing more opportunities for employees to volunteer in the community.
A socially responsible entity finds itself at the intersection of the above core values. Consider incorporating creativity, equity, impact and sustainability into your practices.
Think about the influencer campaigns you can run in your organization. Rewards and awards that recognize employees for volunteering, creative ideas that reflect your company’s social values, or help implement programs can inspire impact at home.
Explore the award application and selection process
Finally, don’t forget all the paperwork and planning that goes into an award application.
Only certain awards are open to certain business types. Some are for nonprofits only, some for profit organizations, and some for certified social enterprises. And some, like the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, recognize ventures of all shapes and sizes. Don’t ignore eligibility and time should not be considered in applying.
Find out about nomination deadlines and requirements. Many awards, including the Schwab Foundation’s Social Innovation Award, require you to be nominated by someone other than yourself. Give yourself plenty of time to reach out to vendors, community stakeholders, and others who might consider nominating you for the award.
Whether you are selected or not, try again. Maintain a socially responsible business culture by seeking feedback, making improvements and striving for continuous improvement.