Navigating the Award Application Process: A Step-by-Step Guide for Administrators


Award program administrators face several challenges in the management and execution of their programs. These challenges can vary depending on the nature and scope of the awards, but some of the common ones include:

Eligibility and Criteria

Determining who is eligible for the award and establishing clear and fair criteria for evaluation can be challenging. Striking the right balance between inclusivity and maintaining the integrity of the award is often a concern. Once the eligibility and criteria has been determined, ensure that this information is clearly displayed on your system’s welcome page in order to reduce ineligible applications.


Ensuring transparency in the selection process is crucial to maintain trust and credibility. Administrators must be transparent about the criteria, judges’ decisions, and the overall process. Clearly state this information on the system welcome page so that applicants understand the entire process from end to end.

Promotion and Outreach

Attracting qualified applicants or nominations can be difficult. Administrators must invest in effective marketing and outreach strategies to reach potential candidates or nominators.  If your organization has a communications team, then engage that team to assist with the promotion to your target audience.

Judging and Evaluation

Selecting the winners or recipients of the award can be challenging. Maintaining a fair and unbiased evaluation process while accommodating a diverse range of candidates is a constant concern. An award management system can provide a review rubric in the form that your reviewers or judges require, making it easier for the judges to complete their evaluations.  Additional features such as private notes and shared critiques can provide additional insights for administrators and judges.


As award programs grow in popularity, administrators must be prepared to handle an increasing number of applications, nominations, and inquiries. Scaling up operations while maintaining quality can be demanding.  Award management systems streamline the application process by providing real-time status and data updates and automating tasks such as email reminders and reviewer assignments, saving valuable time that could be spent manually managing these processes.

Technology and Data Management

Implementing and managing technology solutions for application submissions, tracking, and communication can be complex. Ensuring data security and privacy is also essential.  Having a dedicated project manager year over year who understands custom workflows and processes ensures that administrators have the ongoing support they need.

Stakeholder Engagement

Administrators often need to manage relationships with various stakeholders, including sponsors, judges, nominees, and winners. Maintaining positive interactions and meeting their expectations can be challenging. Training sessions and ongoing communications with your stakeholders well help them feel confident with your process, program and system.

Feedback and Improvement

Collecting and incorporating feedback from participants and judges is essential for the continuous improvement of the award program. Managing this feedback effectively can be time-consuming.  Following up with a feedback survey after your program cycle has ended to participants and judges will provide you with the information to improve your program year over year.  This feedback survey can be implemented within your award system, or become part of your application process itself.


Ensuring the long-term sustainability of the award program, including securing funding for future editions, can be a significant challenge.

Diversity and Inclusion

Promoting diversity and inclusion in the award program, both in terms of applicants/nominees and judges, is increasingly important. Striking a balance between recognizing excellence and fostering diversity can be complex.

Time Management

Coordinating all aspects of the award program and meeting deadlines, especially in programs with tight schedules, requires effective time management skills.  Using an all-in-one award management system that not only has all the features and processes that you require, but also allows for other types of programs to be included in a single system, such as volunteer recruitment, board nominations and more, making your system a one-stop shop for all of your programs within your organization.

Post-Award Engagement

Keeping past winners engaged with the program, leveraging their success stories, and tracking additional documents required to be submitted by winners over the ensuring years can be challenging.  Ensure your award management system can offer these features to not only help you maintain everything in a single system, but to help your program’s reputation grow by showing it’s value year over year.

Ready to take your programs to the next level? Award management software might just be the answer you’ve been looking for. Contact us to learn how RQ Awards Management System can assist in implementing these essential best practices to free up your time and allow you to focus on more important tasks.

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