How to build transparency and trust in your awards program

by | May 17, 2022 | Articles, Blog

There is a lot that goes into running a successful awards program, and it all starts with a solid foundation built on trust.

Your awards program participants are expecting a highly relevant, contextual and personalised experience. And most importantly, if your participants don’t trust your organisation, they won’t enter your program.

Earning your participants’ trust and their loyalty starts with transparency. Why?  It shows participants you care. It instills respect and recognition for your brand and program.  It fosters a connection. Transparency attracts trust, which creates a safe place for participants to connect and engage.

 Transparency also builds credibility. An ambiguous program will only discourage entrants from submitting their entries, generating extra work and stress in attracting quality entrants.

And, remember, judges require attention too. They are usually industry experts, and they will expect clear evidence of your impact, not vague policy statements.

So how can you build trust in your awards program and foster a culture of transparency?

1. Create an awards program website that speaks for itself

Your awards webpage is a reflection of your program. It’s the hub for all your program information. It should include your awards program details, your terms and conditions, judging criteria, timelines, winners and more.

Make sure every participant has the information they need on hand—whether they are judges, program managers or entrants. Don’t make them dig for it because it will create frustration and a drop in the number of entry applications.

In Award Force, you can create an “About page” in the platform to provide additional information about your program. You can also add contextual help and hint text throughout the entry process to provide the information your participants need where and when they need it.

2. Keep the communication flowing

Look at your awards program from the entrant’s point of view. If you were entering your awards program, what would you want to know? When would you want updates?

Make sure you establish the right means of communication with your participants whether they are entrants, judges, sponsors or program managers. Consider communicating important updates in the awards lifecycle, such as: 

  • Entries open and close dates
  • The call for judging
  • Winner announcements
  • Event or follow-up notifications

In Award Force, you can use broadcast and notification functionality to regularly communicate with your program participants directly from the platform.  

Awards email reminders

3. Provide continuous feedback

Feedback is a must-have tool for any performance assessment so it’s important you use it as often as possible. Providing feedback to your entrants makes them feel they matter and the effort they put in to apply to your awards program is being noticed. 

Engage your judges in the feedback process and make sure they understand your entrants’ need for qualitative and constructive reviews. Learn more about providing constructive feedback.

In Award Force, you can create a judging process that requires judges to leave comments and feedback on each entry. 

Awards feedback

4. Protect your participants’ data

It’s important that your awards participants feel safe sharing their data with your program. Features like data encryption, audit logs and data regulation compliances are critical to safeguard your program’s data.

In Award Force, you can take advantage of world-class security features to protect your program and data. We’re ISO/IEC 27001 certified and GDPR + CCPA compliant. And we’ll help make sure you are, too.

5. Use galleries to showcase your top entrants or winners

Recognition helps entrants see you value their contribution to your awards program.

Showcasing entries from your awards program can build trust in your organisation and motivate entrants to apply again in the future. 

In Award Force, you can use online galleries to promote your top entrants or winners.

Award Force online galleries

6. Ask for program feedback

Once your awards season is over, ask your program participants to provide feedback. Not only can you get actionable tips on what you can improve, but you can also see what’s working. 

Your participants will appreciate your honesty and desire to continuously improve.


In conclusion, transparency means winning the trust and loyalty of your entrants and judges. In order to do that, your program needs to show up as authentic, transparent and purposeful.

Want help in building transparency from the ground up? Award Force helps build integrity into your entire awards lifecycle, from submission to selection and awarding. 

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