Dina Henry

Dina Henry

Chief Operating Officer
CAF Bank

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Among the privileges of my role at CAF Bank is being involved in charity awards events, as a sponsor or judge. These celebrations of charitable work offer organisations, large and small, a brilliant platform to show the difference your team makes for the people who turn to you.

Here’s a reminder of the benefits of entering and some top tips to impress the judges.


It’s easier than you think

If you suspect that writing an award entry may be a time-consuming and painful process, you are not alone. To encourage more entries, many event organisers have simplified their award entry process and share lots of useful advice on how to make your submission shine.

Writing an entry offers invaluable insight

Entering an award is a useful learning process, whether or not you’re successful. Writing your entry will bring out your organisation’s strengths. It can help you consider areas for improvement too. Just as important, it will test how effectively you’re able to evidence your organisation’s impact.

Recognition brings credibility

Winning an award, or even being shortlisted, could make a huge difference to your cause.  It can boost your organisation’s profile, bringing it to the attention of more supporters and beneficiaries. An accolade helps to build credibility, persuading donors, funders and service commissioners of the impact of your organisation’s work. Winning an award can also boost the morale of your staff and volunteers, and provide renewed impetus to build on the work that your organisation does.


There are many reasons for entering an award, but it helps to be clear what you hope to gain before starting work on your pitch.

So you have decided to enter for an award. Which one do you choose?

It’s important to enter an award that’s not only credible, but will also help to showcase what is unique about your work.  The UK Awards List is a useful starting point to explore established awards events.

Among the awards celebrating the achievements of organisations with a charitable purpose are:

Do your homework

Research the awarding body and, if possible, get in touch with previous winners of the award that you’re considering entering. Their experiences can help you to understand more about the entry process, how they went about their application and what winning the award has meant for their cause.


You know your organisation best: its mission, people and the difference you make for your beneficiaries. So you’re best placed to write the award entry. Here are some key things to consider including in your application, to make it stand out to the judges.

Effective organisation

Demonstrate the effectiveness of your charity’s leadership and governance. Show how you follow recognised best practice in your operational processes. Provide evidence of the cost-effective outcomes and impact you have achieved in delivering your mission, over a period of time.

Innovative approach

Judges are looking for well-run, effective organisations, first and foremost.

To really stand out, show innovation in your organisation’s approach to achieving its mission. This could be new ways of tackling problems, working with beneficiaries to improve your services, engaging with your staff and volunteers, or offering donors a better insight into the value of their support.

Highlight how your organisation is continually developing and improving, by adapting to the evolving environment in which you operate and the changing needs of your beneficiaries.

Passionate about your cause

Finally, make sure your team's passion for the great work that you do shines through, and good luck!

We would love to hear about your successes, and help to share the good news. Please do let us know whenever your organisation is shortlisted for an award or receives an accolade.