I’ve just spent an hour entering the Digital Agenda Awards.
Entering for prizes is a strange thing to do as a nonprofit. You have to shake off the feeling that you should be doing something more important. This gets worse when you notice that the questions you are filling out are very like the questions in the application for money that you should be working on.
One reason I’m entering is for the ego – I really think that the projects I’ve put forward (The Open Voice Factory and White Water Writers) are very strong and deserve to win. More to the point, it would be good if more people knew about them.
The other thing that’s a bit strange about Prizes is that it feels wrong to nominate yourself. The Digital Agenda awards try and have this both ways: you out your contact information, and then fill out a different set of contact information for the person you are nominating, which is also you. This means you are feeling like a fake when you reach the questions, which are:
- The idea – what is your core proposition?
- Product or service – describe the digital innovation that you offer
- Team – tell us about the people working on this
- Ability to scale – explain how you plan to grow your take-up and reach
- Impact – explain how your product or service makes a positive social and/or economic change and what evidence you have to support this
… and would be very hard to fill out if I was nominating someone else.
I feel like that the best way of thinking about entering for prizes as a nonprofit is that they are a ‘proposal training’. They are short tests to check you are thinking strategically about what you want to do and how you want to do it. If you start one and haven’t got anything to write, that might be a sign you have to do some long-term thinking…