Virtual alumni awards during Covid-19 restrictions
To say times are tough is an understatement. But it’s also a time to double down our efforts to engage and provide value to your alumni and students when they need it most through virtual alumni awards. Sure, on campus events may need to be postponed, but that DOES NOT mean that you need to cancel or postpone your alumni awards. Instead, it’s a time to innovate and virtualize your award management activities and provide students and alumni the value they deserve. Here are a few tips to get you started in creating virtual alumni awards and examples of what the University of Georgia is doing at their alumni association!
Virtual alumni awards: Split the effort
Make the entry process two parts. One part for the nominator and one part for the nominee. It’s essential to lower the barrier to submit to increase volume of nominations but at the same time, it’s essential to capture the data necessary for the review committees to make data driven and insightful decisions. So, what does this look like?
The nominator portion
- Basic entry process that makes it easy for nominators to enhance experience and increase volume of submissions.
- Capture only the essentials. The who, the what, and the why.
- Input the info for who they are nominating (this is where Reviewr magic takes over to “invite” the nominee to their portion.
- Have an all year nomination (or submission if this is a grant or scholarship) period. While you may have dedicated time-frames for review and selection. This allows you to keep the bucket full of entries and decrease marketing efforts needed.
The nominee portion
- Using one of Reviewrs dedicated recipes, have an auto generated message sent to the nominee.
- The nominee will access their portion of the nomination with dedicated content for them to submit. This will be both more personal information as well as time intensive.
- By having the nominee submit the time intensive and personal data we can ensure two things.
- A) The data is accurate.
- B) There is a consistent process and effort by all submissions that get reviewed. While we love nominations, not all nominators are made equal and it may be unfair to evaluate only their work.
- Using more Reviewr magic, leverage the automated letter of recommendation workflow.
- This will notify writers of recommendations via email and provide them a link to upload their document. This will then get attached to the nominees profile (and can control privacy).
Virtual alumni awards: Less text, more media
It’s 2020, embrace the digital experience by collecting virtual alumni awards multimedia during the application process. Multimedia is more personal, engaging, and powerful for future marketing collateral.
Ideas for multimedia based submissions
- Video letter of recommendation or testimonials.
- Personal video essays or interviews by the applicant.
- Explainer videos instead of short answer and essays.
Things to think about
- Tools like Reviewr are necessary for capturing multimedia.
- Not only is Reviewr necessary for multimedia uploads, but it’s embedded document viewer recipe is crucial during the review and evaluation process.
- Utilize the power of multimedia in public showcase/celebration of entries. Even incorporate an element of “public” voting.
- Lastly, multimedia is perfect for marketing and showcasing entries for future call for entries.
Virtual alumni awards: Remote committee and team collaboration
If we could outline the most important aspect of virtualzing award, grants, and scholarships – it would be the review committees experience. Often, review committees are volunteers balancing both their work/life alongside their volunteer obligations. It’s critical to provide them a streamlined experience while also engaging them.
Online submission review and selection
- Using a tool like Reviewr to centralize the entire award, grant, and scholarship selection process is a must.
- This centralized hub will be home to accessing submissions, viewing the uploading material, and completing the online scoring/review.
- Automate the tabulation of scorecards to ensure data accuracy and integrity.
- Provide a split screen process so the committee can both view the submission while evaluating it.
- Offer a note taking section for both themselves as well as the potential to share with other reviewers or even the applicant for feedback.
- The day of in-person all day meetings is long gone.
- How do we combine the scoring process with the necessary subjective deliberation meetings.
- Leverage tools like Zoom to power virtual deliberation meetings
- Share the review process and notes in advance to prepare the review committee.
Virtual alumni awards: Community engagement through celebration
At the end of the day, your awards, grants, and scholarships are the essential programs offered to your audience. While it’s important to discuss ways to streamline operations, its equally important to focus on the overall experience and ways to engage your audience from start to finish.
- Publicly display the profiles of your entries. Pick and choose what data you want to make publicly available.
- Showcase the videos and multimedia captured during the entry process.
- Leverage the power of social sharing to showcase the submitted work to friends, family, and the community.
- Involve your community during the review/selection process by incorporating public voting.
- Lastly, utilize a public showcase workflow as a way to archive data and showcase historical recipients.
At Reviewr, we are passionate about our clients and the programs our technology powers. While we understand many elements of in person events are in a stage of limbo – we want to make sure we help you control what can be controlled. Now more than ever it’s essential to run virtual alumni awards and by leveraging our dedicated recipes, not only can we completely virtualize them but also enhance the experience for years to come. Are you doing innovative and unique things to virtualize your programs? Drop us a comment and reach out – we’d love to hear!