Virtual competitions during Covid-19 restrictions

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Virtual competitions 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 students and entrepreneurs when they need it most. Sure, on campus events may need to be postponed, but that DOES NOT mean that you need to cancel or postpone your entrepreneurship competitions. Instead, it’s a time to innovate and virtualize your competition 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 examples of what the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland is doing to run virtual competitions.

Virtual competitions: Multi-phase workflows
Managing  virtual competitions has many moving pieces. Specially, managing the necessary multi-phase workflows. These workflows are in place to help narrow down and make a qualified selection of competition winners. 
Elements of a multi-phase workflow
  • Team building
    • Display both prospective applicants and teams searching for team members.
    • Intent to compete before applying
      • Gauge interest and begin judge recruitment by doing an intent to compete. This also allows competition admins to follow up with interested applicants.
      • Early stage feedback round
        • Collect submissions and provide feedback, allowing teams to update their submissions based on provided insights.
        • Round specific uploads
          • Collect dedicated deliverables based on the round such as executive summaries, business plans, and pitch videos.
Virtual competitions: Less text, more media

It’s 2020, embrace the digital experience by collecting multimedia during the virtual competition 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 competitions: 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.

Collaborate online

  • 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 competitions: Community engagement through celebration

At the end of the day, your virtual competitions 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.

Public showcase/recognition

  • 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!

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