Making the Most of Your Final Decision

12/07/2018

From creating a call to reviewing applications, your organization has put a lot into your submission process. Although it may feel like this work is complete once reviewers have reached a decision, your approach to final steps—like promoting the outstanding individual(s) you’ve selected—is also significant. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to celebrate the results of your process in a strategic way.

Think ahead

Don’t let the big moment sneak up on you. Take time before and during your submission call to reflect on how best to share your good news, both with your final picks and beyond. Some of this information may also fit naturally in your guidelines, especially if you’ll be hosting an event to honor participants and winners.

Make a list of the steps you’ll follow and share the ones that might entice potential applicants as part of your call.

  • How will you notify applicants?
  • When and how will you share your results?
  • How will you follow up?

Strategize Storytelling

Your organization and submission opportunity are unique. How do the final applicant or applicants you’ve chosen tie into your special mission? Just as the care and time you’ve put into this call say something meaningful about your brand, so do the people you’ve chosen to recognize. Announcing the results of a submission process offers the perfect chance to showcase why your work matters on the human level.

Consider the story you want to tell, both as an organization and in this particularly important moment. Since the individuals or group you’ve selected are remarkable in some way, you might ask them to help you tell the story. If you’re using submission software with a feature like additional forms, you can easily collect storytelling content, such as photos and quotes, from the appropriate parties for promotional purposes. A meaningful narrative will serve both your organization and your awardee(s).

Gather Resources

Depending on your submission process, you could begin gathering the materials you’ll need to share final decisions well before they are reached. For example, asking applicants up front for a headshot and biographical statement along with their application can save time when you need to announce results quickly. Since you’ll need permission to utilize these and other items within each submission, be sure to obtain it early. To this end, you might include a required checkbox within your application for permissions, send an additional form to collect the information, or include an “agreement to terms” field in your acceptance letter.

The following items could be useful for telling your story:

  • Images (of individuals and project work)
  • Video/audio
  • Quotes
  • Biographical information

Spread the Word

When you’re ready, there are countless ways to get your exciting news out there. Take advantage of the networks you already utilize and try for new connections.

Promotion possibilities include:

  • Your website
  • Social media
  • Email blast
  • Your newsletter
  • A press release
  • Re-sharing your awardee’s announcements
  • Running an advertisement

Follow up

Even after you’ve celebrated and promoted your final selections, there are still opportunities to benefit from all this hard work. Monitor your promotion efforts to see which communications received the most traction and which could have done better. This information can help drive your promotion decisions on a future submission call. If you have a reporting tool, pull valuable data for your next application round.

Keeping in touch with the people you’ve chosen is also important for a number of reasons:

  • See how your acknowledgment contributed to their lives
  • Track the progress of a funded project
  • Support and promote their future achievements
  • Collect data to gauge your organization’s impact
  • Ask for feedback to improve your process

You may wish to determine a specific timeline for check-ins, perhaps every three months or every six. Encourage the people you’ve selected to keep in touch—their upcoming successes are a testament to the importance of your organization.

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The closing steps of any submission process are just as important as the initial ones, if not more so. Taking the time to strategize and implement a thoughtful system for sharing the final results of your call will serve your organization, both now and in the future.

Rachel Mindell

Rachel Mindell is a content creator and strategist for Submittable's Marketing and Product Teams. She also writes and teaches poetry. You can find Rachel's creative work here: rachelmindell.com