|So, you're ready to apply for a membership to an ethics organizations? Whether it’s Apex, Cem/Cema, AECG or a more recent one, is your heart is set on becoming a member of one if not, all of these great organizations? And does the thought of having your awards program listed with any one of the above just sends chills down your spine with excitement?|
Well, let's assume you said yes to all these questions . . .
So, after what seems like hours of reading and rereading the criteria over and over again, you feel it’s time. The moment of truth has come, the application.
Once at the application you read the directions as if they are the last words you will ever set your eyes on. Over and over again you contemplate whether your award program is going to cut the mustard or not. Finally you go for it and take the dive. You read each question at least three times before filling in each blank on the application. Making sure all the i's have been dotted and all the t's have been crossed and finally it’s done, the application is complete and ready to go. With one deep breath you click the “send” button and it’s off - your application is on it’s way to what you hope is greatness! That's when process then begins.....
Hours become days, days become weeks, and then one day ... it’s there. You happen to check your email and you see it, that long awaited reply. You lean forward in your chair and prepare to open the most important email you feel you will ever receive in your award giving career. You “click” on it and start to read.
That’s when you feel your legs getting weak and your stomach drops to the floor. You realize that your worst nightmare has just come true ... rejection! Now what do you do? That is what I'm going to cover in this article, what I call Picking Up The Broken Pieces. I came up with this title because after receiving that rejection your first feeling is that your once loved awards program has just been smashed into a thousand little pieces that you feel will never be able to be fixed. But rest assured, it can be fixed and I'm going to tell you how.
The very first thing you should do in this situation is to take a step back and take a breather. Remember, it's not the end of the world even though it may seem to be at this time. Once you have done this and feel you’re ready to proceed here's what you need to do:
Reread the email you received. This is important because most of the above organizations will usually list the area’s in which your program needs to be improved on in the email and if they don’t, guess what? Ask. That’s right, don’t be afraid to ask the organization what you need to improve on in order to gain your membership with them. Believe it or not, they want you to succeed and become a member of their organization. There isn't one of the above organizations that wouldn't want you as a member and despite receiving that dreaded email, it's the truth.
Take one broken area at a time. Don’t try to fix everything all at once. Read the first area over a couple of times to make sure you understand what the organization finds at fault with your program. Then look at your program and figure out a way to fix that area. Some times this doesn’t work because you work on your website so much and you have put so much of yourself into it, that you might not see the fault that the evaluators see. The best thing to do in this situation is to ask someone for help. By doing this you have what we evaluators call, “A fresh set of eyes.” This is a person who is in no way associated to your program and can catch the defaults that your loving eyes won’t. Whether you choose to have someone else look at your website or not, always and I repeat always remember the golden rule and that is, “Only go on to the next area in question, when the first area has been completed.”
When you have addressed all of the areas that were mentioned approach the organization yet again. This time not to reapply, but to ask the organization if there is anyone who would be willing to review your program before resubmitting it. By doing this, you will give yourself two advantages over any other applicant. The first advantage is simple, “A fresh set of eyes.” that's right. A fresh set of eyes except, these eyes are from a member of the organization in question. This person is a member already and pretty much knows what the organization expects in most cases. The second advantage is that this shows the organization in question that you are truly serious in your pursuit to be a member. This may give you that little extra boost to put you over the top.
Check, check, and triple check your website before resubmitting it again. There is nothing worse for an evaluator then to reject the same website yet again because one of the problems was not addressed.
Being an awards program owner and evaluator myself, I am confident that if you follow these easy steps that you will in fact be able to pick up the broken pieces and gain that membership you have always wanted.
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