Entry is free and open to national charities of all sizes. There is a £35,000 prize pot to be shared, with winning entries receiving a £5,000 unrestricted grant.
The Charity Governance Awards have seven categories recognising excellence in governance, covering digital innovation, board diversity and inclusivity, managing turnaround, embracing opportunity, and improving impact.
To enter, a charity must have been established before 31 December 2016 and be registered in the UK. A charity may submit a single entry into only one of the following categories:
- Board Diversity and Inclusivity
- Embracing Digital
- Embracing Opportunity and Harnessing Risk
- Improving Impact – charities with 3 paid staff or fewer (including charities with no paid staff)
- Improving Impact – charities with 4–25 paid staff
- Improving Impact – charities with 26 paid staff or more
- Managing Turnaround
Entries must cover activities undertaken in the last five years (2014 – 2019); focus on the work of the main board, rather than sub-committees; be made by a trustee, employee or volunteer of the charity; and be signed off by the Chair or CEO.
Shortlisted entrants will be announced in April and invited to the awards ceremony at London’s historic Clothworkers’ Hall on 21 May 2020 where youth activist Becca Bunce will be this year’s guest speaker. Case studies of the shortlisted charities will be featured on the Awards website while free guidance to all charitable boards is offered under the ‘Advice and Resources’ page.
This is the fifth year of the awards, and members of the judging panel have offered some advice to charities on how to submit a successful entry:
- Tell a compelling story about the charity’s journey – and especially the Board’s role in that journey. Explain why you made decisions and how changes were implemented. Don’t leave it to the judges to piece the story together themselves.
- Be specific about change. Charities should be clear on the exact change or impact that has been achieved. Don’t use vague phrases in your entry like ‘great benefits’ or ‘more diverse’. Instead, spell out exactly what happened and why it is significant.
- Back up your statements with evidence. Use both figures and anecdotes to support your claims, demonstrating the difference between where you started and where you ended up.
- Be clear on the Board’s part in the process. Explain what roles the trustees adopted or actions they took to contribute to your success – if relevant, include how this evolved over time. You may want to ensure your entry is written by someone who understands the role the Board played in the charity’s achievements and how this contributed to the change or success you’re reporting.
- Don’t shy away from failure; explain how you handled challenges – failure is an opportunity for learning and improving.
The Charity Governance Awards are sponsored and hosted by The Clothworkers’ Company in partnership with consultancy NPC (New Philanthropy Capital), recruitment specialists Prospectus, and volunteer matching charity Reach Volunteering.
Main image: 2019 winners. Photo: Kate Darkins Photography
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