The right awards

Web big charityawards-14.06.18 0182

Alex Thomson: Bogus awards ceremonies are trying to make money out of charities, instead get your ego-boost from a reputable charity-backed programme

TFN Guest's photo

12th February 2019 by TFN Guest 2 Comments

A company is currently targeting Scottish charities and their staff to entice them to a money making awards ceremony with no third sector input or credibility. My advice is to stay well clear.

If you receive an email from Creative Oceanic telling you you’ve been nominated for a Scottish Diversity Award, view it with caution. You could email them back to ask who has nominated you, but I’d be amazed if they’d tell you.

Alex Thomson

Alex Thomson

You may also be surprised to find yourself just one of thirty-odd categories with 10 nominations in each category. You’ll be surprised because there’s no website or list of nominations publicly available. And the judging panel? Who knows – that’s a mystery too.

It’s an ego boost to get an email telling you you’ve been nominated for an award, but it’s important to put your pride aside and consider it from all angles before jumping on the phone to spend charity money on purchasing tickets, travel and accommodation.

Reputable awards ceremonies, like the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations run Scottish Charity Awards, can make a big difference to your work. Winning or even being a finalist for an award can boost future funding applications. It can also give your supporters a boost, attending the ceremony is a great reward for the hard work of staff and board members, and promoting it on your website and social media can boost public confidence in your cause.

SCVO has been running the Scottish Charity Awards for 13 years and it is supported by our 2,000 members as well as the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, which helps us to ensure that all the charities nominated are above board.

Most of the award entries are self-nominated – if you think your project or staff member is worth of an award we encourage you to apply. Some of the individual awards are nominations, but we will always be completely open about who has nominated you – it’s usually your boss or a staff member who works closely with you.

Over the years, we have honed the judging of the Scottish Charity Awards to a fine art. The initial entries are shortlisted and verified by an internal team with years of knowledge and experience of the Scottish third sector – colleagues from TFN, SCVO’s policy team, employability team and information service are all involved. The finalists are judged by a panel of third sector experts, the majority of whom work for a third sector organisation.

All organisations who are shortlisted for a Scottish Charity Award get two free tickets to the awards ceremony plus the opportunity to have additional places at a subsidised rate and tables are sold at one rate for charities and another for private sector stakeholders. This is not a money making exercise for SCVO, our primary purpose is to recognise and reward some of the amazing work going on the sector every year. Doing so helps to boost the role of the whole sector in public life.

So if you get a flattering email from a company you’ve never heard of, please tread carefully. Bogus awards ceremonies won’t offer the credibility you seek and may even be viewed negatively by supporters. Fortunately, though, there’s a range of respectable awards programmes out there for Scottish charities, as well as the Scottish Charity Awards, I’d encourage you to apply to the Scottish Fundraising Awards run by the Institute of Fundraising, or the RSPB run Nature of Scotland Awards, for example. There’s plenty of opportunity to get that ego boost you deservedly seek!

Alex Thomson is SCVO’s event manager

Entries for the Scottish Charity Awards are now open – check out the 7 categories and find out how to enter at

12th February 2019 by HighlandNelson83

Seem to be really similar events to me? Poor to bring down other events that are also recognising some fantastic people in the sector

13th February 2019 by Creative Oceanic

We can’t help but notice that you have now posted multiple articles around different award ceremonies we hold in Scotland. You’ve also used the opportunity to promote awards ceremonies you are associated with.Unfortunately your articles are spreading misinformation and we’d like to validate a few points you’ve addressed:• All Scottish Diversity Award finalists are aware of their judging process • Our statement detailing our full nomination process is public information • We offer every non-profit, constituted group or social enterprise two free tickets (even free tables for some) and heavily discount other finalists • Website coming soon – up until now, social media has worked wonders for us and we recommend every small business use it to the best of their advantage • We take great offence to you labelling our award ceremonies ‘bogus’ – kindly tell us why our awards are as successful as they are if they really are ‘bogus’? • Our Award ceremonies mean so much more to all those involved than an ‘ego boost’ as you strangely put it. They raise the profile of individuals and organisations involved, allow them to access greater opportunities, obtain more funding, network, distinguish themselves from others, have a wonderful night with industry peers and more. We have delivered multiple awards in different cities across many countries and have seen firsthand the extent to how much an award or nomination can help organisations flourish. ‘Ego boost’ is disempowering and unnecessary language. • The right awards? It’s almost as if people can’t be recognised by multiple entities for their work… why can’t they attend both ceremonies?Your agenda is painstakingly clear – we’re doing the same thing so come to ours instead. You can market your own awards successfully without putting down others – take it from us, we’ve been doing it for years.Creative Oceanic are more than happy to have an open and honest conversation with SCVO – we welcome you to our offices in the Southside of Glasgow for a cup of tea and a chat around what we do and how we can best we can both promote and support Diversity in Scotland.