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We’re delighted to welcome a host of new Board members to the TAF Board after a hotly-contested election! Thanks to everyone who put themselves forward for a position, all the members who voted and massive congratulations to the successful candidates.

We would also like to say a big thank you to Lisa Collins (IABM), Tom Bowtell (BCF) and Jon Vanstone (Certass) who have stood down from the Board this year. They all played an important role in helping to turnaround TAF after the pandemic and their contributions are greatly appreciated.

The new TAF Board members are:

Graham Stafford

Graham is the Chief Operating Officer at the Fed (The National Federation of Independent Retailers) – a trade organisation over 10,000 independent retail stores across the UK and Ireland.

Graham has been elected in the Band C Member category (20 -49 staff) and his term runs until 2026.

Julia Garvey

Julia is the Deputy Director General at British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), the trade association covering the entirety of the UK educational suppliers sector with more than 300 members.

Julia has been elected in the Band A (0-9 staff) category of members and will serve a term until 2026.

Richard Ellithorne

Richard is the Membership Services Director at Builders Merchants Federation, having previous worked at a number of other TAF members and having been involved in TAF in various forms in the past.

Richard has a particular interest in trade association benchmarking and will be supporting on TAF’s benchamrking outputs during his term in office.

Richard has been elected in the Band B (10-19 staff) category of members and will serve a term until 2026.

Richard Smith

Richard is the Managing Director of the Road Haulage Association, one of the larger members of TAF representing with more than 200 staff and 8,500 members, ranging from owner operators to those with fleets of over 1000 vehicles.

Richard has been elected in the Band D (49+ Staff) category of members and will serve a term until 2026.

Suneeta Johal

Suneeta is Chief Executive of the Construction Equipment Association, the trade association that represents the UK construction equipment sector with more than 140 members.

Suneeta has been co-opted onto the Board in the Band A (0-9 staff) category of membership.

Tim Doggett

Tim Doggett is the Chief Executive Officer of the Chemical Business Association (CBA) which represents the UK chemical supply chain.

Many CBA members are SMEs and include manufacturers, distributors, traders, warehouse operators, logistics and transport companies, as well as service providers and suppliers who collectively are the main chemical industry interface providing products and services to virtually every sector.

CBA members contribute more than £4 billion annually to the UK economy and employ over 10,000 people nationwide, handling in excess of 27 million tonnes and making over 2.25 million deliveries of chemicals each year.

Tim has been elected in the Band A (0-9 staff) category of members and will serve a term until 2026.


The next TAF Board meeting is happening in September in Birmingham, at which the Board will elect the Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer for the coming year. TAF Members will be notified as to the results of the election.

Organising awards is a challenge for any association out there and yet, absolutely worth it if done the right way. So, in an effort to help you out, we’ve prepared the top 10 tips for getting a successful programme off the ground. Read on to learn all about it.

1. Set goals to form a solid foundation for your programme.

Your goals form the basis of your awards programme. Take a look at some ideas of possible goals for your association awards:

      Recognise achievements  you can opt to celebrate milestones your members have achieved in your industry, recognize their overall performance, and so on.   

      Lift engagement  awards can boost your members’ engagement with your association during the entire lifecycle of your programme;

      Boost your association’s reputation  an awards programme will bring positive attention to your association (online buzz, media coverage, social media shares, likes, comments, etc.), with every subsequent edition amplifying the effect. 

      Get new members on board  the buzz and reputation of your awards programme could attract new entrants (especially if you opt to make your awards an annual occurrence) and prompt them to join your association.

2. Decide on the type of association awards you want to organise.

Once you set your goals, choose the type of awards you want to run. As an association, you have multiple awards options for your members — business awards, powerlists, awards recognising industry contributions, a competition to drive member engagement, etc. Choose the type that fits your goal(s) best.

3. Make a decision on whether to charge entry fees.  

Awards can be a great source of revenue for your association, which is where entry fees come in. Charging entry fees will also boost the credibility of your programme and draw more quality applications since your members are likely to pay more attention when crafting their entries if they have paid to submit them.

On the flip side, entry fees are not the best option for social impact programmes or in the case of powerlists.

So, depending on your specific case, decide whether to charge entry fees, make your awards free (and finance them with other revenue streams such as membership fees or sponsorships), or include a mix of paid and free categories.

4. If you charge entry fees, do it the right way.

While the choice is yours either way, if you do decide to charge entry fees, here’s how to get the best results:

      Charge fees at registration — this will ensure a higher submission rate since people are more likely to submit their entries if they’ve already paid to register for your awards;

      Add promo codes/discounts — offer a promo code to longer-term members, throw in a free category as part of your membership fee, or give an early-bird discount, all or any of these will create a sense of exclusivity and motivate your members to enter;

      Make payments convenient and secure — offer multiple payment options and do not compromise on the security of payments.

5. Plan the ultimate timeline for your awards.

Work on a timeline for your awards. Start with the date when you want the results announced. Do you want to recognize your association’s members come year-end? Or is late spring, right before summer kicks in, the ultimate time for your industry? Pick a date and work your way back, planning for sufficient time for every phase. Note that every awards program has four major phases:

      Registration — or the call for entries phase which usually is the longest one;

      Entry submission — the period where your applicants will submit their entries; this phase sometimes overlaps with the registration phase;

      Evaluation — the time set aside for jury (or public) voting;

      Announcement of finalists and winners, and/or an awards ceremony.

To ensure that all your phases run on time, with deadlines duly communicated, consider a software solution that streamlines all processes in one place and is equipped with email automation that will take care of reminders to entrants and judges.

6. Decide on the right budget for your awards.

No one said that organizing awards is cheap but it doesn’t have to break the bank either. Here are some must-haves to include in your budget plan:

      Budget for a solution — this type of software will take care of the bulk of your awards program and save the time and effort of your team, which is much more valuable. This way, you won’t need to budget for a temporary hire to take on the extra workload;

      Recognizing the winners — budget for any rewards for the winners (certificates, trophies, promo materials for winners, etc.) as well as an awards ceremony if you decide to have one;

      Set aside a marketing budget  — while you will likely promote your awards mainly among your membership base, using your own marketing channels don’t forget to budget for social media ads, and other types of paid advertising that will spread the word further in your industry, etc.

7. Invite outstanding industry experts to your jury.

The jury is crucial for your awards’ reputation so you need to ensure that you have the right experts onboard. A couple of things to consider:

      Look for renowned industry experts — if your association operates within a certain industry, it makes sense to gravitate towards experts in that field who will both lend credibility to your program and have the necessary expertise;

      Keep your jury happy — you want to make sure your jury doesn’t regret evaluating. To that end, try to provide them with a handy way to evaluate entries (such as a special portal) which ideally works on all devices. 

8. Avoid any possible conflict of interest.

Especially in the case of a more niche industry, you run the risk of a possible conflict of interest. So, make sure that none of the jury members are affiliated with any entrant. To completely insulate your association and your awards from any possible risks include the relevant provision in the terms and conditions you make the judges agree to.

9. Decide on how to recognize the winners 

Don’t forget to plan on recognizing the winners and giving a shout-out to all entrants. You can do that with: 

      A website — have a dedicated space to announce finalists and recognize winners;

      Prizes, marketing materials — plan on giving out physical trophies, promotional materials, digital seals, etc.

      An awards ceremony — regardless of whether you opt for a live, online, or hybrid awards ceremony, having one is a great way to build a sense of community among your membership base and enable networking.

The last tip for organizing association awards includes picking a software solution that will take care of the bulk of the above tips by streamlining your whole awards lifecycle and helping you grow. Evalato fits the bill by enabling you to:

      Collect entries — Evalato’s registration form can be embedded on your association’s website, boosting conversions. Your entrants meanwhile get a dedicated space to work on their entries and submit only when ready. 

      Empower evaluation — choose from multiple voting options and provide your jury with a judging portal, accessible on any device that will keep your industry experts happy.

      Select and announce winners — stay in charge with real-time scores and results, and use Evalato’s public applications page to recognize winners.  

      Measure results and grow — detailed sales analytics provide you with insight on how to improve and make the next edition of your programme more successful. 

What’s more, with Evalato you can run other types of programmes such as a call for abstracts, powerlists, competitions, CSR, and other programmes.

Association awards can make a real difference for your membership base, and organising them is as easy as it gets with Evalato. Don’t just take our word for it, try Evalato for free (no credit card required) and see for yourself.

This content is partnership content provided by TAF’s awards management partner, Evalato.

While awards are a proven way to boost your association’s revenue and marketing power, as well as attract new members, they also have indirect, albeit no less significant benefits.

Given the right tools, you can use awards to promote best practices among your membership base and beyond. Let’s see how it works.

Awarding best practices in your membership base

Awards are one of the most efficient ways to promote industry standards and best practices among your membership base. You can opt to reward certain practices or efforts implemented in your membership base, such as:

  • Various sustainability practices —such as implementing a recycling programme, eliminating paper use, using greener commute options, etc.
  • Use of renewable energy sources — investing and/or using solar, wind power, etc.
  • Inclusivity initiatives — inclusive team-building activities, organising international potlucks to celebrate diversity, etc.

To promote best practices in your membership base, you can:       

  • Set up a separate competition — you can select specific best practices and create an awards programme to draw attention to them;
  • Include categories in an existing programme —  if your association already runs awards and your usual programme is paid (after all, awards are a great source of revenue), you can make specific categories free to encourage participation;
  • Create a public-voting powerlist — you can also opt to recognise the people behind some extraordinary projects or best practices;
  • Set up an innovation challenge — you can promote best practices by organising a contest, hackathon, etc., giving out prizes to the most outstanding solutions;
  • Run grant or CSR programmes — setting up a grant or sponsorship programme will help award and promote best practices further, granting funding to the most impactful initiatives among your association’s members.

As a bonus, recognising best practices with your awards program will boost its positive image, potentially expanding your network in the process.

Spreading the word beyond your membership base

Awards are a powerful marketing and PR tool and as such, can be used to promote best practices in a circle that spreads beyond your membership base. The ripple effect can be quite impressive:

  • You showcase the winners — it starts with your organisation and showcasing the winners and their achievements. An awards management platform like Evalato has you covered with a specially dedicated webpage. You can also announce the results on social media, distribute marketing materials, create a special report etc., emphasising best practices.
  • The winners publicise the award — then, the winners are also likely to spread the word about the award they have received through their own marketing and communication channels, further enhancing the impact.
  • Media outlets show interest — ideally, media outlets could also show interest in the awards and the achievements behind them, garnering even more attention and publicity.

The positive buzz related to your awards that promote best practices (or any awards programme, for that matter) will certainly attract new entrants to the next edition of your programme, potentially enlarging your membership base and, by implication, the impact of your awards.     

Growing your success with the right tools

What you choose to reward is up to you. In any case, however, you will need a reliable solution to organise the awards and magnify their impact. Here’s how Evalato makes it work:

  • Quick set-up with templates — while promoting best practices with awards is an important undertaking, it doesn’t mean it has to be time-consuming too. Evalato enables you to set up your programme in under an hour, especially if you take advantage of their new preconfigured customisable templates which cover not only awards but also grants, competitions, hackathons, powerlists, etc.
  • Multiple categories — you can create as many categories as you wish, make them paid or free, or opt for a combination of both (for example, adding free best practices categories to a paid awards programme);
  • Showcasing winners — Evalato lets you tag winners and showcase their achievements on a ready-to-use webpage that will help generate positive buzz;
  • Cloning a programme —setting up awards as a regular, rather than a one-time event will further motivate stakeholders to apply the practices you have opted to reward to quality for the next edition. With Evalato, you can easily clone your programme and get it going for the next edition with minimum tweaks.

The bottom line

In a nutshell, awards give you the power to nudge your association members toward practices that would benefit both your organisation and the community. As a bonus, they will improve your association’s image and standing, and even help you expand your membership base.

See how Evalato can help you organise awards to promote best practices: evalato.com.  

This content is partnership content provided by TAF’s awards management partner, Evalato.

Watch the highlights from the 2023 Trade Association Awards below

On Thursday 23rd February 2023, more than 320 people gathered to celebrate the best of the UK trade association sector, recognising excellence across 18 categories including the coveted Trade Association of the Year!

See all the winners here.

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why start an awards competition?

Awards are more popular than ever. It’s all about being superior in sport, quality, service, industry, etc. If you wish to improve your brand recognition and your revenue, starting a business award program can be a real game-changer and quite beneficial for everyone associated, including the organizer, sponsors, program judges, everyone recognized with a nomination, and of course the worthy winners.

Awards as a source of revenue

There are usually two types of awards competitions:

  1. Paid awards – entrants pay a fee to enter the awards
  2. Free awards – entrants are either members of an association/membership organization and pay an annual fee that includes nominations for the awards or the awards competition is sponsored by a large organisation/corporation and entrants can enter for free

Both options are powerful tools to increase the revenue of your organization and are often the main source of revenue for some associations or membership organizations.

Obviously, starting an awards competition does not automatically mean increasing your revenue. In order to be successful, such programs should be approached strategically and every step should be planned well in advance.

It starts with understanding why other companies would consider being part of your awards.

It’s great marketing

Awards celebrate success and hard work, but also make for great PR opportunities. They’re a fantastic marketing tool, full stop! Any business can improve brand awareness and acquire new customers by simply being nominated, let alone winning an accolade.

A good benchmark

Participating in an awards competition is a good way to see how a company compares against the rest. Whether this is then used to convince future clients into doing business, or helps the company improve various aspects of their work, it’s always a win-win, no matter the benchmarking results.

Improved social trust

A business getting short-listed for an award is essentially viewed as a 3rd party endorsement. It can improve social trust in the nominated brand, which can then be used as a sales pitch, help retain existing clients, improve relationships with suppliers, stand out from the competition, etc.

Awards attract talent

It’s a way to strengthen a company’s hiring power. Award-winning companies pitch themselves as the best and this helps them attract better talent, which in turn empowers them to take their business to the next level.

Employee motivation

Awards essentially recognize the hard work of a company’s employees so an award or two often boosts staff morale and motivation. It also shows people what’s great about the company they work for and this gives them pride to be a part of that.

How to make it work?

Laying the groundwork

Set a budget and make sure you have some of it dedicated to marketing and the tools you’ll be using to make the program a pleasant experience for everyone involved. Consider your pricing strategy as well, it’s quite important. Figure out the key dates like entry submission, judging rounds, winner announcements, etc.

Building toward success

An awards program has a lot of moving parts and you will need a dedicated staff to keep everything on track. It helps to have people working on specific goals for the program with set deadlines. Remember that getting your awards ready for accepting entries requires an enormous amount of work.

Getting the right tools for the job

One of the big struggles with organizing a successful program is staying organized. At this point, no matter how big your team is, you will need a reliable end-to-end awards management platform. This is basically where a tool like Evalato takes over and helps you literally every step of the way.

  • Streamline and automate your work. Saves you time and makes your program look top-drawer and highly professional. Not only that, but the platform is also highly flexible and customizable so you can tailor everything down to the last detail.
  • User-friendly and modern interface. This is another important element, as it directly affects how entrants and program judges perceive your awards. It also guarantees that both judges and entrants have a blast being part of your program, so they’ll gladly come back for more.
  • Create a site for your awards. This is quite an important part and should be a big focus in the preparation of your call for entry. And even if you have your own website, the platform integrates easily with it, so you’re still making the most out of it.
  • Powerful entry submission. Collect more submissions with a sleek and adaptive submission portal. The application process can be customized with various powerful options.
  • Easy communication and follow-ups. Whether you wish to send notifications to remind people about submitting their entries, or to instruct judges about their duties, you have the tools you need.
  • Custom evaluation phase. You can set up the entry evaluation to your exact requirements, choose various scoring types with custom criteria, scales, and weights, then invite people to the jury panel, create public voting rounds, etc.
  • Announce the winners. Then easily set up a gallery of all award entries, so people can admire them long after. You get to showcase program applications, results, judge comments, individual votes in just a few clicks of the mouse.
  • Analyze data and improve. Benefit from an always complete picture with real-time scores, votes management, a results page, and many features that help improve and grow your awards.

Focusing on awards credibility

On one hand, with Evalato you get a secure and fully GDPR-compliant solution, but that’s not enough. To add actual credibility to your program, consider inviting some big names from your industry to judge program entries. Having judges who are well-known will greatly increase the prestige and legitimacy of your awards.

Sponsors as a source of revenue

Sponsors and partners are crucial stakeholders that can really help with growing your program and your revenue. Here it’s important to understand why they would be willing to sponsor your awards to make them a compelling offer.

The buzz

Awards are the darlings in any industry and that’s what makes sponsors take notice. It’s a chance for them to reach a wide audience, or at least strengthen brand recognition. Which is always a win for them.

The feel-good

An awards competition often serves a good cause. They can be about distinguishing excellence in science, supporting environmental efforts, pushing innovations, etc. A good cause is something that any company is happy to get behind.

awards as an indirect source of revenue

Business awards not only directly increase your organization’s revenue but also provide excellent business opportunities that indirectly contribute to the overall growth of your business. It’s why business awards are such an excellent business opportunity.

Get new business leads

No matter how large a database of existing clients you have, an awards program will attract some extra attention to your brand. And this naturally brings many new business leads, which is always good for business.

Strengthen your brand

That extra attention to your brand will of course strengthen it considerably. An awards program is a long-term project and as time goes by, the awards will grow and the benefits to your brand will get bigger and bigger.

Extra publicity for your organization

Not saying here you’ll automatically get free publicity simply because you’re organizing an awards competition. But awards generate a ton of online buzz, media coverage, shares, likes, and commentary across all channels.

New business partnerships

Because everyone’s fascinated by award competitions, there’s great potential for negotiating new business partnerships, even with companies that aren’t part of the industry you operate in. Awards are great for branching out as well.

awards as an indirect source of revenue

Awards are a lot of work if you go the old-school route of spreadsheets, folders, endless emails, etc. But this can be so much easier with a good platform that tracks, stores, and helps you manage every stage of entry submission and judging for your program. Saving hours upon hours of work is another way you’ll be increasing your revenue, should you decide to start your own awards program.

Evalato is the next-gen awards management software designed to suit all your needs  – free testing is available and no credit card is required.

Published originally on Evalato on June 2, 2022.

At a gala ceremony in Central London, the winners of the 2022 Best Practice Awards were revealed tonight.

Attended by 200 leading figures from the UK trade association sector, the awards are a chance to celebrate all the amazing achievements of our trade associations and the people that work for them.

Back after a 2-year pandemic-enforced break, it was inspiring to hear all the incredible ways that associations delivered for their members during the unprecedented upheaval caused by Covid-19, with many shifting to digital in innovative and impactful ways. What came through in all the entries is the hard work and dedication that associations show to delivering for the members and leading their sector. Whether around skills, governance or sustainability, the UK’s associations have once again demonstrated what a critical role they play in our economy and society.

Congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted, it is an achievement in itself to make the final list from such a large and strong field of entries, but particular congratulations to our winners!

The Best Practice Awards will be back again (pandemic willing!) next year, so follow us on social or sign up for our newsletter to make sure you are kept in the loop with announcements.

TAF is also bringing back our Best Practice Exchange after a similarly pandemic-enforced absence on 23rd June 2022 to share the best practice examples from our awards winners and elsewhere across the sector. This event is a must-attend for any trade association professional looking to learn from best-in-class leaders in the sector and to network with peers – watch this space for more information!

View the full list of winners at the TAF Best Practice Awards 2022 here.

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