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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.


The Trade Association Forum in partnership with the Chartered Institute for Public Relations (CIPR) are delighted to launch a new networking group for PR and PA professionals working in Trade Associations.

The TAF PR and Public Affairs Best Practice Forum (TAF PUBCOM) held its first meeting on 22nd September and agreed a remit to:

  • Provide a professional network for PR and PA staff working in trade associations
  • Support trade association PR and public affairs staff to develop their skills and professional careers, including through the provision of tailored training and development and CPD learning opportunities
  • Share best practice, discuss challenges and initiate benchmarking and research into the challenges faced by PR and public affairs in trade associations
  • Provide mentoring and support to those looking to grow and develop their career in PR and public affairs within trade associations
This is a fantastic initiative, which I am delighted to be part of. I am looking forward to developing a community of professionals and delivering a useful and engaging programme which supports our professional and personal development
Tom Reynolds
CEO of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association and Chair of the new TAF PUBCOM
We are delighted to collaborate with TAF to launch this new network to help support public relations and public affairs professionals to meet their peers working in similar organisations and learn from each other.

In times of turbulence and change, the role of trade associations to communicate with and on behalf of their members is crucial. This new initiative will help us develop and build collectively and undoubtedly be a valuable resource.
Alastair McCapra
Alastair McCapra
CIPR Chief Executive

For more information about the network please contact TAF CEO, Emily Wallace, or register for updates below:

Successful Trade Associations are built on excellent communications

There is no doubt that successful trade associations are built on excellent communications, but keeping pace with modern professional communications is an enduring and significant challenge. 

Trade associations are small organisations, almost all employ less than 100 staff, most less than 20 and many under 10. They certainly don’t have the luxury of being able to employ a fully skilled team of communications professionals. 

Instead, individuals take on multiple roles, upskilling themselves and learning on the job. Getting the balance of skills right to be able to take on, PR, public affairs, member engagement, corporate and digital communications is a constant challenge.

Their work really matters, and their communications does too. It needs to help them punch well above the size of their organisations. 

It is only through excellent communicators that associations can properly represent their sector both in the UK and abroad, and with it shape the opportunities for their members and support the growth of the UK economy too.

Their communication with regulators and policymakers is critical. It makes policy workable. Without trade associations, the Government would have a really hard job implementing policy. Not only do associations spend huge amounts of time working on the details of regulation and guidance, but they then communicate it to their members and drive compliance too.

As the voice of their industry there is a huge responsibility to be visible and be accurate, and as member led organisations, trade associations must ensure they represent their views and interests. This means they need excellent channels of communication with members and a strong feedback loop too.

Trade associations also deliver essential communications to ensure industry standards are understood and adhered to. They put in place accreditation programmes, run regular training sessions, develop routes to entry through apprenticeships and vocational learning, support continued professional development, share best practice and reward excellence. 

These communications make us all safer by protecting consumers and businesses and supporting public sector inspection regimes.

There is no doubt that investing in the skills and resources needed to have a professional communications capability is critical for associations. 

This is why TAF has teamed up with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations to work together to ensure that Associations have access to the best professional development opportunities, and why together we are looking at how to build networks and develop best practice specifically for Associations. 

If you are interested in finding out more or getting involved, we would love to hear from you. 

Recording from BPEx 2022

Catch up with some of the main sessions from TAF’s Best Practice Exchange Conference on Thursday 23rd June 2022:

Welcome from TAF Chair & Ministerial Keynote

The opening sessions from TAF’s Best Practice Exchange conference, featuring a welcome from TAF Chair, Gaynor Pates, and a keynote speech and Q&A from Paul Scully MP, the Minister for Small Business from BEIS.

The UK economy in 2022: challenges and opportunities for business

Martin McTague, National Chair of the FSB and Henry Aldridge, Head of Trade Associations at the CBI, discuss the economy, what it means for business and the role trade associations can play, all chaired by TAF CEO Emily Wallace.

How can Trade Associations Better Support SMEs to Grow?

Small businesses make up three fifths of the employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector, and ensuring they are well represented and supported to grow is key to delivering UK economic growth. Hear from Carlo Gibbs, Head of SME Insights and Engagement at BEIS, Paloma Sackman, Head of Leadership & Management Programmes at Be the Business and Chris Noice, the Director of Communications at the Association of Convenience Stores to discuss the issues.

Keynote speech from Seema Malhotra MP, Shadow Business Minister from the Labour Party

Seema Malhotra MP, the Shadow Business Minister from the Labour Party, addresses the TAF Best Practice Exchange Conference on the 23rd June 2022, with an introduction from Tom Bowtell, the CEO of the British Coating Federation and a TAF Board member.

Role and effectiveness of trade associations in dealing with Government

A key part of the role of a Trade Association is in representing its members to Government, policymakers and regulators. This session explores the relationship between Government and trade associations and how to build long-term impactful relationships and be the most effective representatives for your members. Speakers include: – Alex Thomas: Programme Director, Institute for Government and former Civil Servant – Nikki Da Costa: Specialist Partner at Flint Global and Former Director Of Legislative Affairs at 10 Downing Street – Alistair McCapra: Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Public Relations – Tom Bowtell: CEO, British Coatings Federation

Why focusing on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is good for business

This session will explore how Associations can drive improvements in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in their sectors. We will hear examples of how trade associations have delivered real impact and discuss the role of trade associations in promoting EDI. Speakers include: Isabella Lawson – Senior Policy Officer, RIA Jessica Levy – Director of Communications, Federation of Master Builders Mandy Rico – Head of Advisory and Inclusion, INvolve

Best Practice Exchange 2022 - presentations from the day

We have collated much of the material used by our speakers on the day to share with those who were unable to make the conference due to the travel disruption, please find a selection of content below:



Improving member value with technology change


Revenue diversification for the post-pandemic trade association

Why focusing on DEI is good for business


TAF Awards Winner Showcase - Member Engagement

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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