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Secrets of a Winning CUNA Award Entry

Monday, July 01, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Susan Dyer
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Deadline for entries: July 19.

Make sure your CUNA award grabs the judges attention. Here are a few tips from judges. Visit the CUNA Awards page for entry forms and complete information.

If you are entering the Desjardins Youth or Adult Financial Education Awards:

The Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award focuses on teaching members and nonmembers under the age of 18 about personal finance and providing financial literacy leadership. The Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award focuses on teaching members and nonmembers age 18 and older.

Compelling. Tell a story. Keep the narrative—your description of your financial education efforts and why they're exemplary—separate from the supporting evidence.

Appropriate. Read the rules, and make sure you're entering the appropriate competition.

Relevant. Review the entry form carefully. There are three mandatory measures and the the scoring is based on these elements. Clearly demonstrate how the program(s) is used and the impact (i.e., how many people/groups have been taught using the materials).

Focused. For each criterion, it's better to describe—and substantiate in detail—your single best program than to list many smaller activities or events. Judges look for educational content and how you delivered it, not your cool advertising samples and promotional PowerPoint presentations.

Original, Unique and Innovative. If you used commercially prepared educational materials, show how you adapted the materials to the needs of your audience. Have you created any new and innovative partnerships? Is this a completely original program? Or is it a twist on something that’s been done for a long time? Emphasize the creativity and uniqueness of your program and strong personal involvement.

Proven. What were the goals of your efforts and how did people benefit? Provide concrete, relevant evidence of program effectiveness. The judges love to read about results and success stories.

Organized. Make your entry easy to read and easy to follow. Include the name of your credit union/chapter on the front cover. Use a table of contents. Using tabbed index pages separating and identifying the three criteria, as well as any exhibits. Use standard fonts, white paper, and black type.

If you are entering the Doral Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award or Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award:

Dora Maxwell entries focus on community involvement, charity work, or social responsibility programs external to the credit union.

Louise Herring entries are based on your credit union's internal programs that benefit its members, and provide examples of how you put philosophy into action for your members. (Note: Teaching personal finance is the sole focus of the Desjardins adult and youth financial education awards.)

Review. Carefully read and answer all of the questions relative to the one unique project you selected in the original format provided. The scoring is based on these elements, so the more information you provide in direct response to the questions, the higher your score.

Read the rules. Make sure you're entering the appropriate competition.

Make your entry easy to read. Include the name of your credit union on the front cover of the binder. Use a table of contents. Include current activities only. Put all materials in an album, 3-ring binder or spiral-bound book.

Identify. Clearly identify who is involved in your project. Who were the beneficiaries? How many people were reached? Judges look for strong volunteer involvement from staff within the credit union.

Include samples or descriptions. Promotional materials related to the project like photos, flyers, or newsletters show how you got the word out about your project. Please avoid electronic media.

For questions regarding the CUNA awards, please contact Susan Dyer, (800) 362-2076, ext. 3047.