Those regular readers of my blog will know that among my bêtes noir are Charity Awards. Flashy black tie dinners to recognise outstanding fundraisers, most innovative campaign, most admired charity and so on, all have a very hollow ring when you understand the process of selection and judging, not to mention the costs of entering, followed by the cost of the tables to attend the dinner (£1500 plus).
I was therefore gratified to see that this year the deadline for the Third Sector's Business Charity Awards has had to be extended. I was pleased, because when deadlines are extended, it usually means not enough entries have been received. The downside is that of course, that those that do enter have a better chance of winning. So my advice to any donor to a charity that puffs itself up by mentioning awards it has won: understand exactly how that award was made, and who made it.
Please note, I am not against all awards -- the World land Trust got a Gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show last year, and we are justly proud of that. But it didn't cost us to enter, we didn't have to go to an awards dinner, and the entire cost of our exhibit was covered by sponsorship. And actually, the reason we went to Chelsea wasn't to win a medal, but to publicise the plight of the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil. Getting a Gold Medal (and Best in Section) was just a bonus.