Each year, we sift through a large number of nominations for our Australia Day Awards. The ones that stand out aren’t always those that are the best written or have a long list of referees. The best nominations are those that tell a story, the ones that paint a picture of a great Kempsey resident making a difference.
So don’t be daunted by the task of nominating your inspiring colleague, local champion, friend or family member - or even yourself! You don't have to be a great writer or have a pile of information.
Just consider these tips for writing a stand-out nomination (we got them from the BIG Australia Day awards team and they know their stuff):
Open with the important information
Start with a clear and specific statement that outlines why your nominee is worthy of an Australia Day Award.This only needs to be one or two sentences. Ask yourself: What activities or actions has the nominee undertaken that stand out? What has the nominee accomplished that goes above and beyond their job description? What special skills or talents have they employed? How has the nominee changed their community? Why are you motivated to nominate this person?
Consider your audience
The people on our Australia Day Committee are everyday Kempsey residents from all walks of life. They hail from Council, business, not-for-profit organisations and community groups, and span various fields of endeavour and profession. Imagine you are talking to an intelligent, engaged audience but also people who DO NOT have specific expertise in your field. Spell out acronyms the first time you use them and avoid using jargon, overly technical language or terms that may not be familiar to people outside your industry. Don't assume we know how much time or effort something takes.
Share their story
Strengthen your nomination by painting a picture of the person. What motivates them to make a difference? What personal challenges have they overcome in their life? Why do they inspire others? How does this person make you feel?
Don’t just say it, prove it
Use real-world examples that demonstrate why your nominee is an inspiring role model. Whether your nominee is the first one to lend a hand at the local football club or the person staying back late each night in the lab, we want to know the stories of their life and the impact they have made.
Tell the facts
If possible, support your nomination with hard facts and reliable statistics. Can you provide specific measures of this person’s success?
Aim for quality, not quantity
A long nomination isn’t always a better nomination. Try to keep your sentences short and concise, and avoid repetition. Steer clear of detailed job descriptions or work histories.
Stick to the selection criteria
Our committee is looking for people who contribute, inspire and make a difference, so ensure your nomination addresses these criteria.
Think about a referee
It may help to name someone else that supports your nomination, who is aware of the nominee’s achievements and will be able to provide any additional information if required.
Take the time to check that your nominee meets the eligibility criteria.
Please be as specific as you can by providing examples which show how the person you are nominating has made an outstanding contribution. Generalised statements such as 'the nominee is community minded' or 'the nominee is willing to offer assistance whenever needed' may be true but they do not provide enough relevant information.
Read about previous winners
Look at what the committee idenitifed as being important about the previous winners and how it was described.