Judging the BIG biodiversity challenge awards is not an easy task and hugely time pressured. Last year we received 104 submissions in total. So the judges had to read approximately 34 submissions, discuss their merits within groups, create a shortlist and choose the winners for eight award categories. All of this, within three hours! Submissions that were well written, concise and tailored to the category really did have a much better chance of winning.
Many of the judges were BIG award judge veterans, having been involved in the awards since their inception in 2014. The 2018 judging panel was also exceptional, experienced with 11 judges and approximately 150 years’ experience in ecology, sustainability and construction between them.
What does this mean to you and your organisation who might be interested in entering this year’s awards? Well this is where the judges want to help. Following the 2018 judging day we have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts. No hard and fast rules, but just useful tips to keep in the back of your mind when choosing your category and writing your submission. After all, we want all of you to have a chance of winning, but submissions that are inspiring, engaging and visually interesting will be more memorable than those that were written in haste on the last day before the deadline.
Write clearly and concisely, less is more;
Try not to repeat information across multiple section headings. Project Overview is particularly important to set the scene and capture what is special about the project.
Who planted the seed and helped it grow – i.e. Who started the project, what motivated them and who helped to enthuse and motivate others to lend a hand;
Explain clearly why the project is being entered again, particularly important if it was entered in previous BIG awards or different categories;
Use bullet points, testimonials, photographs of volunteers, numbers, facts and graphs as these are quickly understood and add depth to the project; and
Think about the category and criteria and tailor the information with that in mind.
Duplicate the same project across different award categories without tailoring the text to suit the category objectives;
Submit multiple projects from the same construction team. Better if these are combined and discussed together.
Don’t submit a project before the benefits have been realised. It’s sometimes better to wait until next year when true benefits can be evidenced.
Details to enter the 2019 Challenge will be announced following the BIG Biodiversity Challenge launch event on 27 February 2019.