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Mar 27, 2024

Does your awards program need a public voting round?

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Public voting is an excellent way to increase engagement and boost the reach of your awards, and if you use the right awards management software, organizing it is a walk in the park. That said, public voting is not a “one-size-fits-all” concept, so you need to figure out whether your program needs it or if it’s better if you leave it off the table. The article below will help you figure this out. 

Public voting uncovered 

First things first — let’s take a look at what public voting is and why it matters. Sometimes known as People’s Choice, Audience Choice, etc., it does what it says on the tin — it allows the public to vote on the best entries of your program and in some cases, to determine the winner altogether, depending on whether your awards also include jury voting or not. 


So, why include public voting in the first place? These are the main benefits of asking the public to weigh in on your program entries: 

  • Brand awareness purposes — a public voting round will increase your program’s visibility, opening it up to the public, and will additionally generate buzz as your applicants urge others to vote for them. It can also potentially attract a new audience to your awards.  
  • Showing your community you care — public voting gives your community and audience a voice and shows them that you care about their opinion. As a bonus, it improves the transparency of your program.   
  • Boosting engagement — public voting enables you to interact with your audience more and prompts it to engage with you. 


Now let’s take a look at the other side of the coin: 

  • It can be difficult to organize — organizing a public voting round requires extra work for you and your team and can be a real challenge, especially if you are not using dedicated voting software.   
  • There is a risk of fraud — unfortunately, public voting could be rigged, compromising the integrity of your awards. Note, however, that this particular risk can be mitigated if you’re using the right tools. 

Public voting — yes or no? 

While the benefits seem to outweigh the risks, in some cases a public voting round is a good fit and in others, it directly clashes with the concept of your awards program. 

When do you need a public voting round? 

Let’s start with the specific awards program cases where a public round will bring you extra benefits, especially provided you use an awards platform to make the process smoother.  

  • People’s Choice style awards in this case, by definition, a public voting round is not only a good idea but an absolute must since getting people’s opinions is the underlying idea.  
  • An index or powerlist — while not an awards program per se, an index or a powerlist still has recognition as its core idea and also relies heavily on audience input. With one caveat — in the case of industry-specific indices, you might want to consider limiting your prospective voters to that particular community.  
  • Engaging your community — if one of the purposes of your awards program is to boost engagement, a public voting round is a powerful tool to do just that. 
  • Boosting your marketing efforts — similarly, if you want to expand the reach of your awards, attract new audiences, etc., a public voting round can be an excellent addition to your overall strategy.  
  • Free categories in paid awards — if you happen to be organizing awards with entry fees, you can throw in free public voting categories as a perk, boosting the appeal of your program.  

When should you scrap the public voting round? 

Now, let’s consider in which cases a public voting round will do more harm than good. 

  • Highly specialized awards — in the case of awards where voting would require highly specialized knowledge (e.g. medical and dental awards, programming, etc.), it is best to leave evaluation to a jury of experts in the field rather than the public who might not be knowledgable enough. 
  • Very high-profile awards — if you want to make your awards incredibly high-value, a public voting round might impact the image you wish to project. The Oscars are the go-to example here. 
  • You have logistic difficulties — if you are unable to set up public voting in the first place or ensure that it is fair and won’t’ be rigged, or in any case where the work to set up the voting round would outweigh the benefits, it is better to not go for it. 

Now, this last consideration is highly contingent on the tool you use for your program.  An awards management solution like Evalato can take care of this problem by streamlining your evaluation, public or otherwise, alongside the rest of your awards program. 

Learn more: Public voting done right  

The awards software that makes public voting a breeze   

Let’s see what Evalato can do for your public voting round, should you decide that your program will benefit from it:  

  • Makes setup easy — you can set up public voting with just a few clicks, and either have it on its own or as part of your unique evaluation process.  
  • Features multiple voting types — you can choose from 6 voting options, including score voting, popularity voting, simple review, points voting, positional voting, and single transferable vote.  
  • Supports a public voting portal — Evalato has a dedicated space for the public to review the entries, accessible with a social login, which makes it harder to rig the vote.  
  • Has a T&C option — you can opt to upload terms and conditions for your voters to agree to, such as confirming that they belong to a specific industry or community, that they are not affiliated with the applicants, etc. 
  • Features option to upload instructions — Evalato enables you to make the whole experience voter-friendly with instructions, criteria, or anything else your public voters need to know. 
Setting up Public voting

And that’s just for public voting. Evalato can take care of your whole awards management process, including: 

  • Setting up your awards program with templates for the most common use cases. 
  • Registration and application, complete with an embeddable registration form or an auto-generated webpage, individual applicant portals for your applicants, and an application dashboard to manage all applications at a glance.  
  • Evaluation — in addition to public voting, you can set up judging rounds with a dedicated portal for your jury members, accessible from any device. 
  • Announcing results and winners on a dedicated page for further awards program publicity.
  • Analytics and data export so that you can improve the next edition of your program. 

Power to the people 

More often than not, adding a public vote to your awards program is a good idea. Regardless of whether you decide to do it, though, the Evalato awards software has your back. Check it out for free or if you prefer a more personal approach, book a demo with one of our customer success managers and have all your questions answered.

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