If you’re running business awards (or any type of awards, for that matter), an additional source of revenue is always welcome. And while charging entry fees seems like the easiest way to go about it, you might wonder if asking applicants for money will lower participation levels. This article will help you decide whether charging entry fees is the best course for your organization and if so, how to go about it. Read on!
There are two main business models for organizing awards: free and paid.
Business awards are free when the organizers don’t charge applicants to enter. They are usually backed up by sponsors and partners. In other cases, a yearly membership fee might partially or fully cover the expenses for an awards program.
In the second case, applicants have to pay to enter. Setting up an entry fee to bring that extra income to your organization could be a game-changing decision.
You might think that charging entry fees will decrease submissions. That somewhat logical fear pushes many awards managers to forgo fees in lieu of sponsorships and other, often less convenient, revenue streams. And yet, having applicants pay to enter your awards doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll limit the number of your entries. On the contrary, if done right, this will have the opposite effect and increase the number of submissions.
Let’s go through the pros and cons of organizing paid business awards.
So, as you can see, the pros heavily outweigh the cons of charging entry fees for business awards, as long as you do it right. This is one of the things a good awards management solution can help you with, so let’s see how Evalato gets the job done.
Here at Evalato, we’ve made sure to make charging entry fees straightforward and transparent. You don’t have to worry about how the money will come through, all you need to do is be creative when it comes to outlining the goals of your program and making the entire experience worth it for all parties involved. Here are key features that Evalato provides you with to strategically plan your entrant fee terms:
Evalato’s enhanced group and category structure gives you the flexibility to charge different entry fees for each category, or even have a mix of free and paid categories if you so choose.
For example, if a participant wants to enter a highly contested category, such as “Best Marketing Campaign”, you can set up a high price for participation. But if they’re entering a niche category like “Best Print Campaign”, setting up a lower fee makes more sense.
Then, if you want to set up awards that recognize both business and social achievements, this feature gives you the flexibility to reflect that in the entry fees.
When asking people for money, you need to make it as convenient as possible for them to give that money to you, and this is where Evalato has you covered. The software supports payments via 30+ cards, wallets, and various payment methods, including Stripe, PayPal, and Braintree, among others. Then, if you prefer offline methods such as bank transfer or something else entirely — Evalato delivers on that too.
The software also gives you the option for custom tax settings based on country-specific rules.
While many software focus on requiring payments at application submission, Evalato gives you the option to collect your entry fees at registration, at submission, or after submission.
Pro tip: Require payment at registration.
We recommend requiring payment at registration. By doing so:
One important aspect of paid awards is the pricing strategy. Here are some quick tips for your pricing strategy:
Learn more: The spot-on guide to pricing awards and programs.
Evalato’s Promo codes feature can help you increase the number of submissions. Offering special prices for business partners, loyal customers, newsletter subscribers, etc., is a nice way of showing appreciation to the people who support your venture.
The promo codes can be set up as a flat value or a percentage. They can be customized based on several sets of criteria, making this feature very flexible. Evalato also generates the discount code that applicants will use in the process of their registration if you don’t want to do it manually.
Special offers are another Evalato-supported feature that can lift your participation rate and ultimately boost your bottom line. You can offer volume discounts, bundles, 2-for-1 deals, “early bird” admissions, etc. — depending on the type of discount, you can either offer better value for money or create a sense of urgency among the prospective participants. To that end, you can customize your criteria to make your special offers more effective.
Deciding to charge entry fees for your business awards is not necessarily an easy decision but more often than not, it’s the right one. With one caveat — you have to do it the right way. As long as you abide by the principles of transparency, flexibility, and value, and use the right awards management software to help you out, you’re good to go.