Five Tips for a Strong Application

M. Baez

By Melkis Alvarez-Baez, Director of Programs, Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York

In the eight-year history of the Nonprofit Excellence Awards program, NPCC has processed 636 qualified applications. I’ve had the privilege of managing the program for the last three years, and I’ve seen my fair share of applications. The following five application tips have been identified from among the strongest of the bunch.

  1. Create a team to work on the application. Assemble a team of folks that can speak to each of the eight key areas of nonprofit excellence on which the Awards program is based.
    • Make sure to get buy-in from the Executive Director/CEO and the board.
    • If your organization is small and you or others wear multiple hats, then make sure to switch your hat when you respond to each question.
  2. Say what you need to say, concisely. Applications that are too densely written make it harder for reviewers to tell apart what’s excellent from what’s standard.
    • You must tell a compelling management story in a concise, grammatically sound way to demonstrate that your organization is a strong candidate for the Awards.
  3. Don’t just tell. Your examples are what get your story across and what get the Selection Committee members excited about your organization and your management practices.
    • Go beyond just writing about process. Discuss actual results.
  4. Focus on your writing. While no application has ever been disqualified because of typos, they’re distracting nonetheless.
    • Have someone proofread your application.
  5. We already ask for a lot. Please do not submit additional material that has not been requested. Books, videotapes, manuscripts and other unrequested materials will not be reviewed or returned.

Want to learn more? Attend one of the upcoming Application Clinics. Click here to see the schedule.

Melkis Alvarez-Baez is Director of Programs at the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York. She manages the Awards program.


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