Tips for a winning entry

You could be a finalist one year and a winner the next time!  The key is to create an entry for industry categories 1 – 8 that gets noticed.

The judges are looking for excellence in planning and operations in rescues and shelters, as well as what you are doing differently to help improve companion animal welfare outcomes and the positive impact. We strongly recommend you provide evidence/data to support your answers where relevant. The entries for all categories are assessed by a panel of judges. There is NO voting.

Rescue Awards tips

#1  Directly answer the question

Keep it simple by answering the question directly with no waffle or spin.  Provide evidence/data to support your answers.

#2 Give yourself plenty of time

Put the Rescue Awards 2022 open for entry dates (3 May to 31 July) into your calendar.  Give yourself the optimal time to think about the questions.  Check out our sample questions.  Note – you can edit and complete your entry anytime until entries close midnight 31 July 2022 AEST.

#3 Don’t leave all your vital information in an attachment/link

Use the space provided in the online form to tell your story and answer the question, don’t just leave it all in the link or attachment.  Use the attachments facility to enhance your submission to show examples of your hard work.

#4 It takes longer than you think

Don’t leave it to the last week to start on your submission! Start the entry process early, and find the time and headspace to complete the submission.  You can edit your submission any time during open for entries from 3 May to 31 July 2022.

#5 Get support with writing the submission

If you do not have the capacity and skills to do a submission, find a volunteer with writing skills who can turn your information into succinct responses that directly answer the questions.

#6 Proofing

Find a volunteer or staff member with fresh eyes to proofread your entry.

#7 Don’t reinvent the wheel 

Think about how can you save time by drawing upon work already done.  What information has already been published on your website or gathered in your record-keeping that can be repurposed for your submission? Perhaps you have submitted an application for a grant/tender or government assistance. Write down a list of places where you can get information.

#8 The judges are looking for excellence, innovation, and evidence of impact

Depending on the category, the judges will want to know what your organisation is doing to help improve companion animal welfare outcomes including but not limited to these areas:

  • community programs such as desexing to reduce animal intake from unwanted litters
  • working with the community to help keep people and pets together using strategies such as behaviour advice and outreach programs to prevent animal surrender
  • support for staff and volunteers to prevent burn out
  • ongoing financial sustainability of your organisation for the future
  • well-being of animals in your care such as enrichment and positive dog training methods
  • strategies to increase adoptions and the decrease re-surrenders
  • collaboration with others in your community

#9 Volunteer of the Year

The Judges are looking for volunteers who are team members or managers who are well supported by their organisation in terms of training, management, and rostered hours to prevent burnout.  This Award is not for the founder of the organisation.  Check out Frances O’Connell, our Volunteer of the Year winner in 2018, Sue Quartermain, our 2019 Winner, Shelley Tinworth, our 2020 winner, and Lachlan Barnard, our 2021 winner.

#10 Be honest

Sometimes things go wrong.  If something did go wrong at your rescue group or animal shelter, not only be honest about it in your entry submission but also explain how you addressed the issue and outcomes. 

#11 Size does not matter

You don’t have to be a large rescue group or animal shelter with a significant budget to win an award or be a finalist. Small rescue or shelter organisations can be very innovative and impactful.  It is all about what your organisation is doing that will get you noticed by our Judges.

Photo: Jo Lyons Photography



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