Can volunteer awards be useful?

I confess I was reticent when asked by the guys at The Cricketer online to help promote their LV Insurance Pride of Cricket awards scheme.

You will know we have a media partnership and there’s a magazine/digital subscription discount offer for Network members registering on the FREE Members’ Portal 

But nominations have been open since May and we are now in the last week before the September 1 deadline.

I am told it’s not an issue as a majority of nominations are received in this period. And, anyway, the submission process is not that onerous. The video entry option isn’t widely used and has no influence on judging so long as the story is well articulated.

I am also reticent because a) endorsing the awards might also endorse the implicit assumption that club people need to be engaged during the season before they hibernate in the winter and b) as our current strawpoll clearly indicates, people are too busy running from pillar to post during the (business end of) the season to go on holiday let alone compile awards submissions.

They get that. If so, it clearly demonstrate more listening capacity than ECB with their insistence on scheduling Clubmark renewal, Volunteer (OSCA) Awards, Playing Survey and just about everything else deadlines between April and September. Those involved in running clubs – the volunteers – know that peak admin catch-up and development planning is between October and March.

But the real reason I was reticent, was a longstanding feeling that people don’t volunteer for awards or recognition or any other aspects of a “volunteering policy”. They volunteer for cricket or their club.

Quite often recipients are embarrassed by such awards. I know I was a few years ago.

But a conversation a while ago has made me think again. It was someone a deal older, and wiser perhaps, than me who received a well-deserved and overdue county lifetime contribution gong in their mid-80s after 60+ years supporting their club.

He said no-one volunteers for themselves. It’s always for cricket or the club and that’s determined by how they started but it’s almost always by joining a club. And unlike many other awards – military medals or real Oscars, for example – it’s rarely recognition of a team or collective contribution.

So it’s very personal. Hence the embarrassment.

But, he said, if the nomination comes from the club then it almost certainly indicates your contribution is making a difference. And people appreciate that. They care. And, yes, maybe they might want to encourage you carry on. It helps salve their own embarrassment for not doing more. But perhaps, moreover, the award might just galvanise others to support you or contribute more in other ways.

So if you have want to recognise, retain, conscience salve, or galvanise, then The Pride of Cricket Awards are as good a way as any.

You can access the Awards portal by clicking on the image above.

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