How to Write an Amazing Nomination for the GoAbroad Innovation Awards

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from GoAbroad all about the annual Innovation Awards. This is an initiative I launched my first month on the job with GoAbroad. So happy to see it going strong! 


It’s that special time of year - we open our windows, turn the clocks back, trade in our hot cappuccinos for refreshing iced toddies, frantically book our NAFSA hotel rooms, and joyfully submit our nominations for the annual GoAbroad Innovation Awards.

With the nomination deadline looming (April 1 to be exact - no, seriously), it’s time to start racking your brain for individuals and organizations who deserve a shout-out for moving our field forward. Remember when IFSA Butler launched their UpFront program and the Fund for Education Abroad was uber committed to reaching funders outside of the field to finance their scholarships? These are exciting times and exciting efforts, and we need YOUR help in honoring and celebrating innovative programs like these.

Here are 7 steps to writing an amazing nomination for the GoAbroad Innovation Awards.

1. Lay back and kick your feet up (within reason).

We’re not advocating for a full-out sprawl at your office desk, but the best type of thinking happens when you’re comfortable. We promise.

2. Open the list of Awards to know what you’re nominating for.

The Awards still chiefly aim to recognize outstanding and creative initiatives within the fields of study, intern, volunteer, and teach abroad - the types of programs that connect young travelers with meaningful, structured opportunities to learn about foreign cultures. 

This year, GoAbroad is also launching a new award - Excellence in Alumni Engagement - which aims to acknowledge pioneers who offer productive re-entry programming for past participants.

3. Think fondly of your coworkers and colleagues (dopey smiles on your face permitted).

Whether it’s someone in your office or a buddy you’ve made at conferences-past, feel free to indulge in the memories or feelings of respect as you begin to align awards with individuals in your circles that are more-than-deserving.

Create a short list of individuals you want to commend, including as many details as you can gather for the campaign or initiative.

4. Make sure you have your nominees’ contact info.

Their email address will do the trick, but it’s helpful to have their phone number too.

5. Open the Nomination form. You’re ready for this!

You can write an average, run-of-the-mill, nomination that skims past the particulars. Or you can write an amazing nomination, one that not only tells but also demonstrates why this specific individual or organization knocked it out of the study-abroad-park in 2016.

6. [Gulp!] Know someone who kicks butt but doesn’t quite fit in any category?

Just because an organization or person you admire didn’t launch a new program this past year or create an amazing philanthropic campaign doesn’t mean you can’t still nominate them for an esteemed Innovation Award. There’s an award just for that - People’s Choice, baby! 

If you’re not a study abroad advisor yourself, reach out to one and ask them (nicely) to submit the nomination on your behalf.

7. Circle back to steps 3-6 as necessary.

Lather, rinse, repeat. There’s no maximum number of times you can nominate someone, and insiders know you can even nominate yourself (just try not to sound like an egotistical-self-lover-aka-god's-gift-to-study-abroad, mmkay?). Sometimes it’s okay to toot your own horn, and in the case of the GoAbroad Innovation Awards, the time is now!

Paying it forward and acknowledging the change-makers, movers, and shakers of our field will not only help you build of a serious supply of good career karma, but it will also invite you to reflect on the incredible strides our field has made in a short amount of time. The 2015-2016 year was a good one, and we’re excited to share in its excellence with all of you at the GoAbroad Annual Innovation Award Ceremony in Denver (our home turf!) later this spring.

More details on the 6th Annual GoAbroad Innovation Awards can be found here.

Author Bio: Megan is an international educator, traveler, and writer (and study abroad fanatic). She has worked in a variety of roles in Education Abroad since graduating from Valparaiso University in 2010. Follow her on Twitter @peglegmeg.

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