Written By: Luisa Fitzgerald, AFC® & Starlett Henderson, AFC®
Every year AFCPE honors our members’ abilities to innovate and support the field of financial education, research, and practice. Having an awards program helps AFCPE recognize and celebrate the outstanding practitioners and organizations that have increased access to quality programs and shared ideas to impact the wellbeing of our population. With so many talented AFCPE members, it’s always hard to choose a winner!
The Awards Timeline
The AFCPE Member Awards’ application process opens in early June and closes in mid-July. The first round of applications includes:
- Distinguished Fellow Award
- Setting the Standard Awards
- Educator of the Year
- Financial Counselor of the Year
- Award for Outstanding Consumer Financial Information
- Outstanding Education Program
- Outstanding Financial Counseling or Planning Center
Later in the summer, AFCPE accepts applications for the Mary O’Neill mini grant. Funds for this award are generously donated by Dr. Barbara O’Neill in honor of her late mother, Mary. This prestigious grant provides funding for new projects, reflecting the importance of innovation and creativity in the financial literacy world.
For a complete list of awards, visit https://www.afcpe.org/career-and-resource-center/awards/.
Should I apply? Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
AFCPE Members are trailblazers. They are making a difference in the lives of others each and every day. Sharing your work by applying for an award is not immodest – it offers others the chance to learn from your successes!
If you are considering applying for an award but you are not quite sure which one best represents you, your program, your organization, read some of the stories from previous winners to get a better idea of what to expect. If you don’t see an award that fits your work perfectly, don’t get discouraged. Reach out to us with questions, or apply for the award you feel is closest to what you do. If you don’t play, you can’t win!
Even if you don’t win, there is value in applying!
AFCPE Award winners are recognized every year at the AFCPE Symposium, as well as through a national press release. It’s a great way to raise awareness for you and for your work – and gives you a seal that you can share on your resume, website, or LinkedIn page. That said, winning isn’t everything!
Applicants report that even the act of completing the application has great advantages: it allows for self-reflection and sometimes better focus for a new project or initiative. Applicants can also receive constructive feedback that can help them improve their product and maybe apply again the next year with new energy!
Interested? Get ready to apply!
While the application itself can be intimidating, remember to take it one step at a time. Register early so that you can review the requirements and work on the application over the entire application period: the system we use for our awards allows you to save your application and come back to it at a later time. This will allow you to collect any relevant data to back up your claims and showcase your achievements.
If you are nominating a fellow member for an award, we encourage you to involve them in the application process – or let them submit it themselves. The applicant usually knows their work and accomplishments the best and can often produce a stronger application.
And although the process doesn’t open until the summer, visit the AFCPE Awards pages to find examples of application questions and requirements before applying.
Okay, I applied. Now what happens?
Once the application window closes, a team of volunteer reviewers have an opportunity to review the applications and score them. Scores are based on a series of criteria that are consistent across the board and allow our reviewers to compare each submission and choose the one that best fits within the requirements of the awards. This is not an easy task! Every year we receive many incredible submissions and choosing a winner can be very challenging.
The Awards Task Force plays an important role in ensuring that members’ contributions are recognized and celebrated. If you have questions about any of the awards or the application process, or if you would like to become more involved with the task force, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.