Importance of Recognition

    • Graduation Awards

      Graduation Jeff and I at Perri's graduation.

      Graduation, whether from college, high school, middle school, elementary school or even kindergarten, represents a milestone in a young person's life. An accomplishment has been reached, a chapter in childhood has ended, with a new beginning on the horizon.  Family and friends celebrate the graduate and honor their achievements, many times showering them with cards, gifts, parties and other celebrations.

      Graduations also mark the end of a school year and can signify a change in leadership.  Teachers and other administrators leave for a variety of reasons, including moving to a new location or profession, choosing to at stay home with family, or retiring.

      How do you celebrate graduation? Today's blog will give you some ideas of meaningful awards for graduates and others at the end of the school year.

      Full Color Learning Excellence Resin Trophies Lamp of Learning Trophies make great graduation awards for young students.

      Kindergarten: Many schools will "graduate" kindergarteners to attend full-day elementary school. Some schools give small academic trophies to kindergarteners for graduating.  My older daughter attended a private kindergarten and the kids dressed in caps and gowns and had a small procession; it was quite adorable!  One school we have worked with for many years gives this Lamp of Learning trophy to their kindergarten grads.

      Elementary & Middle School: We don't see many awards or engraved gifts for elementary or middle school students who are graduating to the next school up.  Families may give their students a balloon or a card for being promoted to elementary or middle school, but gifts are usually inexpensive and low-key. However, the end of school does result in many middle school achievements being recognized, especially for sports teams and competitive activities or clubs.

      High School:  High school graduation is a big deal. Students are now officially adults with many life changes ahead. Graduates may choose to move out on their own, heading to college, military service, or employment,   The most common graduation gift is money; but other gifts include personal items, such as jewelry, framed artwork, or a traditional engraved pen.  Flowers are often given at the graduation ceremony.

      Ballpoint Pen with Laser Pointer and USB Flash Drive This engraved pen makes a traditional graduation gift.

      Schools often award excellence at graduation.  Some awards include Student of the Year in different academic subjects, Valedictorians, Perfect Attendance, and Scholarship awards, to name a few. Most often academic school plaques or scholastic medals are given for these types of accomplishments.

      College:  Graduation from university represents a milestone of school completion. Graduates now enter the "real world" and it's time to get a job!  Again, as a graduation gift, cash is king and most grads need money after being poor students for years on end. Other meaningful gifts include jewelry, watches, and other personal items.

      Retirement:  Graduation ceremonies or End-of-Year school assemblies are the perfect opportunity to acknowledge and thank retiring teachers and other staff.  We create many beautiful awards for these events. The most popular retirement gifts include engraved clocks, plaques and etched vases. Get more ideas at my past blog on Retirement Awards.

      No matter the age, all graduates deserve kudos for the achievement. Enjoy the celebration and congrats Class of 2017!

      Cheers, Jessica

      *Editor's note: This post was originally published on June 5, 2015.  It was updated for content.

    • All About Society of Government Meeting Professionals

      Last week I spoke at the May meeting of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP).  The topic was "Recognizing Excellence", where I spoke on ways organizations and workplaces can take their recognition to the next level!  It was wonderful to meet government professionals and suppliers at this event and help them with creating meaningful recognition for their employees.

      SGMP May Presentation Jan Thor, Trustee of the Board for SGMP and Jessica at the May meeting.

      About Society of Government Meeting Professionals:

      SGMP is the only meeting planning and management organization that addresses the specific needs of the Government meeting professional.  The Pacific Northwest Chapter of SGMP provides a common forum for meeting planners and suppliers as a means of facilitating improvements in the quality and cost effectiveness of government meetings.  They do this through benefits SGMP offers - Education, Networking, and Resources.

      By getting connected to SGMP, planners and suppliers have the opportunity to receive and take advantage of all the benefits the organization offers, including:

      1. 1. State of the art meeting planning educational programs presented by experts in the field.
      2. 2. Networking opportunities with their industry partners giving them the opportunity to build strong working relationships and
      3. 3. A host of resources that SGMP provides both its meeting planner and supplier members to do their jobs better.

      SGMP MissionEducation is the main purpose of their organization, and their educational theme for the year is "Planning for Excellence".  Through educational programming they provide their members with all the tools necessary to create "Excellent" meetings and conferences for their agencies, departments, and companies.

      To read more about SGMP, see their national website or local Pacific Northwest Chapter .  This is a great organization for our customers who work for Government Agencies and plan events; I would highly encourage you to check them out!

      Thank you to SGMP for the opportunity to share my passion around awards!  If you would like to me to speak for your organization, feel free to contact me at [email protected]



    • 7 Creative Ideas for National Volunteer Week

      Celebrate Service!

      Do you have special volunteers that you'd like to thank? Now is the time to prepare, as National Volunteer Week is April 23-29, 2017. Without volunteerism, many organizations wouldn't be able to survive. Citizen volunteers are one of the work forces that make a huge positive impact in our communities, but a crucial part of keeping  volunteers engaged is to make sure they feel appreciated.

      How do YOU keep your volunteers happy and motivated? Here are 7 ideas to make sure your volunteers feel appreciated and acknowledged for their service.

      7 Creative Ideas for Recognizing Volunteers

      1. Share the results of their efforts. This sounds basic, but it's crucial.  Volunteers want to know that their effort makes a difference.  Open communication about the positive impact of their work motivates continued service.

      2.  Throw your volunteers an exclusive party. Use all that payroll you're saving to host a volunteer-only bash. Include food, drinks, and entertainment. Make sure the head of the organization is there to socialize and personally thank each volunteer. DON't make it a pot-luck, as that cheapens the entire event.

      3.  Host an educational speaking event or workshop. Many volunteers would prefer a chance to learn something new over getting another trinket to put in their home. Invite a chef, professor, newscaster or some other popular knowledge leader to speak at your event. I guarantee attendance will be high and your volunteers will love it!

      4.  Give a gift.  If going this route, make the gift related to the volunteer work they do. For example, for a Master Gardener volunteer, give a seed packet, gardening gloves, or a bouquet of flowers. For a festival volunteer, give free concert tickets, credit towards food vendors, or some unique art from the festival. For a school volunteer, have each student draw a picture and write a thank you for the person, and then bind it into a book.

      5.  Make recognition public. If you have an office, be sure to display the names of your volunteers in a prominent place. Or publish them in your newsletter, on your website, or in the paper. Volunteers want to be seen as an important part of the organization, so be sure to tell them so!

      6. Choose a Volunteer of the Year. Create a little competition among your volunteers to be the best! The winner should get a prize, such as a gift certificate, along with an award, such as an engraved plaque or crystal award. They definitely deserve hardware for this accomplishment!

      7:   Nominate one of your superstar volunteers for a national award. Their service should be celebrated! Check out Points of Light for available awards, along with the nomination process.

      Give some thought about what feels right for your organization. Just like any employee appreciation program, volunteers should be celebrated for a job well done!

      Cheers, Jessica

      Editor's Note: This post was originally published on April 9th, 2013.  It has been updated for content.

    • Need Help? Engraving Ideas for Corporate Awards Here!

      For A Loss for Words, We Have Engraving Ideas!

      Need to order awards but not sure what the message should be?  You want to recognize someone special, but just don't know where to begin. Below are ideas of text you can add to your Corporate Awards.

      General Tips for the Message

      This sublimated plaque features the full color Waste Management logo with special message.
      • Keep in mind that your recipient's award will be displayed forever; make your message stand out.
      • Make sure it reflects what they are being recognized for.
      • Keep it short, sweet and clever.
      • Having a sense of humor is fine, but make it tasteful if you go this route.
      • Read your text out loud before printing it on the gift.
      • Always include the date or year the award is presented
      • Wording will normally be centered, unless you specify otherwise.
      • Include your company’s logo if possible.
      • Use a motivational quote that is meaningful to your company or the individual.

      Here are a few wording examples for various types of awards.

      A Typical Engraving Format:

      Name of the Award - (ex. President's Award)

      Recipient's Name - In CAPS (ex. MIKE EVANS)

      Accomplishment or Reason for the Award - (ex: "In recognition of your tireless dedication to the staff and customers at Trophies2Go. Your work ethic, passion and humor are an example to all.")

      Date - (ex 2016)

      Company Name - (Trophies2Go)

      Department or Division if applicable - (Customer Service)

      Service Awards

      In Appreciation of

      Twenty Years


      Outstanding and Loyal Service

      to XYZ Widget Company


      The difference between success and

      Failure is often determined by one's dedication.

      Your undying commitment

      To our company's success has

      Earned you our highest esteem.


      In Grateful Appreciation For Your

      Outstanding & Dedicated Service

      To The People in Your Community

      Leadership Awards



      Jamba Juice


      YOU ARE THE #1 BOSS!

      Sales Awards

      In Recognition of Your

      Outstanding Sales Performance

      in Selling the Greatest Number of

      Licenses in 2017


      Congratulations On Attaining 125%

      Of Your Sales Goal for 2017


      Liberty Company









      Safety Awards






      August 2016


      In Recognition of Your

      Outstanding Efforts in Keeping

      Our Systems Operational

      24x7x365 in 2017

      My most important tip? Spend some time on the wording, as this message will last. The recipient has done something wonderful for your company or organization. Make it meaningful. Speak from the heart.



    • 5 Examples of Year End Corporate Awards

      As 2016 draws to a close, its time to wrap up your awards programs for the year.  January brings one of our busiest months of the year with a plethora of corporate plaques, President's Awards, sales achievement and other yearly recognition.   Below are 5 examples of year end corporate awards our customers provide to individuals within their organization.

      YAHOO! acrylic awards These pretty purple YAHOO! acrylic awards were a hit with the winners!

      1.  Awards for an Annual Ceremony.  The award you choose is an extremely important component of this occasion, and fortunately there are many options for any sized budget. Read 5 Tips for Choosing a Corporate Award or contact our staff to help you choose the perfect award to make your winners proud.  For ideas on hosting an event, read my post on Planning an Awards Ceremony.

      2.  Service Awards.  Reward those employees who commit to your company for an extended period of time with a Service Award.  Present this award to 1, 5, 10 and 20 years of service, or tailor the time frame to your organization's specific needs.  In addition to awards, clocks, gift certificates to a special store, and personalized gifts are popular for this type of recognition.  Rule of thumb is the longer an individual is at the organization, the more significant the award.

      Sales Award Our customer presenting a sales award plaque to a distributor.

      3.  Sales Awards.  Celebrate reaching goals and achieving quotas monthly, quarterly, or annually, as your recognition program and budget allows.  Depending on your business, a sales award can be an individual award for a specific person, or a group award for a top store, regional leader, or top distributor.  Plaques, acrylic awards, glass awards and etched crystal awards are popular options.  Read the Sales Achievement Awards post to learn more.

      4.  Employee of the Month Awards.   This can also be Employee of the Quarter or Employee of the Year.  As with any awards program, its important to decide on the criteria for choosing the winner prior to launching the program.   When a person is selected for the award, be sure to publicize it.  This has two benefits - the winner feels important and others are motivated to win in the future.  For the award, perpetual plaques posted in a central location are most popular.   It's also nice to give a small take-away award to each winner to display on their desk or bookcase to memorialize their honor.

      5.  Other Types of Awards.  These include community awards, corporate honors, leadership awards,  product launch awards, past president, retirement gifts, and teamwork awards.  Many organizations create their own awards too, tailoring the recognition specifically to their need.

      It's important to set up a recognition program carefully before launching to ensure success.  But once it's implemented, measured and executed, corporate awards programs can improve your company culture and increase your staff morale.   Feel free contact me or any of our staff for more information about End of Year Corporate Awards!  Here's to a great 2016 and a wonderful new year ahead!

      Editor's Note:  This post was originally published in December 2013, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

      Cheers, Jessica

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    Trophies Awards