2020 EXCEL Winners Exhibit Ways That Associations Can Amplify Value and Showcase Members

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons won a 2020 EXCEL Award for an incredibly moving feature article by Kendra Mims titled The PSF Past President Helps Young Author Find ‘A Brave Face,’ about an Iraqi girl brought to the United States to be treated for severe burns. “After a year-long process of hurdles, prayers, phone calls and media outreach, Teeba finally arrived in Cleveland with her grandmother, and the Marlowes offered them a home. She received treatment under the care of the Plastic Surgery Foundation immediate-past President Arun Gosain, MD…” In March of 2019, 17 year-old Teeba released a book, “A Brave Face,” that discusses her journey through reconstructive surgery. She credits Dr. Gosain (pictured here with Teeba Furat Marlowe) for helping her improve her confidence through the years by reducing scarring and restoring facial function.

What a wonderful story! And a great way to spotlight a member of the ASPS and the special work that he’s doing. And we wouldn’t have known about it without the EXCEL Awards. Hollywood may have their Oscars and they’re up to year 93 for the presentation in April, but the EXCEL Awards has an amazing history of its own—these are the 41st EXCELs this year. And we want to know your stories so we can add to the great lore.

Today, Friday, Feb. 12, is the final day to get the early-bird rate for your 2021 EXCEL Awards entries. Check out all the categories here. But by no means is this the final day to enter. The regular nominations go to Feb. 28 and the extended deadline is March 7. We hope you let us in on the great work that you did in 2020, when we all worked so hard to bring some normalcy, excitement and value to a most abnormal year. It’s time for some recognition!

The above story conveys just one way how an association or society can showcase its members. Here are four more ways that 2020 EXCEL Award winners accomplished a task that amplifies the value of the association:

Convey information.
The Southern California Golf Association won a 2020 Gold EXCEL Award for their SCGA Rules Crew videos. These are two-minute, slickly done videos that portray a rule on the golf course. The one I’m watching now is called Time’s Up! ”The SCGA Rules Crew explains the new Rules regarding time for search outlined in Rule 18.2a.” A woman hits a ball into the trees, and her playing partner says, “Remember, we only have three minutes to find your ball.” “Three minutes?” the woman who hit it says. “I thought it was five.” No, it’s definitely three.” “That doesn’t make any sense—what can you possibly do in three minutes?” “I’ll show you.” And she goes about picnicking, reading the local paper, talking to her mom, and go on the SCGA site to find a new partner. Then their slogan comes, “Your passion. Our purpose.” There are 10 of these now on the site.

Show the power of an infographic.
The Casualty Actuarial Society won a 2020 EXCEL Award for their CAS Student Central Infographic. In a recent report, infographics scored incredibly high for click-to-open rates when included in an email. People respond to them. In this particular one, CAS is able to convey a wealth of information in a very palatable way. It shows what CAS does, the difference it makes in a career and in salary and gives advice what to focus on now. “In the U.S., college graduates on the casualty actuarial track start out earning significantly more than the average college graduate.” This was a great way to reach students who probably pay more attention to this than to, say, a regular article or photo.

Promote your association in a fun way.
One look at the homepage for the 2020 Gold EXCEL Award-winning I Spy Physiology Blog: Spotting Physiology in Everyday Life from the American Physiological Society suggests this is a very cool place. A woman hiker is ascending a mountain with a gorgeous green backdrop behind her. The blog has several sections—Diet & Nutrition, Exercise & Fitness, Most Popular, Contributors, COVID-19. One blog that jumps out is headlined Horror-ibly Wrong Physiology in Scary Movies. “Unrealistic Blood: On the screen, blood is a bright red liquid that squirts out of wounds when a character is killed. Blood gets its red color from red blood cells that are filled with oxygen. But without oxygen—such as when someone dies—it changes to a dark reddish-purple hue. Also, when exposed to air, blood will also start to thicken into a gel-like substance, unlike the watery blood seen in movies.”

Give voices to members.
The Rotarian Magazine won a 2020 EXCEL Award for a column titled, How I Met My Sister. “One morning, I got a text message from my brother, asking me to call him before work,” Sarah Long’s story begins. “I asked if he was OK. Fine, he assured me. ‘So, I have this Ancestry account,’ he said.” At times, we can do well by writing member spotlights, but there are other times when it’s better to let our members tell their own stories. We can also look to add more diversity in this way. “Being found by a sibling highlighted what I didn’t know about my family, but it also reminded me of what I had always been lucky to have,” Long writes. “Stories. Photo albums. Letters from my grandfather…” This column really humanizes the magazine for its readers.

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