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Learning Series: Call for Entry – Registration, Payment, and Submissions

Learning Series: Call for Entry – Registration, Payment, and Submissions

Your call for entry period is critical for your ultimate awards program success. It’s the time when you’ll attract high-quality submissions and, most importantly, begin generating revenue to meet costs (and hopefully do more than break even).

As such, it’s important that you don’t neglect this critical time in your program. And, by focusing on these three critical components of it – registration, payment, and submissions – you’ll do your part to ensure its success.

Pre-Registration and Registration

Both pre-registration and registration are critical processes where entrants can first tell you they’re interested in what you’re doing and then actually show you they’re committed by registering.

Many programs offer a pre-registration process, which is when a person declares their intention to participate in your program. You may just want to collect basic information for this stage, such as:

  • first and last name;
  • email address; and
  • company name

Then, during the registration process, those who pre-registered can complete their registration with little additional information and those who didn’t pre-register can provide all necessary information.


Payment is traditionally the last step in the submission process and solidifies one’s intention to enter a program. Sometimes, the entrant will pay the submission fee or the nominator will pay, depending on your program.

If an entrant is already a member of your program, you should offer a discount as an incentive to enter your awards program.


Entrants will complete their submission before paying for their entry. Sometimes, there are several steps in the submission process depending on your program. For example, some submissions may come in different forms, such as:

  • Electronic – Most entrants will deliver their submission in electronic form, including books, photos, drawings, and more. Some programs may require the same in physical form but many don’t.
  • Physical – Although many programs no longer require a physical entry, yours might depending on your industry and the nature of your program.
  • Supporting Documentation – Supporting documentation, like references, may also be part of the submission process.

Keep in mind that there may be multiple rounds in your program and therefore two rounds of submissions. Choose the format wisely based upon this distinction.

Are You Prepared for the Call for Entry?

Once you determine and set up your registration, and possibly pre-registration, payment, and submission processes, you will be!

This is the most critical step at any point in your awards program. Organize yours carefully and prepare for success.

Want a companion worksheet to plan for success? Download it here.

Ashley Surinak is the resident OpenWater expert on all things content. From the blog to guides and beyond, you'll find her at every turn in your OpenWater journey.

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