The Spirit of Manchester Awards is a celebration of voluntary and community action in Manchester organised by Macc as the support organisation for the 3000+ groups in the city. So it works in a way which is shaped by Macc's values: being supportive, being collaborative and being influential.
For a start, none of the award decisions are made by Macc. We host the party, but we don't decide what happens.
- During the spring Macc puts out an open call for nominations in categories which are about the things we believe make the voluntary sector brilliant: volunteers, campaigning, partnerships, innovation, etc.
- We invite a panel of judges to shortlist 3 finalists in each category
- We provide training to shortlised organisations on how to make a short film (about 1 minute) about each finalist. Of course, this means that all the finalists also get a film which they can use to promote their work in future
- Macc gets to work on finding supporters to provide directly or indirectly things like the venue, the food, the awards, items for auction and raffle prizes
- In the autumn, we hold an Awards event: all the nominees, some invited guests and a number of supporters who have bought tickets come along
- At the event we announce each of the categories, we show each of finalists films and use electronic voting buttons for people to pick a winner, encouraging people to talk, cheer and celebrate the amazing stories they're seeing
- We try to get people to use social media, the press and their networks to share stories and tell people about the wonderful voluntary and community sector we have in Manchester
- We do a little fundraising on the night to enable us to give out a few small grants to local organisations
Virtually everything about our awards event is borrowed or donated: it varies from year to year but the key thing is we want it to be characterised by collaboration, participation, etc. as those are the kind of things we like about the voluntary sector at its best.
But that's just the process. To get an idea of what it's really like on the night, have a look at this video from That's Manchester TV reporting on the 2016 Awards