Every day, people within the nonprofit sector go above and beyond to help organizations deliver programs and services: consider the volunteer who stays after the event to help clean up; the staffer whose extra hours bring about a critical community partnership; and the board member who secures a substantial donation. But in today’s hectic environment, it’s often difficult to keep track of who is doing good works or to recognize them for their efforts.

That’s where the Goody Awards come in. Launched in March 2012 with the goal of inspiring positive change by recognizing good, the Goody Awards capitalize on social media, special awards and cause marketing campaigns for individuals and brands in four key areas: women empowerment, health, environment and education.

“If someone does a good deed, many times people don’t thank them. In the nonprofit world where people have a lot of volunteers, they’ll often forget to do something special for them,” Liz H. Kelly, Goody Awards CEO and founder, said. “The Special Olympics just held their Summer Invitational here in Los Angeles and they had 3,000 volunteers. I tweeted to them, ‘What did you do to thank the volunteers?’ and I got no response.”

Kelly, who has worked on recognition programs for companies such as T. Rowe Price and Sprint PCS, and marketed for businesses like Fox Interactive Media and MySpace, said the idea for the awards and campaigns revolves around “stacking the positives,” and in the short amount of time they’ve been available, they’ve honored local, national and global nonprofits and social enterprises doing good:

  • Coinciding with the opening of the World Cup, the Goody Awards kicked off a #WorldCup4Good campaign at the Sports and Social Change’s World Cup Kickoff Los Angeles event. The marketing campaign, which runs through July 13, bestows online awards through the use of the hashtag #GoodyAwards and #WorldCup4Good. Hernanes, a Brazilian central midfielder for Serie A club Internazionale, has pledged to match every dollar raised up to $25,000 during the campaign to benefit love.fútbol, an organization dedicated to helping communities plan, build and maintain simple soccer fields.
  • Ian Somerhalder—perhaps the most influential celebrity on social media dedicated to social change and the star of the CW series The Vampire Diaries—is head of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, which works to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures. His worldwide fanbase taps Twitter to recognize the good Somerhalder’s foundation is doing in their communities in Italy, Brazil, South Africa and elsewhere, and also to honor other fans by tweeting Goody Awards to each other for their good works.
  • “It’s a safe place to recognize each other for doing good,” Kelly said. “The tweets are so authentic in terms of cheering each other on. We’re available on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram, but the primary engine is Twitter because we have a way to count how many hashtags someone is receiving.”

Goody Awards are available both on and offline, the CEO said. Here’s how it works:

  1. Online awards. Anyone can recognize a terrific board member, volunteer, staff person or other stakeholder by using hashtags for five different awards: #HeroGoody #TeamGoody, #EcoGoody #GoodDeedGoody and #TeacherGoody.

    “Let’s say I nominate Jane Doe for putting in extra time by using her Twitter handle, @JaneDoe,” Kelly said. “I would simply tweet: ‘I nominate @JaneDoe for a #GoodDeedGoody #GoodyAwards for putting in extra time to help.’”

    Jane Doe immediately receives a notice from Twitter that someone has thanked her and she can immediately retweet it, the CEO said, so it’s a viral way to share the good things people are doing. There are also #GoodDeedGoody awards for the month and year that are calculated by the number of individual awards a person or organization receives, and identified by Twitter hashtags. Participants can visit the leader’s board at the Goody Awards/Goody PR website to see who’s ahead in the monthly and annual award standings.

  2. Offline awards. Nonprofit organizations and groups can purchase Hero Goody Award tags (dogtag necklaces) to honor their local heroes for $35 apiece. Up to 50 percent of the proceeds from the sales of the necklaces benefit Free The Children, an international charity and educational partner that educates, engages and empowers young people to be global citizens. Nonprofits can contact Goody Awards to nominate an individual for a Golden Goody Award, a lifetime achievement award given as part of a cause marketing campaign during a planned live event.

Organizations also can hire Goody Awards/Goody PR Brands to run cause marketing campaigns, the CEO said. For instance, Goody Awards/Goody PR can create a new award called a #SpecialOlympicsGoody or #GirlScoutGoody, where a local chapter can engage fans online through a hashtag, with votes counted for its stakeholders doing good for a month and/or a year award. Or a nonprofit may choose to honor a special project crew, volunteer, donor or board member with a Goody Award/Goody PR special recognition award.

“There’s a great deal of research on the value of recognition, and in many cases it’s more important to people than financial incentives,” Kelly said. “One study found that seventy-nine percent of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving a position. It’s vital for people to be happy while they work, and we allow people to give awards twenty-four seven,” she said.

For more information

Liz H. Kelly is the CEO and founder of the Goody Awards and Goody PR, facilitating Social Good Awards via social media, special awards and cause marketing campaigns for individuals and brands in four key areas: women empowerment, health, environment and education. To learn more, visit www.goodyawards.com or check the Twitter handle @GoodyAwards.