Presenting people or organizations with plaques is a gesture of appreciation for their service, accomplishments or donations. But to convey your gratitude properly, the wording of an award should befit the recipient. It’s important to consider the formality of the occasion as well as the space allotted on the face of the plaque for text. Before handing off the plaque for permanent engraving, ask yourself a few crucial questions about the award beneficiary and event.
Think about why the plaque is being awarded. Is this award handed out every year, or is this a special award? If given out on a regular basis, look at wording from previous awards and decide if you want to stick with the traditional wording or, if needed, use wording that befits the occasion. For new or special occasions, consider the accomplishment and why it’s being rewarded. For instance, if recognizing a salesperson in your organization for his exemplary sales, consider phrases that commend the salesperson’s achievements and establish a benchmark for high success such as “For Unmatched Sales” or “In Honor of an Excellent Sales Record.”
Consider the award recipient. What kind of relationship does your organization have with this person or organization? If the recipient has a long history with your organization, you may want to mention that on the plaque. Also, double-check that you have the correct wording and spelling of the recipient’s name and, if applicable, official title.
Think about the formality of the award. Will this plaque be handed out at a ceremony? If so, who will be attending this ceremony? Where and how will the plaque be displayed? Consider these questions in determining the right tone for wording the plaque.
Decide how the date of the award should appear on the plaque. Is the date for an accomplishment that took place on a certain date or is it for cumulative achievements made during a month or a year? Should you record the date of the accomplishment or the date the award was given or both? If printing the full date, consider the range of formats. For instance, February 19, 2013, can also be displayed Feb. 19, 2013, 2/19/2013, 2.19.2013, February 2013, Feb. 2013, 02/2013 or simply 2013. For consistency purposes, if applicable, look at how dates are typically printed on awards in your organization.
If you haven’t already done so, select a plaque for the occasion. Once you’ve chosen the plaque, look at how much space you have for the content of the award plaque. Make sure to consider the width of engraved letters in your assessment. Also, take your organization's budget for the plaque into consideration, as the engraver may charge per engraved letter.
Draft a message to put on your plaque. Also, think about how you want to order the name of the award, the name of the recipient, the date of the award and any other words you may want to add to the plaque. Once you’ve decided on a message to put on the plaque, make sure to spell-check your plaque for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors using your word processing software. A typo is a costly error that can be embarrassing and disrespectful to the recipient.
Genevieve Rice is a freelance writer currently living in Phoenix, Ariz. Rice has been published in a variety of publications, including the "Oklahoma Gazette," the "Oklahoma Daily" and "Boyd Street Magazine." She earned a Bachelor of Science in multidisciplinary studies from the University of Oklahoma.