CWRT Congress: Recognition Through Awards

By Carol VanOrnum,
Civil War Round Table Congress VP

We’re all familiar with the dogged heroism of Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, the young Union artillerist who, on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg, held his ground through 90 minutes of the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble charge.  Seriously wounded in the shoulder and holding his intestines in with his hand after shrapnel ripped open his abdomen, he refused to leave his post until a fatal bullet ended his life.

Many would have issued a rounding “huzzah!” when Cushing was finally and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in a 2014 ceremony attended by two dozen descendants.  Giving accolades to those so deserving is important.

That is why the CWRT Congress is continuing its campaign to award CWRTs that make a mark in the CWRT community.  Once again, we are looking for round table nominations for the Wallace L. Rueckel Innovation Award and the Dr. John A. Bamberl Phoenix Award, both of which were presented to deserving CWRTs in 2022, the Old Baldy CWRT and the Inland Empire CWRT, respectively.

The Innovation Award recognizes a round table that has produced creative, effective, and inventive programs that provide value to its members and their community.  The Phoenix Award honors a round table that has recreated itself after either a period of stagnation or extinction.

For 2023 a new award has been created: the Matthew Borowick Marketing Award.  This award has been named after Matt Borowick, one of the founding members of the CWRT Congress.  Matt spent ten years as a columnist for the Civil War News Round Table Review, was news editor for the New Jersey CWRT, and is currently Vice President of University Relations and the Public Relations and Marketing Department of Seton Hall University.  Regarding the importance of Civil War round tables and marketing, Matt stated, “It is vitally important that round tables continuously seek new and retain current members.  This involves a thoughtful and constant commitment to marketing.”

Why is marketing so important to your CWRT?  In one word: VIABILITY.  But there’s more to it.  While it’s all well and good that we continue to provide interesting and talented speakers to our round table members, we can and should do more.  Marketing means engaging your members and giving them a sense of belonging, of nurturing relationships and keeping them involved.  Marketing builds your CWRT’s reputation and subsequently your brand.  It’s a communication channel that can grow your visibility.  Your marketing strategies can help you find that target member (think younger generations).

The American Marketing Association’s (AMA) defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Developing a marketing plan can help a CWRT create awareness of who you want to reach, how you want to reach them, and how you’re going to be represented to others.  A marketing plan is a conscious effort to invite a larger audience into your big tent.

The submission requirements have changed slightly from last year.  Both the Innovation and Marketing Awards require either full 501(c)3 status or an application in process.  All three require using the fillable forms found on the CWRT Congress website.  Winners of these awards will be awarded a trophy and $250 check.  You can nominate your own CWRT, or someone can nominate you.  Entries are due June 1, 2023.  You can find the Awards here.

We urge every CWRT to consider these awards.

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