Prizes and motivation in a sports challenge. What to keep in mind?


Organizing a corporate event, of which competition is an important element, brings with it the need to make important decisions. These include the choice of an appropriate gratification system. After all, the right choice of prizes in organized competitions can have a direct impact on their effectiveness. 

The individual nature of employees and their needs affect the various motivations for participating in a company sports challenge. For some, sports accessories, company gadgets or vouchers for a team-building outing will be attractive. Others will be satisfied by the very fact of competition and the opportunity to improve their fitness. Others may be motivated by the positive impact on the environment or supporting a charitable cause.But all rewards ultimately share a common goal - to increase the motivation, commitment and satisfaction of participants in the challenge.

Which gifts are the most attractive? Is it better to recognize only the best players or all committed participants? Ideas and opportunities for appreciation are numerous. Here are some solutions that have worked well in company sports challenges organized in cooperation with Activy.

Material prizes and unique experiences

Practical and useful items such as a bicycle light, water bottles or bicycle bags are the most popular. An additional advantage that increases the value of the prize is its uniqueness, such as limited edition company T-shirts or designed socks, which you can only get in this challenge! Such a product remains in the memory of employees for a long time and looks great in photos and at other events.

Equally common prizes are vouchers for various attractions or team-building outings. Most of us are eager to enjoy leisure activities by trying new things or just having fun. That's why prizes such as a bowling pass, a voucher for spa treatments or movie tickets are a universal and appreciated form of gratification. It's a great idea to reward team rankings

Individually or as a team?

Organizers most often recognize individual achievements and first-place winners. This is a popular sports practice, but is it appropriate for company challenges? When deciding on this method, it's worth keeping in mind to separate awards for men and women. This gives everyone an equal chance to win. In addition, separate rankings are a practice that receives a lot of support from the participants themselves.

Creating teams is good for integration (small group system), mutual motivation and achieving common goals. It’s  worth appreciating such commitment and taking team ranking into account when rewarding participants. You can give identical gifts to everyone, nevertheless, it’s nice to celebrate the success of the team with an integration event. So a voucher for the whole team to go out is a good idea. A trophy or one big prize that employees would have to exchange or eventually leave with the company will not necessarily work.

If the company's sports challenge is divided into editions, for example monthly, it's worth noting that each team can receive a prize only once during the entire competition. This will give more people a chance to compete for such an attraction!

Rewarding at the start

It’s best to fuel motivation from the very beginning. Motivate employees from the very first days of the challenge and offer them a reward for minimal effort, even if it's completing 3 activities or earning 200 points. This could be funny socks, a mug or some other gadget that can't be won any other way.

You can also reward slightly bigger achievements. Set the challenge of covering 200 kilometers in a week, and whoever meets the task will receive a special prize. This way, people who don't necessarily care about the podium, but like to achieve individual goals, will be more motivated.

Choosing the charity foundation that the company will support

For many participants the charitable goal is one of the biggest drivers to participate and engage in a sports challenge. A simple mechanism for converting kilometers into PLN in 2022 challenges in Activy resulted in a total of 1.7 million PLN raised! So such a feature is worth including in your planned event. The choice of cause is up to you: a foundation, a local shelter, a youth sports club or planting a forest - any help makes a difference. If your company doesn’t cooperate with a specific charity foundation, you can leave the choice of beneficiary to your employees! A common practice is to give the winning team the privilege of choosing the organization or other charity cause that will receive the money raised during the challenge. You also don't have to limit yourself to one charitable cause, in Activy you can easily run several smaller fundraising, for example, for different foundations.

"They are spreading like fresh buns", Prizes for coins, regardless of ranking position.

An interesting and effective form of rewarding contest participants is the prize store. Users convert the points they earn into ActiveCoins - a special app currency p, for which they can redeem the items available in the "store". This is a great option, which allows participants to choose the products they want from  a wide catalog of prizes, for example, a voucher for free coffee, cinema tickets for the family, a water bottle with the logo of the challenge. The biggest advantage of such a solution is that the chance to win an attractive gadget is available to all involved players, not just those with the highest ranking. The employee himself decides which reward for his points he wants to get.

It is better to opt for a few cheaper prizes than one or two more expensive ones. Not only with the "store" option. We guarantee that this is a proven solution! It avoids unhealthy competition, and participants are motivated until the very end of the challenge.

Rewards vs cafeteria system

If you have a cafeteria system in your company, you can change points from sports challenge to points for cafeteria.There are different approaches to this solution: converting all points earned in Activy into points/miles to the cafeteria, a set bonus to the cafeteria provided you exceed a minimum threshold of points or miles in Activy, or simply the reward for finishing in a certain place in the ranking is a designated additional value of points in the cafeteria.

Activy does not link directly to such systems, but we have experience in converting our sports challenges into cafeteria offers.

Extra thrill

If you want to introduce an element of surprise to the challenge, you can choose to giveaway prizes through a drawing. We highly recommend a “weighted” system of rewarding, which means the more points or, for example, days of regularity, the higher the chances of winning. You can hold such a drawing at a special "live" event, which for sure will generate a lot of excitement!

Another option is to award people with non-standard ranking positions. So, instead of the top three or ten, gifts will be given to employees in 5th, 15th, 78th and 134th place. Who will be the lucky one? You’ll find out at the final!

The prizes in the challenge should always be sufficiently motivating. It's a good idea to tailor them to your employees' expectations and tastes and look at what gadgets have been in previous projects to plan something unique.


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