Salute to Excellence application FAQs

What is Salute to Excellence?

The Salute to Excellence is the largest nonprofit awards ceremony in the country. It is a time for nonprofit staff, board members, CEOs, and community partners to revel in the accomplishments of our sector. Each fall, CNM hosts the dinner and awards presentation that honors area nonprofits for their commitment to management excellence. CNM is excited to announce we are presenting 13 Salute to Excellence awards this year totaling nearly $250,000. Please mark your calendars for October 10, 2019 at the Omni Nashville Hotel and join more than a thousand Middle Tennesseans as we celebrate a night of nonprofit excellence. Continue to check our website (and your inbox!) for updates and more information about the event.


When and where will the Salute to Excellence Awards be held?

Salute to Excellence will take place on Thursday, October 10, 2019 at the Omni Nashville Hotel. Ticket information will be available this summer.


Why should I apply?

Being a Salute winner and finalist is a great honor, and both winners and finalists receive community recognition and cash prizes to benefit the future of their organizations. Nonprofits are able to tell their story and be recognized for the great work that they are doing in the community.


When is the deadline for applications?

The Salute applications will be available on beginning March 1, 2019 and applications are due April 1, 2019. We encourage you to attend our Call for Entries info session on March 1, 2019 to learn more about the awards from our dynamic group of panelist. 


How many awards can I apply for?

Each organization is eligible to apply for a maximum of three Salute to Excellence awards. NOTE: If applying for three (3) Salute to Excellence awards, you are only eligible to apply for two (2) of three (3) awards under The Frist Foundation Awards of Achievement. Each award may have separate, additional criteria and requirements which may be found on the application.


Can I save my work once I have started the application?

Applications cannot be saved once started, so it is recommended that you preview the application and gather the information in advance by clicking "Learn more" to access a PDF version of the application. You should allow plenty of time for completion.

You will receive a confirmation once application is complete and submitted.


What are some factors to consider when applying?

When applying, please consider if your organization meets the general requirements for applications. In addition, each award has specific requirements described in the application. Each application contains comprehensive questions; please use the preview link to review and map out your responses before beginning the process.


What are some tips to consider when applying?

  1. Consider what is going on day-to-day in your organization and what sets the individual or organization apart from anyone and anything else.
  2. It is important to effectively tell your organization’s story. Consider the questions as if you were having a conversation: be brief, heart-felt, and meaningful in your responses.
  3. Select one person as the nominator for your organization or the individual to eliminate multiple entries.
  4. Have someone proofread and edit your responses before submitting your application.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. 


Why do some awards require site visits?

The Frist Foundation Awards, The Healing Trust Compassionate Care Award, The United Way of Metropolitan Nashville Community Impact Award, and The Erie Chapman Award require site visits in addition to the application because some great work is too difficult to put into words. By visiting the organizations the reviewing panelists have a better understanding of the applicant’s mission and vision.


How should I prepare for site visits?

  1. Please let employees and volunteers know about the site visit ahead of time.
  2. Consider allowing time for the panelists to chat with the team without interrupting the agency’s flow, but also being mindful of the confidentiality of some agency’s work.
  3. If you are a small staff or do not have employees, invite your board members to meet with the panelists.
  4. Remember, that these site visits are to be kept confidential between the organization, the community panelists, and CNM.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. 


Who judges the Salute Applications and how do they make their decisions?

Each award will have a panel of 7-8 community volunteers that will read through the applications (in the case of The Frist Foundation, The Healing Trust, The United Way of Metropolitan Nashville and Erie Chapman Awards and also make site visits). They have discussions on if the application meets the award description and requirements, then make the recommendation of winners and finalists to CNM.  


What to expect if you are chosen as a Salute Awards Finalist?

If you are selected as a finalist for any of the Salute to Excellence awards, please expect to submit photos, videos and other supplemental materials within the allotted timeframe to CNM. Finalists will also need to select a representative to be interviewed on-camera to create a video segment that captures the essence of your organization's story.

You will also be invited to join Salute sponsors, award panel members, CNM board and staff to our Finalists Announcement on June 14, 2019, which is a pre-event to celebrate the awards and announce the finalists.

You will be asked to be present for the entire Salute to Excellence event on Thursday, October 10, 2019 in order to participate in photos ops, interviews, and other media related requests by CNM to celebrate your accomplishments and the evening.