For many in the social sector, hosting a prize has become practically compulsory. But prizes have also proved divisive, sparking debates about their intended use, the value they provide, and the costs they incur. With so many conflicting perspectives, are there any guidelines to help decide whether a prize is worth pursuing?

We have spent more than a decade working with foundations, corporations, government agencies, and NGOs to design and host prizes; we’ve also observed dozens...

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