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Advisor Alley: Use Service Awards to Solidify Your Relationship with Districts

Some advisors have found that a great way to solidify their relationship with a school district is to promote service awards for the district’s employees. 

One of the ways to do this that has the most impact is to actively participate in recognizing employee milestones. And one way you can do this is by providing a service award plaque to recognize the awardee. This plaque can be hung in the school’s common area for all to see. In addition, you can also host a service award breakfast or lunch for the awardees and their administration. 

How should you go about doing this?  


You should do some homework up front before you approach a district with the idea. 

First, you will need to find a local trophy shop to learn what plaque options are available. Once you have decided the best option, ask them if they have a sample or brochure that you can take with you to show when you present the idea. Here is a sample image to give you an idea of what the plaque could look like.

We have found that school principals (or your best contact in the school’s administration) are the best people to present the idea. You should start by asking how they currently acknowledge awardees. You can do this by asking the simple question, “Do you provide any special recognition for employees with tenure in excess of 15 years?” You can use any time frame you choose, but 15 or 20 years is a good start. 

If they are interested in the idea, the conversation should flow into when the best time to present it would be. Let them know that the first breakfast or luncheon would be for any employee who has attained the criteria you set and then each subsequent year you would invite all previous recipients as well as well as any new inductees.

This is a fantastic way to get in front of long-term employees who are most likely planning for their retirement and maintain a presence in the schools.

Rob Whitman is Director, Retirement Plan Solutions, PenServ Plan Services, Inc.