This year I've been lucky enough to have been offered some prizes or promotions from a few different companies for different things. I don't really want to name names, because I think the offers or awards were nice gestures and made with the best of intentions to me and others. In most cases, these awards resulted in credits or even cash that I could use to purchase things I might want from a limited prize list. That's cool and it definitely is a little exciting.
However in more than one case, there was a substantial delay in the award being processed and made available. That wasn't made clear early on that this might occur, and it kind of removes a lot of the goodwill that the award might generate.
Suppose I sent you a note that SQLServerCentral was going to give you a $500 certificate to Amazon. You'd be excited, right? What if I didn't follow up on this for a couple days and then when you pinged me I said it would be a month before I could get it out to you? Probably you'd be disappointed or less excited.
You'd still appreciate it when you got it and it's a nice gesture, but I think a lot of the goodwill I'd gained with the announcement would be lost.
It's a simple thing, especially these days, to be prepared to distribute awards to people quickly. You can stage them up early, and you should, and make sure they are delivered quickly, or that you set expectations immediately. If I told you that you'd won the certificate and it would be delivered in 4 weeks, you'd probably be more accepting of that than if you didn't know when it was coming.
In the past I've always contacted people, usually sending them gifts before I make the announcements so that the delays are minimal. I'd hope that companies would do the same because if I have to come asking what happened, I definitely feel a little like a jerk asking for my free gift.