The entry fee is $300 (dropping to $200 if you enter a second or third category with the same project) so smaller nonprofits and associations will likely forego participating. But the larger foundations and nonprofits have the budget to participate – and they do accept entries from PR agencies and corporate teams partnering with a nonprofit organization (so this might be a good opportunity to mention to an outstanding corporate partner you are working with, even if your nonprofit can’t afford to enter multiple entries).
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Advocacy Campaign and Lobbying Efforts – This category recognizes a campaign or ongoing initiative using a wide range of strategies (e.g. media, special events, Web content) where outcomes demonstrate change (e.g. legislation passed, funds raised, key support and/or endorsements from other groups, legislators, etc.)
Annual Publication or Brochure – Submissions will be judged on design and content, and success at connecting with a target audience and producing desired results.
Blog/s – Recognizing an outstanding, influential business-related blog or online journal written by a representative of an organization with the goal of espousing a cause or a certain message. Blog should be written with flair and personality.
Branding/Re-Branding – Entries should be clear in stated goal of branding/re-branding and show measurable results proving that these efforts resulted in more donations or increased corporate involvement or more community/employee involvement, etc.
Corporate/Nonprofit Partnership/s – Recognizing outstanding alliance/s with a corporate entity in the past 12 months, with an eye toward exceeding the stated mission of the partnership. Note: It is recommended that you enter partnerships separately, not as a single entry.
Crisis Management – Communications surrounding any crisis, from an industry crisis to internal executive malfeasance, are eligible in this category.
Digital PR and Marketing – The winner of this category will have shown outstanding use of digital media (Web, e-mail, etc) to communicate a message/s. This can include a marketing campaign on your Web site or a partner’s; outstanding e-mail communications and other capitalization of digital media for PR/marketing.
Email Newsletter/s – Entries should demonstrate consistent delivery of varied content relevant to target audience; engaging design; superior open and click-through rates.
Employee / Internal Communications – Recognizing outstanding internal PR efforts at nonprofits/associations, including employee communications campaigns and ongoing initiatives to motivate, inspire and retain employees.
Event PR – Entries should include PR conducted at an industry, association or other event/conference, or a series of events conceived and implemented by your organization (for instance, awareness of an issue). Note: this can include the entering nonprofit’s annual conference, for example, or a public relations efforts at an industry event.
External Publication or Report (online or print) – This category recognizes an external publication produced by or for a nonprofit. Publication can be a one-time effort or an ongoing publication. Hard copy and electronic publications are eligible; please include 5 hard copies of the publication with your entry. Also include pertinent information from our standard campaign entry.
Facebook Communications Campaign – Unique use of Facebook to communicate aims of a nonprofit organization or campaign; winning entry will also be judged on focused, stated aim of Facebook use and measurable results.
Fundraising – Recognizing outstanding communications surrounding a single or ongoing drive to raise funds or increase membership. Must demonstrate the role of PR in the outcomes.
Green PR/Marketing – Entries will be judged on originality of green PR/marketing initiative, how closely aligned it is with an organization’s overall goals and measurable, desired results.
Internal Publication (online or print) – This category recognizes an internal publication produced by or for a nonprofit. Publication can be a one-time effort or an ongoing publication. Hard copy and electronic publications are eligible; please include 5 hard copies of the publication with your entry. Also include pertinent information from our standard campaign entry.
Marketing – Recognizes proven success with PR and marketing techniques for a nonprofit organization – judges will look closely at how well you integrated PR and marketing into your communications plan in general or for a specific campaign.
Media Relations – Recognizes outstanding strategies and outcomes with either a singular media relations campaign surrounding an issue or a proven media relations strategy whose outcome improved the nonprofit’s standing among its stakeholders.
Member Communications – This category salutes outstanding public relations efforts targeted at an association’s membership year-round or for a particular campaign.
New Member – Recognizes creativity of a new member campaign and quantifiable results of campaign.
Member Retention – Recognizes timing of campaign, originality in reaching out to membership, quantifiable results and positive feedback resulting from campaign.
Natural Disaster Communications – Entries will be judged on breadth of cross-platform communications, timing of communications, success at reaching the desired audience, overall usefulness of communications and feedback from target audience.
Nonprofit Partner of the Year – Recognizes corporation that has forged a deep and creative partnership with a nonprofit in an alignment that enhances the reputation of both parties.
PR on a Shoestring Budget – Recognizing outstanding examples of a nonprofit achieving success with limited funds/budget, whether it’s for a single campaign or ongoing PR/public affairs. While “shoestring” is subjective, the winners in this category are those who have done more with less, and have been creative with the limited PR dollars they have.
Press Release – Recognizes one or multiple press releases for writing quality and achievement of desired results: ie, hits to Web site; responses to a call for action; inbound inquiries stemming from the release, etc.
Promotional Items/Merchandise – Recognizes successful results of using merchandise to promote the aims of a nonprofit organization or initiative.
Public Affairs/Issues Management – Recognizes successful promotion of a cause or social issue via public sector organizations and political channels.
Public Service – This category recognizes effective television, print, online and radio PSAs for a nonprofit, or produced by a nonprofit. PSA must have run in the past 12 months.
Social Media – This category recognizes campaigns that connect people and allow them to be integrated into a product or company. Social media campaigns can include: Internet forums, message boards, blogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video.
Social Responsibility Campaign/Initiatives – This category recognizes a particular campaign in which the association’s initiatives/brand is aligned with a cause.
Twitter Communications Campaign – Unique use of Twitter to communicate aims of a nonprofit organization or campaign; winning entry will also be judged on focused, stated aim of Twitter use and measurable results.
Video and/or Podcast Program – Entries in this category should focus on the PR efforts surrounding a podcast and/or videocast, whether in the consumer or business-to-business arena.
Volunteer Program – Either a new or ongoing volunteer program from an organization (corporate or nonprofit); entries should be clear in stated aim of program and in number of volunteers involved, as well as results of volunteer efforts.
Web Site – Recognizing outstanding Web sites among nonprofits, from a design, communications and navigation standpoint. Entrants must demonstrate the Web site’s effectiveness in building membership, raising issue awareness and the ways that PR has played a role in the site’s success.
Nonprofit Communicator of the Year
Association/Nonprofit Team of the Year
Ami Neiberger-Miller is a public relations strategist and writer. She is the founder of Steppingstone LLC, a virtual and independent public relations practice near Washington, D.C. that provides public relations counsel, social media advice, writing services, and creative design work for publications and websites (portfolio). Ami blogs frequently about media relations, social media, public relations and other issues. She also reviews books on her blog about public relations, nonprofit life, work-family balance and social media practice. Follow her on Twitter @AmazingPRMaven.