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Gold Medallion Awards
Entry deadline: March 28, 2022 Winners will be notified in May 2022.
Fee per entry: $175 for members, $235 for non-members
Submission portal: www.nspra.org/award-apply
NSPRA’s Gold Medallion Award is the top national competition in North America recognizing superior school public relations programs and campaigns grounded in strategic communication best practices. As this is a highly competitive award, entrants are encouraged to watch NSPRA's webinar "How to Prepare a Gold Medallion Entry" and review past Gold Medallion winners for an overview of the award process and successful entries.
Winning entries will be recognized nationally and awarded Gold Medallions at the NSPRA 2022 National Seminar in Chicago.
What programs/projects/campaigns are eligible for entry?
Strategic programs, projects and campaigns submitted for Gold Medallion consideration must be entered in one of six categories, listed below. In each category, judges may select one winner, more than one winner or no winners.
- Bond/Finance Campaign
- Comprehensive, Strategic, Year-Round Communication Program
- Crisis Communication Campaign (all types of crises, including COVID-19)
- Marketing Communication Campaign
- Public Engagement/Parental Involvement Campaign
- Special Communication Project/Campaign
Programs/projects/campaigns must have been underway or completed between March 2021 and the contest deadline of March 28, 2022. For Bond/Finance Campaign entries, all voting results need to be final by the contest deadline to be eligible for an award that calendar year.
How should entries be organized?
Gold Medallion entries must be submitted as a single PDF file in the online awards submission system. The total award entry, including entry form and all application materials, is limited to no more than 26 pages (packaged in a single PDF).
An entry must include:
- Cover page with entry information (page max = 1) Include entrant's name and title, district/organization name, address, phone, email, title of entry, entry category, number of communication staff, size/type of district or organization. Do not exceed one page in length.
- Synopsis of the program/project/campaign (word max = 350) Provides a clear, concise overview of the program/project/campaign. Do not exceed 350 words.
- Summary of the program/project/campaign (page max = 6) Summarize the program/project/campaign by demonstrating how it followed the four-step strategic public relations planning process of research, planning, implementation and evaluation (RPIE). Include hyperlinks to any key support materials (websites, videos, social media, PDFs, etc.). Do not exceed six pages.
An entry may include:
- Additional support material demonstrating the RPIE strategic planning process may be included but may not cause the entry to exceed the 26 page total. Samples, brief synopses or links to support materials are sufficient (e.g., no need to include complete survey results or reports).
Entries typically are organized in the following manner:
- Page 1: Cover page with entry information
- Page 2: Synopsis of program/campaign
- Pages 3-8: Summary of program campaign
- Pages 9-26: Additional support material
Review entries from the most recent Gold Medallion Award winners before preparing your entry.
How are entries judged?
NSPRA uses as judges a variety of association members and public relations professionals who are experienced, award winning and accredited. Judges' identities are kept confidential. When reviewing entries, they judge each entry:
Individually based on grounding in strategic communication best practices, concept clarity, good writing, unique attributes and alignment with entry guidelines.
- Compared to other entries within the same category based on level of superiority and ability to serve as a model for other school systems to replicate.
During the review of an individual entry, judges score the entry against the following criteria:
- Research (15% of score) Is there evidence of sound research? Is the reason for the program/project/campaign explained? Was a research plan developed to guide planning? Were a variety of research strategies applied? Were research findings incorporated into planning? Are goals and measurable objectives clearly stated?
- Planning (45% of score) Was the impact of the education, social and cultural environment analyzed? Were innovative and creative solutions proposed for identified issues, problems and needs? Were strategies determined for accomplishing measurable objectives and reaching identified target audiences? Were culturally and linguistically appropriate strategies and tactics included? Were key leaders and stakeholders involved in the planning? Were specific roles and responsibilities for key staff identified? Were key staff provided with relevant professional development/training? Were a variety of communication vehicles identified and selected? Were specific budget and resources identified?
- Implementation (25% of score) Were specific timelines developed and dates met for all plan components? Were strategies, tactics and activities implemented as planned and as appropriate for each target audience? Were key messages used that supported the state goals and measurable objectives? Was the graphic design and language of support materials and communications clear and visually attractive? Were responses to key messages, tactics and activities monitored in an ongoing manner to allow adjustments as needed?
- Evaluation (15% of score) Were measurement indicators for the overall success of the program/project/campaign clearly stated and demonstrated and stated? Was there evidence of the effectiveness of specific strategies, tactics and activities? Was there identification of potential revisions, additions or changes for future efforts? Were next steps identified and incorporated into future planning?
Entries may be scored higher for unique attributes such as being easily replicable as a best practice, supporting student achievement and clearly demonstrating communication accountability.
Entries may be scored lower for missing required elements, for poor writing and for not being organized around the four-step strategic PR planning process.
How should an entry be submitted?
Gold Medallion Award entries must be submitted at www.nspra.org/award-apply.
- Entry: Compile all entry materials into a single PDF document. Multiple support materials will not be accepted. Include specific entry form information, as indicated in the entry requirements, on the cover page of the PDF document.
- Fee: $175 per entry for NSPRA members, $235 per entry for non-members
- Deadline: Entries must be received by March 28, 2022.
When filling out the entry information, be sure to indicate whether the entry should be automatically entered into the Golden Achievement Award contest (free of charge) if it is not selected for a Gold Medallion Award.
What happens after entries are judged?
NSPRA staff will notify all Gold Medallion entrants as to the status of their entries via email in late May. Winners also will be notified by phone. Entrants may request a summary of judges’ comments by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org no later than July 30. Summaries will be provided in late August/September.
Those who win a Gold Medallion Award will be:
- Invited to participate in the NSPRA President Installation and Gold Medallion Awards Ceremony Luncheon on the final day of the NSPRA National Seminar. Each winning entry qualifies to receive one Gold Medallion, but winners may purchase additional medallions.
- Recognized in a digital display at the Member Center in the Marketplace of the NSPRA National Seminar.
- Recognized on the NSPRA website and in future member e-newsletters.