2018 Prix D'Excellence Category Descriptions

ALL 2018 Prix d’Excellence categories require the following to be included in the 3-page entry form in order to be considered complete for judging.

  1. Budget for the initiative or project.
  2. Goals of the initiative or project, and how those goals link to institution / department mission.
  3. Metrics by which you assessed return on investment / success of the initiative or project.
  4. Both quantifiable and qualitative results that support this entry receiving a Prix d’Excellence.

Please note:

  1. Judging will be based on the 3-page entry form only; not on any Appendices.
  2. Appendices are limited to a maximum of 2.
  3. Most categories allow only online submissions. Carefully review any Additional Submission Requirements in a category for exceptions.
  4. Please read each category carefully. Categories 18 - 26 require additional material, beyond the 3-page entry form, to be considered for judging. The required additional material is not considered part of the permitted 2 Appendices.

 

 

Category 1: Best Alumni Event

Eligibility: This category includes individual alumni events such as social or networking activities, educational alumni events, and alumni receptions. Events may be annual or one-time. Events related to fundraising or development should be submitted in Category #2.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look for interest, attendance, volunteerism, any media coverage, uniqueness, and impact on the institution.

 

Category 2: Best Development Event

Eligibility: This category includes one-time events or a series of activities relating to a fundraising program, such as donor recognition celebrations, gift announcements, campaign events (launches, milestones, closing events), annual fund events, and other related development-focused events.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look for interest, attendance, volunteerism, any media coverage, uniqueness, and impact on the institution.

 

Category 3: Best Special Event

Eligibility: Included in this category are individual one-time special events such as open houses, building dedications, and anniversary galas aimed at various constituencies. Alumni or Development events, recurring open houses, and annual events should be submitted in either Category #1 or Category #2.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look for interest, attendance, volunteerism, any media coverage, uniqueness, and impact on the institution.

 

Category 4: Best Alumni Initiative

Eligibility: Entries may include one-time activities or initiatives that take place over a period of time. Examples include alumni strategies, communications, programs, award activities, services, benefits programs, etc.  Alumni events should be submitted in Category #1.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look for participation, uniqueness, strategic outcomes, and impact on the institution.

 

Category 5: Best Fundraising Initiative

Eligibility: Entries may include one-time activities or initiatives that take place over a period of time, and can reflect fundraising at any target level, including annual, major or planned giving fundraising. Examples include annual fund strategies, proposals, solicitation communications; acquisition, renewal and cultivation programs. Annual Fund/Development events should be submitted in Category #2, and fundraising materials should be submitted in Category #8.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look for funds raised, participation, and impact on the institution.

 

Category 6: Best Donor Relations Initiative

Eligibility: Entries may be one-time activities or initiatives that take place over a period of time, including initiatives related to donor recognition, appreciation, and stewardship; donor/accountability reporting; customer service; or other donor-focused initiatives. Donor events should be entered into Category #2.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look for funds raised, participation, and impact on the institution.

 

Category 7: Best Community Outreach Initiative

Eligibility: This category includes initiatives that involve internal and/or external community members in the life and work of your institution – enhancing the town-and-gown relationship. Examples include service-learning outreach initiatives, local collaborative fundraising drives, community literacy programs, and student/community volunteer interactions.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look for a notable, positive increase in the relationship between your institution and the community within which it resides.

 

Category 8: Best Fundraising Materials

Eligibility: This category recognizes excellence in fundraising materials designed to attract support for major institutional fundraising initiatives such as a capital, anniversary, annual or research campaign.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look for clarity in fundraising goals; the writing, design, structure and imagery of the materials; and how these all combine to capture the unique qualities of the institution.

 

Category 9: Best Website 

Eligibility: This category recognizes excellence in the development of institutional websites, intranets, virtual tours, mobile sites and micro-sites, constituent-specific portals, and interactive web services. Please include the address for the site to be judged and the address of your institution’s official home page in your entry report. E-mail communications should be submitted to Category #12; social media in Category #15.

Judging Criteria:

  • Judges will look the efficacy and appropriateness of the page for the intended audience; design, creativity, and how these combine to capture the unique qualities of the institution and its brand identity.
  • Judges will asses the overall effectiveness in communicating information or a message; usability and navigation; mobile accessibility; innovation, interactivity, and design.
  • Judges will also look for a description of the process used to develop the page.

  

Category 10: Best Online Publication 

Eligibility: This category includes all online general and special interest newsletters, magazines, view books, or other publications sent to alumni or other external audiences (e.g., research, fundraising, alumni, or university magazines). Printed magazines should be entered in Category #19; Reports to Donors in Category #20; and printed newsletters or flyers in Category #21.

Judging Criteria:

  • Judges will look at the writing, editing, layout, design, imagery, usability and navigation of your publication, and how these all combine to capture the unique qualities of your institution.
  • Judges will not consider advertising revenues in the budget.

 

Category 11: Best Media Relations Initiative

Eligibility: Media relations initiatives may include one-time initiatives or a series of related initiatives. Examples include news releases; pitches to individual or multiple news media outlets or journalists; or other media relations activities that demonstrate overall excellence or innovation in methods used to obtain coverage in external media.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look for evidence of effective planning, innovative ideas, and conclusive evidence of success in reaching external media.

 

Category 12: Best Public Relations/Marketing/Communications Initiative

Eligible initiatives include communications, marketing or public relations initiatives for internal or external audiences, whether one-time or recurring; or government relations initiatives that demonstrate overall excellence or innovation in methods used to engage and influence external or internal constituencies.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look for evidence of effective planning, innovative ideas, and conclusive evidence of success in engaging and influencing target
  • Judges will look for a summary of any responses by target constituents and the impact on the institution.

 

Category 13: Best Student and/or Young Alumni Initiative

Eligibility: Entries may include one-time activities or initiatives that take place over a period of time, including student and young alumni strategies, communications, programs, award activities, services, community relations, and benefits programs. Student and young alumni events should be submitted in Category #1.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look for evidence of effective planning that incorporates the views and preferences of students / young alumni; innovative ideas; and conclusive evidence of success including participation, uniqueness, strategic outcomes, and impact on the institution.

 

Category 14: Best Advancement Services Initiative

Eligibility: Initiatives may include one-time activities or initiatives that take place over a period of time, such as best practice in gift/data entry, prospect research, donations processing, receipting, database management, performance management, and advancement service functions specific to the institution.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look for evidence of effective planning, innovative ideas, collaboration with other units/ departments, and conclusive evidence of success, including impact on the institution.

 

Category 15: Best Use of Social Media

Eligibility: This category recognizes how advancement professionals are using social media strategies and new technologies to build constituent relationships. Examples include effective use of in publicly available platforms such as blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc.; and/or the use and development of independent strategies such as promoted posts, online community building, photo contests, or new implementations.

Judging Criteria:

  • Judges will look for information regarding ownership/authorship of the account, and a short description of the platform’s functionality and objectives.
  • Judges will look for conclusive evidence of success, including measurable engagement of target audiences, evidence of user-generated content, integration across platforms and with other sites, and impact on the institution.
  • Judges will look for project analytics as evidence of success and growth.

 

Category 16: Best New Idea: Creativity on a Shoestring

Eligibility: This category recognizes innovative solutions / new and imaginative ideas that are modest in cost relative to your departmental budget and make the work of professionals in alumni relations, development, communications or public affairs easier or more effective.

Judging Criteria:

  • Judges will look for innovative ideas and conclusive evidence of success.
  • Judges will assess uniqueness and creativity in the program and implementation, and cost of the new idea relative to the departmental budget.

 

Category 17: Best Use of Multi-Media

Eligibility: Eligible initiatives include one-time activities or initiatives that take place over a period of time. Entries may include audio files, video games, webcasts, podcasts, mobile apps, e-mail campaigns, virtual reunions, virtual campus tours or testimonials, online ad campaigns, videos, slide or multi-media presentations, and films of no more than 30 minutes in length produced for fundraising, student recruitment, news and information, or other general promotional purposes.

Submit links to all multi-media, or secure locations where judges can download the entries; please also note the ideal viewing platform for the entry.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look for innovative ideas, content, script, photography/videography, soundtrack, editing, and conclusive evidence of success.

 

Categories 18 - 26 require additional material, beyond the 3-page entry form, to be considered for judging. The required additional material is not considered part of the permitted 2 Appendices.

Category 18: Best Issues / Crisis Management

Eligibility: Entries in this category should display prompt, effective management of a single issue (or series of related issues) or crisis that posed a significant threat to the school’s reputation, financial status, fundraising goals and / or community relations. Results should demonstrate good judgment, nimble decision making, excellent communication and innovative methods used to manage the issue(s) or crisis.

Additional Submission Requirements: Please submit, as part of the online entry report, a timeline of the issue(s) or crisis and aftermath, including digital copies of any materials designed to manage the situation and communicate with constituents. Please summarize the response generated by print and electronic media, including tone, usage and coverage of key messages.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look for a clear sense of message alignment with institutional goals; evidence of effective management and communication; and conclusive evidence of success in reaching external media and key constituencies, including responses and follow-up.

 

Category 19: Best Print Magazine

Eligibility: This category is not limited by size of institution or budget. This category includes all general and special-interest magazines sent to alumni or other external audiences (e.g., research, fundraising, alumni, or university magazines). Entries in this category must have a printed component; online-only magazines should be submitted in Category #10. Admissions view books are not accepted.

Additional Submission Requirements: Only one issue of the magazine may be submitted for consideration, and must be submitted by hard copy. Mail 5 copies of the magazine to the CCAE National Office as per the entry process instructions.

Judging Criteria:

  • Judges will look at the writing, editing, design and imagery of the magazine; and how these all combine to capture the unique qualities of the institution.
  • Judges will not consider advertising revenues in the budget.

 

Category 20: Best Report to Donors

Eligibility: Entries in this category may be institutional or departmental, and they may include either online or print deliveries. This award is based on excellence in concept, graphic design, layout and editorial content in communicating the institution’s sense of accountability to its donors and other key constituents.

Additional Submission Requirements: Printed reports to donors should be submitted via hard copy. Mail 5 copies of the report to the CCAE National Office as per the entry process instructions.

Judging Criteria:

  • Judges will look at the quality of writing, editing, layout, design, and imagery; alignment with best practices in donor communication and stewardship; and how these all combine to capture the unique qualities of the institution.
  • Judges will look for information regarding all expenses related to design, printing, freelance photography and writing in the budget.

 

Category 21: Best Printed Brochure, Newsletter, or Flyer

Eligibility: This category is for brochures (any multi-page publication with saddle-stitched or bound pages), flyers (any single printed sheet folded in any manner, or circulated unfolded) or newsletters (any multi-page periodical, printed on paper stock, comprising mainly short news and information articles, usually published more than once per year). Audiences for brochures, newsletters or flyers may be internal or external, and all documents should be designed to convey information in a brief, interesting and effective manner. Online editions of the above should be submitted in Category #10. Admissions view books are not accepted.

Additional Submission Requirements: Hard copies are required for this category. Please mail 5 copies of the brochure, newsletter or flyer to the CCAE National Office as per the entry process instructions.

Judging Criteria

  • Judges will look at writing, editing, layout, design and imagery, and how these all combine to capture the unique qualities of the institution.

 

Category 22: Best Feature Writing - English

This category recognizes excellence in reporting and writing for articles published in English in the 2017 calendar year. Articles may be on any topic, but must have appeared in institutional (print or online) magazines, newspapers, newsletters or other publications for internal or external audiences. This category includes feature stories, news, editorials or articles written to explain important initiatives, profile significant persons or programs, persuade or clarify complex issues.

Additional Submission Requirements: Include digital/scanned copies of the complete written work in your entry. Indicate whether the author is an employee of the institution or a freelancer.

Judging Criteria:

  • Judges will consider writing style, organization and clarity; the complexity of the subject; and the ability of the writer to present the material in a creative and compelling manner.
  • If the author is a freelance contributor, judges will assess the impact on the departmental budget.

 

Category 23: Best Feature Writing - French

This category recognizes excellence in reporting and writing for articles published in French in the 2017 calendar year. Articles may be on any topic, but must have appeared in (print or online) institutional magazines, newspapers, newsletters or other publications for internal or external audiences. This category includes feature stories, news, editorials or articles written to explain important initiatives, profile significant persons or programs, persuade or clarify complex issues.

Additional Submission Requirements: Include digital/scanned copies of the complete written work in your entry. Indicate whether the author is an employee of the institution or a freelancer.

Judging Criteria:

  • Judges will consider writing style, organization and clarity; the complexity of the subject; and the ability of the writer to present the material in a creative and compelling manner.
  • If the author is a freelance contributor, judges will assess the impact on the departmental budget.

 

Category 24: Best News Release or Media Communiqué - English OR French

This category recognizes excellence in English, French or bilingual news release writing and/or online communications to news media. Submit a single news release or a series of up to three closely related releases. Submissions in French, or in both French and English, will be professionally translated for judging if required, at CCAE’s expense.

Additional Submission Requirements: Please include digital/scanned copies of the written work and / or a link to the online communiqué. Do not include press clippings or transcripts. Briefly summarize the response generated in print and electronic media.

Judging Criteria:

  • Judges will look for evidence of effective planning and innovative ideas, excellence in writing, and conclusive evidence of success in reaching external media and constituencies.

 

Category 25: Best Advertisement or Poster

Eligibility: This award is given for achievement and excellence in advertisements or posters. Submissions may be a single item, or a series of ads or posters promoting a specific event, program, or other institutional initiative such as student recruitment, a grand opening, lecture series, or institutional image campaign. Ads or posters must have appeared in the 2017 calendar year.

Additional Submission Requirements: Scanned/ digital copies or hard copies are permissible. For hard copies, please mail 5 copies of the ad or poster to the CCAE National Office as per the entry process instructions.

Judging Criteria:

  • Judges will consider appropriate use of graphics, imagery and text for the intended audience. Judges will also consider design and creativity of the end product.

 

Category 26: Best Photograph

Eligibility: This award recognizes the best original photograph to appear in an institutional publication. Black-and-white or colour photography may be entered. Photos must have been shot in 2016 or 2017, and published in 2017.

Submission Requirements: Please submit a digital copy of the photograph. Indicate whether the photographer is an employee of the institution or a freelancer.

Judging Criteria:

  • Judges will evaluate composition, technical quality, appropriateness for stated goals, and creativity.
  • If the photographer is a freelance contributor, judges will assess the impact on the departmental budget.

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