Starring….Your Association Publications

By Andrea Nemeth • October 23, 2018

The red velvet curtain rises, and the spotlight beams down on the announcer, holding the golden envelope in his hand. As the orchestra commences the drum roll, the announcer’s voice booms through the microphone: “And the winner is…” When he calls out the name of your association, the audience leaps to its feet, cheering wildly, throwing confetti and raising glasses of champagne as you take to the stage to receive the glittering trophy.

Okay, perhaps this is not exactly how association communication awards presentations really go down. Perhaps they are actually more modest events. However, the recognition and pride that communications awards bring to associations are no less than Oscar-worthy.

CSLA Landscaps/Paysages magazine
Landscapes | Paysages has won two gold and three silver EXCEL awards from Association Media & Publishing for the Canadian Society of Landscpae Architects.

Associations are rightly proud of their member communications: Magazines, newsletters and websites represent the value of membership in the organization, while also sharing important industry news and professional development education with members. But, while we may tend to view member communication vehicles simply as tools of the association, they are also stars in their own right; they are the objects that represent your association, with which people interact and spend their valuable time. Most of us enjoy the small pleasures of opening a new magazine, clicking through a recent e-newsletter or visiting a well-designed website, and these are just a few of the categories that association communications awards recognize.

Winning an association award for your association’s communications brings not only the attention and respect of other associations; it is another way of providing value to your members. Michelle Legault, executive director of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, whose quarterly magazine Landscapes | Paysages has won two gold and three silver EXCEL awards from Association Media & Publishing, notes that members have responded to the awards with pride in their association and gratitude to their editorial board and Naylor for the productive partnership.

“[The awards are] very important,” says Legault. “They legitimize the publication, give us a platform for it, and further define it as a quality, important and main communication vehicle for the society.”

The CSLA circulates a press release announcing their win, posts the news and details of the win on its website, and shares the win broadly through its social media channels, all of which keep the association and its magazine top of mind for members and the public.

What Association Awards Contests Should My Association Enter?

EXCEL Media AwardsThere are many awards contests for which association communications are eligible. One is Association Media & Publishing’s EXCEL Awards. The EXCEL awards recognize excellence and leadership in nonprofit association media, publishing, marketing and communications. The competition is open to nonprofit organizations and for-profit industry service partners submitting on behalf of association clients, regardless of whether they are members of Association Media & Publishing.

Another competition is sponsored by Association TRENDS, which celebrates the best and most unique communications and marketing work in its annual Association TRENDS All Media Contest. With 23 categories to choose from, any association is sure to find a fit for its communications vehicles.

Another significant competition is sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). The Power of A Awards are the premier program honoring associations that exemplify how the association industry and professionals are essential to a stronger America and world. While The Power of A Awards aren’t limited solely to communications, strong association magazines can be contenders in any of the five awards’ categories.

ASAE also sponsors the Gold Circle Awards, which recognize extraordinary marketing, membership, and communications efforts in 15 different categories that move associations forward.

Outside of the association world, competitions such as the MarCom Awards honor excellence in marketing and communication while recognizing the creativity, hard work and generosity of industry professionals. Prevention Strategist, the magazine of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, was recently honored with a Gold award. “APIC is thrilled to receive this recognition,” said Rickey Dana, Associate Director, Communications at APIC. “We strive to provide our members with quality content that they can use in their patient safety work.”

Consider which competition is the best fit for your association and from which organization you’d like recognition. Has your publication recently had a redesign? Are you rolling out a new communications program? Has your communications vehicle performed beyond your expectations? Did you publish an issue of your magazine that got all your members talking? All of these factors can be considered when choosing a competition to enter. Connect with your Naylor content strategist to discuss if your publication might be award-ready, or how to make it so.

How Does My Association Enter an Awards Competition?

Entering your association’s publications in an awards competition is usually a simple process of completing an application, providing some documentation and paying an entry fee. Budget some time for preparing the entry forms and some dollars for the entry fees. Make sure to mark the submission due dates on your calendar: Some competitions offer a reduced entry fee for “early bird” submissions, which may result in some savings to the organization if you are entering several.

Your association publications are the stars of your member communications strategy. Celebrate them by entering one or more of the many competitions that recognize their value to your association and your members.

Competition & sponsor Website Eligibility Entry Dates & Fees Categories
EXCEL Awards

Association Media & Publishing

www.siia.net/amp/Events-Awards/EXCEL-Awards Open to all 501(c) nonprofit organizations and their service partners, regardless of membership status in AM&P. Early Bird – October 1 to December 31, 2018:

Member: $125
Nonmember: $325

Regular Deadline – January 1 to February 18, 2019:

Member: $160
Nonmember: $350

Extended Deadline – February 19 to March 1, 2019:

Member: $210
Nonmember: $395

Digital Media
Promotional Content
Association TRENDS www.associationtrends.com/all-media-contest/#about Items produced by or for national, regional, state and local associations and nonprofits between November 1, 2017 and November 30, 2018. Eligible organization types include associations, professional societies and nonprofits. Early Bird Deadline:

October 31, 2018 by 11:59 pm EDT

Early Bird Entry Fee:

$95.00 per entry

Late Entry Deadline:

December 10, 2018 by 11:59 pm ED

Late Entry Fee:

$135.00 per entry

Advertising Kit
Annual or Quarterly Magazine or Journal
Annual Report
Best Advocacy Campaign
Best New App
CD, Video, Podcast or PSA
Convention Program
Convention Promotion Package
Daily or Weekly Communication
Direct Marketing Piece/Promotion
eLearning & Live Training
Exhibitor Sales Kit
Membership Promotion Kit or Campaign
Monthly Newsletter or Communication
Monthly Professional Society Magazine
Monthly Trade Association Magazine
Most Improved Magazine or Journal
Promotional Items
Scholarly/Technical/Scientific Journal
Social Media
Power of A Awards


www.thepowerofa.org/awards/ Associations of all types

Association management companies that submit applications on behalf of their association clients

Industry partners that undertake initiatives in coordination with associations

2019 competition dates not yet announced

The cost to submit an application is $50.

The Power to Prepare for the Future (open to all)
The Power to Make a Better World (open to international associations and U.S.-based associations engaged in international activities)
The Power to Innovate (open to all)
The Power to Create a Competitive Workforce (open to all)
The Power to Enrich Lives (open to all)
Gold Circle Awards


https://asae-goldcircle.secure-platform.com/a/ Open to all 501(c) nonprofit organizations.

Open to those who are members of ASAE for Association Leadership as well as non-member.

The 2019 Gold Circle Awards application period will open December 18, 2018 and close on February 6, 2019. Advocacy Campaign
Convention/Meetings Marketing Campaign
Media/Public Relations Campaign
Member Retention Campaign
Membership Dues/Restructuring Campaign
Membership Recruitment Campaign
Member/Volunteer/Engagement Campaign
New Product/Service Launch Campaign
Print Magazine
Rebranding Campaign
Sponsorship/Exhibits/Advertising Campaign
MarCom Awards

Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals

https://marcomawards.com/ Open to all individuals, companies and organizations involved in producing any marketing and communication materials for external or internal audiences. October 2019 Print Media
Print Creativity
Strategic Communications
Digital Media
Web Creativity


About The Author

Andrea Németh is a content strategy and development manager with Naylor Association Solutions.