GOLD QUILL AWARDS Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get help to prepare my entry?
Our key guide, The Midas Touch, provides a detailed reference to the criteria used to evaluate your entry. There are two versions of The Midas Touch—one for Divisions 1, 2 and 3 (Communication Management, Communication Research and Communication Training and Education) and one for Division 4 (Communication Skills). There are also other helpful documents on our Enter page and Resources page.

Can I resubmit an entry that I have submitted to Gold Quill previously?
Yes, as long as your entry has not previously won an award. All eligible work must be implemented, published or broadcast between January 2015 and the day of submission (for the 2018 awards program). If a long-term strategy was developed prior to January 2015 and hasn’t previously been entered, it is eligible for entry. If you entered your work in 2016 or 2017 and didn’t win an award, you may revise and re-enter your project. Entries that have won in previous years may not be resubmitted.

Can I submit the same entry more than once in different categories?
Yes! You can submit the same entry into any category, provided fits the category description. For example, if you are submitting a multimedia campaign targeted at several audiences, you may enter it in Marketing, Advertising and Brand Communication, Community Relations, Issues Management and Crisis Communication, and Digital Communication. However, you will have the best chance of winning if you customize your work plan to suit the category description. You must pay a separate entry fee for each category you enter and provide separate supporting documents with each entry. You will have to upload each entry separately–you cannot upload the entry once and then select multiple categories.

Can I submit several different projects for entry?
You may submit as many entries as you wish. You will need to submit a separate entry form, work plan and work sample for each entry.

If my project was created by a team, which name do I use as the entrant’s name?
The entrant should be the person who was principally responsible for the development, management and execution of the entry. If you want to recognize your team, submit the entry form and the work plan with your name and refer to the team, such as Jane Oliver and Team Honeywell. The name on the entry form must match the name on the work plan. Each entry receives one trophy. However, following the awards ceremony, you may order as many additional trophies as you need (see below). It is critical that you carefully fill out the contact details for your entry, as all communication about your entry, your evaluation feedback and, should you win, your trophy and attendance at the Excellence Gala, will be sent to the person listed. Should the main contact change (e.g. leave the company, change email address, etc.) it is your responsibility to let us know.

How do I ensure that other members of the team receive credit for working on the project?
When you submit your entry, you have the option to provide the names of your team members next to “Name(s) for Award.” Provided names will be engraved on your award, published on the Gold Quill Awards winners list and acknowledged at the Excellence Gala at World Conference. (Please enter this information carefully, as incorrect information may result in incorrect trophy production.) Each entry receives one trophy. However, you may order as many additional trophies as you need following the awards ceremony–details on how to order will be made available at that time. If desired, each member of your team can have their own individual trophy.

If a project was created by an agency and client, who should enter it?
Either one can enter, as long as the entrant includes a letter of consent acknowledging the different roles in the project, and written permission to disclose corporate information as part of the entry requirements. If the material is proprietary, be sure to clearly indicate this in your entry and entry form. Entries that do not include this letter of permission will be disqualified. A template agency permission letter is available on the Resources page.

Why do I have to upload an image as part of my entry?
We ask all entrants to provide a photo, logo or other image that represents their entry. This image may be used in promotion of the awards generally and to represent your entry in any promotion or publicity of winners, should your entry prove to be a winner. It may also be used as a representative image for your entry during the Excellence Gala.

How do I know if my entry has been received?
You will receive an automated confirmation email after you have submitted your entry via our submission system.

How are entries, evaluations and types of awards determined?
IABC award entries are scored using a seven-point global scale of excellence as a guide. All scores start at four (4), which represents a fully competent approach to communication planning and execution. Work is scored up or down, depending on the content. Scores of seven (7) and one (1) are very rare.

IABC’s Global Seven-point Scale of Excellence

7 Outstanding: An extraordinary or insightful approach or result
6 Significantly better than average: Demonstrates an innovative, strategic approach; takes all elements into account and delivers significant results
5 Better than average: Demonstrates a strategic approach and aligns the communication solution with the business need to deliver meaningful results
4 Average: Competent approach or results, professionally sound and appropriate
3 Somewhat less than satisfactory: Several key elements that are critical to the strategy or execution are missing, incorrect or under-represented
2 An inadequate approach or result: A significant number of critical elements are missing
1 Poor: Work that is wrong or inappropriate

Entries must receive 5.25 to receive an Award of Merit. Entries scoring 5.75 and higher receive an Award of Excellence.

Do entrants receive feedback?
For each entry submitted, entrants receive a comprehensive evaluation with scores and comments provided by a team of two evaluators.

How are winners notified and recognized?
Winners will be notified in April 2018, and recognized at the IABC World Conference Excellence Gala in Montréal on Tuesday, 5 June 2018. Winners of the best of the best awards, and agencies and departments of the year accolades will be announced and celebrated at the Excellence Gala.

What happens to the entries once the program is over?
We archive the files for six months and, with permission from the winners, share winning entries as case studies on the IABC website and in Communication World magazine to demonstrate best practices in the communication profession.

Which category or division should I enter?
Take a look at the divisions and categories page for full descriptions. If you’re still stuck, email recognition@iabc.com.

Do evaluators really pay attention to details such as the permitted font size and the length of the work plan?
Yes they do! Entrants are allowed four pages for work plans across Divisions 1–3. For Division 4, entrants must fully complete the brief entry form. Margins must be at least 0.5 inch or 1.27 centimeters on all sides using the standard paper size (8.5” x 11” or A4), and fonts may be no smaller than 10 points. Work plans exceeding the maximum length will be disqualified.

I’m submitting a large campaign. How can I make sure that my entry fits the size limit?
To support your work plan, you will be able to upload a maximum of five work sample files. Your work samples must be in PDF, PNG, JPG, GIF, MP4, WMV, or M4V format. If you have more than five work samples, you should combine them into fewer condensed files.

Can the work sample be submitted as a microsite or e-magazine?
Your work sample can be only submitted in PDF, PNG, JPG, GIF, MP4, WMV, or M4V formats. If you would like to have a microsite or any other online material reviewed by the evaluators, you may provide a PDF document that includes the appropriate URL address and a short description of the link. Please make sure that any URLs you submit will be live and easily accessed by evaluators at the time of evaluation.

If I’m part of an agency submitting work done for a client, is it compulsory to provide a written permission from the client?
Yes. You need to provide an authorization letter signed by your client. The letter can be uploaded as a PDF file and can either be a letter or an email. Entries without this permission will be disqualified. A template letter is available on our Resources page.

When do I pay my entry fee?
After you submit your entry and you have uploaded all the required files, you will see the checkout button on the summary page. Payment is required by credit card. To receive the IABC member rate, the entrant must be an IABC member.

What is the difference between “Entrant” and “Name(s) for Awards” on the entry form?
“Entrant” is the name of the person who is submitting the entry and was principally responsible for the development, management and execution of the entry. If you would like to submit your entry on behalf of your company, you may enter as a team. “Name(s) for Award”: The provided name(s) in this section will be engraved on the plaque of the award. The names will also be published in the Gold Quill Awards winners list and acknowledged at the Excellence Gala.

Does IABC publish work plans and work samples?
When you submit your entry, we will ask whether we have your permission to publish your entry in the future. IABC will never distribute or publish any document without the entrants’ permission. Three confidentiality questions are included in the entry form and you may answer each accordingly. The questions on the entry form are:

  1. May we reprint your work plan in IABC resources and/or post your work plan online if you are a winner?
  2. May we publish your work sample on our website and/or in our program if you are a winner?
  3. Are elements of your work plan or work sample confidential?

Is there a cost for the award trophy?
IABC provides one award at no charge for each Gold Quill Award winner. If winners would like to order duplicate awards, they may do so following the awards ceremony. All winners will be notified about the procedure for purchasing additional awards.

Can I make a payment before uploading all the required files?
Payment is the final step of the award entry process. You will not be able to make any changes to your entry or upload new files once payment has been processed.

What is the difference between entering Division 4 (Communication Skills) and the other three divisions?
In response to feedback from entrants, in 2015 we made the Skills Division easier to enter. We want to encourage as many people to enter their excellent tactical execution of communication programs.The rigor of the Gold Quill Awards program still exists–evaluators still look for alignment of the tactic with strategic goals, audience analysis and business outcomes. However, in this division, you need to complete our entry form and provide high-level detail on these elements, instead of completing a four-page work plan outlining your strategy. Please note that each item has a character limit for your response—and the 600 character limit includes spaces.

What are the “IABC Gold Quill … of the Year” awards?
These special awards recognize the agencies and organizations that achieve significant recognition through the Gold Quill Awards program. They will be awarded to the organizations that win the highest total number of awards in the 2018 program. Entrants are awarded three points for every Excellence Award won and one point for every Merit Award won. The team with the highest number of points wins!