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FAQ - IABC 2013 Gold Quill Awards

When is a project eligible for submission?

All work must be implemented, published or broadcast between January 2011 and the day of submission. If a long-term strategy was developed prior to 1 January 2011, and hasn’t been entered in this competition, it is eligible for entry.

How do I prepare my entry?

An IABC awards entry includes two sections – the work plan and the work sample.

The work plan reviews six sections of IABC’s strategic communication planning model against the global seven-point scale of excellence.

Create the work plan using these major headings, and use the score sheet to guide content development.

The work sample is split into four sections:

Use the score sheet and The Midas Touch to guide your preparation. Please provide a representative sample of your work. Evaluators don’t need to see every media clip, or a full research report unless you are entering in the Communication Research Management Division. An executive summary will be fine.

The work sample is scored separately from the work plan, but it’s hard for a sample to get a high score if the plan didn’t score well.

In Management and Education categories the sample should include a sample of all project elements so that evaluators can review the material and determine how well it’s aligned with the work plan. In Skills categories, samples should include a copy of the product entered in the competition and could any supporting information such as research, media plans, DVD’s, scripts, creative rationale, focus tests, and post-campaign tracking information or other elements.

Preparing a work sample is like preparing a portfolio, and if you’re thinking about accreditation, it’s a great way to get started. Work sample elements demonstrate skill in strategic planning and execution. Material should be organized and presented in the same order as the questions answered for the work plan.

Evaluators will look for a summary of the research, the strategic plan, tactical implementation plan, budget, measurements or evaluation, and creative samples. Most entrants simply provide the creative samples, and while that’s okay, your score depends on your ability to demonstrate your strategic planning and execution skills. 

How can I get help to prepare my entry?

The Gold Quill program is part of the work being done by IABC to create a career path for communication professionals, and has been redesigned to contribute to your professional development needs. Download The Midas Touch at for a handy reference guide that will provide insights to the criteria used to evaluate your entry.

IABC will host two online webinars to discuss the process and answer your questions.

Can I resubmit an entry?

Yes, as long as the following two conditions apply. Your entry must not have won an award in the previous year’s program, and work on the project and/or measurement must extend into the current time period.

Can I wait and submit this year’s work in next year’s competition?

The Gold Quill program will accept work produced prior to 2011 as long as the work or measurement extended into 2012. If the entry is a multi-year project or program, only the materials related to the measurable results documented in 2012 will be considered.

Can I submit the same entry in more than one category?

You may submit the same entry into any category where it fits the category description. For example, if you are submitting a multi-media campaign targeted at several audiences, you may enter it in Marketing Communication, Community Relations, Multi-Audience Communication and Customer-Member Relations. If you enter in multiple categories your work plan must be customized to that category description. You may submit elements of the campaign in different categories within Communication Skills. You must pay a separate entry fee for each category you enter and provide separate supporting documents with each entry.   

Can I enter several different projects?

You may submit as many entries as you wish. If you are entering several different projects, 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 is 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.

If a project was created by an agency and a 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 on your entry and entry form. Entries that do not include this letter of permission will be disqualified.

How do I know if my entry has been received?

You will receive confirmation of receipt after you have finished uploading your entry to IABC.

How are entries evaluated and awards determined?

IABC award entries, accreditation portfolios and exams are scored using a seven-point global scale of excellence as a guide. All marks start at four, which represents a fully competent approach to communication planning and execution. Work is graded up or down, depending on the content. Marks of seven, one or zero are very rare.

The seven-point global scale of excellence


Outstanding: an extraordinary or insightful approach or result


Significantly better than average: Demonstrates an innovative, strategic approach, takes all elements into account and delivers significant results


Better than average: Demonstrates a strategic approach and aligns the communication solution with the business need to deliver meaningful results


Average: Competent approach or results, professionally sound and appropriate


Somewhat less than satisfactory: Several key elements that are critical to the strategy or execution are missing, incorrect or under-represented


An inadequate approach or result: A significant number of critical elements are missing


Poor: Work that is wrong or inappropriate


No answer or totally inappropriate: Work that is completely off base or the question isn’t answered

Entries must receive 5.25 to receive a Merit Award.  Entries scoring 5.75+ receive an Award of Excellence.

How are entries evaluated?

Entries are reviewed by two trained senior evaluators using the seven-point global scale of excellence, and the new Gold Quill score sheet. Winning entries must demonstrate that they met clearly stated objectives, show originality and demonstrate results based on measured outcomes. Evaluators consider how well a program was conceived and executed, how appropriate the chosen strategy and objectives were for the desired results, and how the outcomes are measured and achieved.

For Communication Management entries, 50 per cent of the score will be based on the work plan and 50 per cent on the work sample.  For Communication Skills entries, 35 per cent of the score will be based on the work plan and 65 per cent on the work sample.

Do entrants receive feedback?

For each entry submitted, entrants receive a comprehensive evaluation with scores and comments from evaluators. All evaluation forms will be mailed or emailed to entrants by April 2013.

How are winners notified and recognized?

Award-winning entries will be notified in April 2013, and recognized at the IABC World Conference Excellence Gala in New York in June.

Which category or division should I enter?

For questions about specific categories and divisions, email

If you have other questions that aren’t answered here, please contact

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