By Nell Withers McCauley, CCC, Communications Advisor, SEDC

Statewide awards programs aim to recognize and encourage outstanding work among cooperative communicators. These programs increase visibility, encourage quality of work and help communicators prepare for the Spotlight on Excellence awards. Additionally, these programs are low-cost ways to recognize employees and highlight the importance of communicators in the cooperative world.

This state-sponsored type of awards program is a positive way to recognize member cooperatives for their dedication and continued interest in collaboration. It is also beneficial for the cooperatives to see what others are doing and can encourage new ways to bolster their own communications efforts. In addition, a state-sponsored awards program fosters friendly competition among the cooperatives. All the contests use independent judges and entries are often required to have been produced/distributed during the previous 12-month period. Many of these programs reward their winners during a communications meeting or present them at the statewide annual meeting. This provides an excellent opportunity to spend some extra time with colleagues across the state and celebrate.

Let’s celebrate: Communicators enjoy celebrating their work and awards with their peers.

Special Awards:

In Oklahoma, cooperatives are asked to submit an overall communications strategy plan and collateral materials for consideration for the Top Communicator award. Judges choose one Top Communicator and the communicator who is selected receives a paid registration to either CONNECT or to the CCA Institute. The Top Communicator team is recognized at the statewide’s annual meeting with a video highlighting their efforts as well as a presentation of the top award to the winning team.

The Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association (PREA) has recognized the work of cooperative communicators for many years. Beginning in 1980, PREA has annually presented the A.D. Stainbrook Award for Communications Excellence. This statewide award recognizes member cooperatives for outstanding work in the statewide publication, Penn Lines, as well as other communications efforts. The Stainbrook Award is presented at the statewide annual meeting each fall.

The top award winner in Colorado (Best Overall Newsletter Content) wins a “party” of pizza or a donut breakfast for the entire staff. This shines an extra spotlight on the communications/member services department for its accomplishments.

In 2015, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association began the TopTenn Communications Awards program. Trent Scott, Vice President of Corporate Strategy, says “Our program goals are two-fold. One is to recognize and honor those who excel and to encourage a bit of healthy competition among our co-ops. We believe this pushes everyone to do a little bit more and spend a little extra time on their projects. A secondary goal is to elevate the communications profession within our co-ops. These are important roles that can have significant impacts on co-ops. We believe there is great benefit to exposing co-op leaders to the work of exceptional communicators and showing how this work provides real value to their co-op.”

Share your communicator award opportunities with us! We are always interested in the ways you motivate and encourage communicators to contribute in new and innovative ways!