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1. Why should I consider entering the Gold Circle Award competition?

The Gold Circle Awards represent the best of association marketing, membership and communications. Receiving the Gold Circle Award in any category demonstrates the excellence of your work to your peers, fellow staff members and your association’s membership. 

2. What organizations may enter the Gold Circle Award competition?

The Gold Circle Award competition is open to all 501(c) nonprofit organizations. The competition is open to those who are members of ASAE for Association Leadership as well as non-member. Entries may be submitted on behalf of a 501(c) nonprofit organization by a for-profit business partners; however only the 501(c) nonprofit organization will be recognized as the winner. 

3. How do I submit an entry form or multiple entry forms?

All applicants must complete an electronic entry form, even if you are entering a category that requires hard copy submissions. Payment can be submitted via check or credit card. Please note, proof of payment should be sent in along with your entry submission materials by printing out a copy of your payment confirmation. 

4. Can required printed materials for an entry submission and check payments be postmarked February 5, 2018 or do they have to be received by 5:00 p.m. EST on February 5? 

All entries, materials and payments must be RECEIVED (not postmarked) at ASAE headquarters by 5:00 p.m. EST on February 5, 2018.

5. Why does the entry submission period end February 5, when winners are not announced until April?  

Coordinating all of the elements of the awards, including the processing of entries and judging requires time and is managed by volunteers and one staff person at ASAE. In order to give all entries the consideration they deserve, we need this time for processing and judging.

6. What should I put for the project overview; goals/objective; strategy/tactics and success metrics/results parts of the application? 

Project Overview: The Overview should provide an ‘elevator-pitch’ of your entry. Describe what is innovative or creative about your entry. Is there a best practice that you can share with other organizations? Please limit response to 250 words or less.

Project Goals/Objectives: Goals should be broad and overarching while your objectives should be expressed in specific and measurable terms. When discussing goals, consider describing how the entry factored into your organization’s mission. Please limit response to 300 words or less.

Strategy/Tactics: Strategy/tactics should outline the plan, strategy, or tactics you used to reach the goals and objectives set. Please limit response to 300 words or less.

Success Metrics/Results Achieved: For the measurement of your goals and objectives please indicate your metrics for success. This could include: number of hits to your website per year, how many people are opening and reading your newsletter, comments and data on your communication programs from your member satisfaction surveys, and visits to your online press room or coverage achieved. Please limit response to 300 words or less.

7. What is the difference between Printed/PDF format and Digital Interactive format? 

First, remember that you must submit your entry samples in original format presented to targeted audience; for categories that require printed materials, six sets of the required printed materials for that category must be provided. (So if your magazine is transmitted to your members as a PDF, you can submit it to the contest as a PDF, but if you mail hard copies of your magazine to your members, you must submit hard copies with your entry.)

Digital/Interactive entries should include interactive elements, like hyperlinks or a table of contents that allows users to click to the section they are looking for. In other words, users should be able to interact with the entry in some active way other than just reading it.

8. What is the cost to enter the Gold Circle Award competition? 

If anyone on your staff is a member of ASAE, the member entry fee is $150 per entry. The non-member entry fee is $300 for each entry.

9. Another staff member of my association is an ASAE member. Can my colleague sponsor our entry so we receive the member rate for the entry fee? 

Yes. The Gold Circle Award electronic entry form contains space for your name as the submitter, and your colleague’s name as the ASAE member. You must be employed by the same association as the member listed on your entry in order to qualify for the member entry fee of $150 per entry.

10. Approximately how much time does ASAE estimate that it will take to prepare an entry?

It depends on your category and the project or program , but planning is the key to a good application. Part of the application asks you to specify project overview, goals, objectives, metrics, and outcomes so that the judges can evaluate your entry. These factors are critically important in the judging process, so be sure to plan your entry so that you can supply this essential information and remain within the word limit. We recommend that you use the word form version of  the to ensure your application is concise and complete.

11. What forms of payment is accepted for Gold Circle Award entries? 

We accept credit card payments or checks. If you are paying by check you MUST list the check number on your electronic application and a copy of the entry form. Also, if you are submitting an entry that requires hard copies, you must send a copy of the check in with the entry.

12. Can I submit multiple entries in the same category? 

When submitting multiple entries in the same category, you are not only competing against other associations, you are competing against your own organization as well.

13. Is there a discount for submitting multiple entries? 


14. If I submit any entry for one category, but the judges decide that my entry should be in a different category, will it automatically be moved or have I lost my chance? 

Your entry will be checked for accuracy and to make sure it is in the appropriate category. If time allows, ASAE will contact you to correct any inaccuracies in your entry. However, as stated in the Gold Circle Award Eligibility Requirements, ASAE reserves the right disqualify any entry that includes incomplete or incorrect information.

15. When must my entry have been completed to be eligible for the 2017-2018 GCA competition?

Entries into the 2018 Gold Circle Award competition must be completed and distributed between January 1 and December 31, 2017.


Judging, Recognition & Ceremony


16. How are entries judged? 

The evaluation criteria for each category are listed within the category descriptions published on the GCA Web site. An independent panel of judges is selected to evaluate submissions within each category entries are scored on a five point scale within each area of review.

17. Who are the judges? 

The judges are volunteers recruited from ASAE membership and non-members with experience in specific categories. Anyone with marketing, membership and  communications expertise can volunteer to serve as a judge. The Gold Circle Award Committee reviews and approves all requests to be a judge.

18. Can I participate as a judge if my association has entered the competition? 

Yes, however you will not be allowed to judge any category in which your organization or your clients have entered.

19. Do I receive CAE credit if I am a judge? 


20. How are winners notified and recognized? 

ASAE notifies every winner once winners are selected. Winners are promoted via press release, ASAE’s website, virtual lunches and session at MMCC. Winners receive a beautiful, engraved crystal trophy that includes their organization name, the Gold Circle Award logo for that year and the category won.

21. What do recipients of “Merit Awards” receive? 

When presented in a given category, recipients of Merit Award winners receive a plaque suitable for display that includes their organization name, the date, and the category for which they were recognized.

22. Will ASAE help me with promoting the news if my organization wins an award? 

Yes. ASAE will provide a press release template that you can use to spread the word among your media contacts and members. ASAE also issues its own press release listing all the winners.


Additional FAQs


24. Will you return my entry following the competition? 

No. Entries become the property of ASAE and are included in the Knowledge Center.

25. Will I receive feedback on my entry following the competition? 

No. Gold Circle Awards is a competition and we do not provide analysis of entries to any of the applicants.

26. Is there an appeals process if I don’t win? 

There is no appeals process. This is an award competition and decisions agreed to by the Gold Circle Awards judges are final. Entrants are not allowed to lobby for an entry.

27. What is the Gold Circle Award for Overall Excellence and how is it selected? 

The Gold Circle Award for Excellence is chosen from all Gold Circle Awards winners each year. The Gold Circle Awards Committee will review all the winners of Gold Circle Awards and then select one as the “best of the best.” The recipient of this award is announced during the Marketing, Membership & Communications Conference.

28. Is there a permanent, on-going roster of winners from previous competitions? 

Yes. We have an online list of past Gold Circle Awards winners and honorable mentions Electronic samples of some of these award-winning entries are also posted. Please visit www.asaecenter.org/goldcircle.

29. Is there someone I can talk to if I have questions about my entry? 

Yes. Myisha Headen, a Volunteer Relations Manager for ASAE manages the Gold Circle Award program, can answer your questions about entering, and can refer you to a member of the Gold Circle Award Committee if you would like additional assistance. Feel free to e-mail her at goldcircle@asaecenter.org or call her directly at 202-626-2809.