How to Enter

How to Enter

Showcase Your Success with the Silver Quill Communication Awards Program

A Silver Quill award is a mark of distinction. These prestigious awards are “earned,” not won.

Think about the communication projects you’ve implemented since January 2021 that achieved significant business results. They could be award winning entries!

Award Submissions are an Art and a Science
Marry facts and figures with a compelling story. What’s persuasive? Using specific examples and stories to illustrate data and outcome. Facts and figures alone don’t do it. It takes an integrated approach.

Award Submissions as Professional Development
In times of competing priorities, it’s harder to justify the time, money, and energy involved in submitting for an award. Yet, submitting awards makes you a better communicator, helping you approach your work with a more strategic mindset. With IABC awards, you’re able to benchmark your work against worldwide excellence.

Who Can Enter

The IABC Heritage Region Silver Quill Awards Program is open to IABC members and non-members of the region and beyond.

The IABC Heritage Region covers Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

Timeframe

All entries must be for work that was implemented, published, or broadcast between January 2021 and the day of submission. Entries that have earned a Silver Quill award in previous years may not be resubmitted.

Additional Details

  • Evaluators have limited time to review your submission.
  • Do not include items and written materials that belong in your Work Plan (for Divisions 1, 2, and 3) or Entry Form (for Division 4) in the Work Sample. Evaluators will not consider additional information if you include it as part of the Work Sample.

Evaluation and Scoring

Entries are evaluated individually by two communications professionals against IABC's 7-point scale of excellence, not against other entries in a category. Winning entries will receive either an Award of Excellence (scores of 5.25 or higher) or an Award of Merit (scores between 5.12 and 5.24).

2022 Award winners will receive recognition on this website, social media recognition, and an engraved trophy for display.

2023 Award Program

Check back in early 2023 for details, deadlines, and entry fees for the 2023 Silver Quill Awards program.

Watch the Zoominar for tips to perfect your entry

Join Silver Quill Awards on social

Learn from, contact, and get your questions answered by the Heritage Region's Silver Quill Awards Committee.

How To Enter Divisions 1, 2, and 3

Before the end of the day (11:59 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time) of any of the above deadlines:

  • Upload your complete entry. Note: A Work Plan and at least one Work Sample is required to enter.
  • Pay the entry fee. Note: Full payment must be received for all entries you submit before the deadline to be eligible for evaluation.

The Work Plan (uploaded as a PDF file)

Your Work Plan is heavily weighted in the scoring. It should be a clear, concise executive summary of your communication strategy. It will help your evaluators understand the business need for the communications work, why it was important, how you got the work done, and your results.

Please be sure to follow the Work Plan template to:

  • Describe the business need/context for your program or project.
  • Clearly explain the communication challenge or opportunity as it supports the business need.
  • Explain the demographics and psychographics of your target audiences.
  • Define high-level SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, time-based objectives) stated as outcomes (instead of outputs).
  • Provide insight into your strategic approach.
  • Highlight the budget/resources you had to get your work done.
  • Provide an abbreviated tactical execution plan.
  • Discuss challenges that you faced during planning and execution and how you addressed or adapted to those.
  • Demonstrate collaboration with stakeholders, if appropriate.
  • Provide measurable, meaningful results and outcomes that aligned with your stated business needs, measurable objectives, and target audiences.
  • Ensure your work plan references your work sample.

Additional Details:

  • The work plan is limited to four pages using a font size no smaller than 10 point and margins no less than 0.5 inches (1.27 cm). Entrants are encouraged to use this template* and save it to pdf before submitting it. (Note: this template will download as a Word document.) Entries that disregard these specifications will be disqualified.
  • The written component of your entry should be fully explained within the Work Plan (for Division 1, 2, or 3) or the Online Questionnaire responses (for Division 4). Do not include material that is part of the Work Plan in the Work Sample. Evaluators will not read this additional information.
  • If you are entering the same program or elements of the program in multiple categories, be sure to tailor your work plan so it fits each category precisely. They will be evaluated separately.
  • If you are a consultant and your work was done for a client, you must include client permission for your entry. If you're entering work on behalf of more than one client, please gather your client letters together into one PDF for submission to accompany each award entry. View a sample authorization letter.* (Note: this sample letter will download as a Word document.)

The Work Sample

The Work Sample is made up of the communications elements you describe in your Work Plan. Each sample should support your work plan in action and represent your strategy.

Be creative in demonstrating how the elements of your work sample are aligned with the business needs, SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, time-based objectives), and target audience preferences.

A well-organized work sample that demonstrates the very best of your efforts as they relate to your strategic communications plan will score higher than an overwhelming number of items that evaluators can’t sort through.

Material may be uploaded as follows:

  • A maximum of five files can be uploaded with your entry. If you have more than five samples, consider combining them into larger documents.
  • Work samples may be in the following formats: .pdf, .png, .jpg, .gif, .tif, .mp4, .wmv, .m4v or .mov, and must not be larger than 2 GB in size.
  • Provide website URLs to the publicly accessible campaign or active URL of a landing page. Please ensure any applicable usernames and passwords are provided and active.

*If you need these documents in PDF format, please contact us at silverquill@iabcheritage.com.

New This Year
Silver Quill Entrant Checklist

Use a Silver Quill Entrant Checklist to help you ensure you cover the important topics in your Work Plan and Work Sample.

Refer to the appropriate checklist as you’re writing or use it while reviewing your draft.

Checking every item in the checklist won’t guarantee that you’ll earn an award, but it will help you avoid the most common reasons for losing points during the evaluation of your entry.

How To Enter Division 4

You do not need to complete a detailed work plan for the Communication Skills Division (Division 4).

Instead, you will need to complete a brief questionnaire on the awards entry website and submit it along with your work sample. Entrants are encouraged to use this preview of questions* before beginning the online entry. (Note: this preview of questions will download as a Word document.)

The Work Sample

The Work Sample is the highlight of your communications work. Each sample should be representative of the best communication practices.

Material may be uploaded as follows:

  • A maximum of five files can be uploaded with your entry. If you have more than five samples, consider combining them into larger documents.
  • Work samples may be in the following formats: .pdf, .png, .jpg, .gif, .tif, .mp4, .wmv, .m4v or .mov, and must not be larger than 2 GB in size.
  • Provide website URLs to the publicly accessible campaign or active URL of a landing page. Please ensure any applicable usernames and passwords are provided and active.

*If you need this document in PDF format, please contact us at silverquill@iabcheritage.com.

New This Year
Silver Quill Entrant Checklist

Use a Silver Quill Entrant Checklist to help you ensure you address the essential topics in the Online Questionnaire and Work Sample.

Refer to the checklist as you’re writing or use it while reviewing your draft. Checking every item in the checklist won’t guarantee that you’ll earn an award, but it will help you avoid the most common reasons for losing points during the evaluation of your entry.

Division 4 Examples

Examples of Questionnaires

Disqualification Criteria

An entry may be disqualified if:

  • The Work Plan (for Divisions 1, 2, and 3) exceeds four pages, uses font sizes less than 10 points or has margins less than 0.5 inches (1.27 cm)
  • Any element of the project violates the IABC Code of Ethics for Professional Communicators.
  • It is obvious the entrant did not play a role in the project.
  • The entry depends mainly on syndicated, borrowed, reprinted, or stock material.
  • The electronic files contain viruses, or they disable or require disabling of any part of the computer system used during the evaluation.
  • Evaluators cannot view work samples using the instructions provided.
  • Work performed on behalf of a client that does not include a client letter of authorization.
  • The entry has previously earned a Silver Quill award.
  • Work was done for IABC at the International level.
  • The entry is incomplete.
  • The entry is in a language other than English.

Get Set.

Make sure you have completed the components of your entry. Please note that these documents will download as Word documents.* 

  1. Have a client authorization letter* ready if submitting work done on behalf of a client.
  2. If entering Division 1, 2, or 3:
    Have your work plan in PDF ready.*
    Have no more than 5 work samples ready.
  3. If entering Division 4:
    Write out your answers to the online questionnaire* to easily copy and paste into the entry form.
    Have no more than 5 work samples ready.

*If you need these documents in PDF format, please contact us at silverquill@iabcheritage.com.

Additional Information

Entrants may want to review the Gold Quill Award Resources, specifically the entry guides and the scoring sheets, which are also used for the Silver Quill Awards.

Go! Enter Now.

  1. Go to the award entry platform.
  2. Create an account by completing the fields, then click Register. Or, if you’ve previously registered, complete your email and password and click Login.
  3. Agree to the IABC Code of Ethics and click Save and Next.
  4. Select the division and category for your entry.
  5. Complete these fields: entry title, description of project (short one or two sentence summary), start and end dates for your project, your contact information, and membership type (IABC member or non-member). Click Save and Next.
  6. Complete the entry information. Note: If the entry is submitted on behalf of a client or another organization, submit letter of permission.
    • For Divisions 1, 2 and 3, upload a PDF of your work plan. Upload a maximum of five (5) work samples.
    • For Division 4, answer the Online Questionnaire. Upload a maximum of five (5) work samples.
  7. If you’re submitting the same entry to another category, you can do that here.
  8. Save your draft as you go.
  9. When your entry is complete, click Add to Cart.
  10. You will then be taken to a page for credit card payment.