How to Enter

2021 entries are now closed. Check back for 2022 entry information.

Webinar: Tips for submitting a Silver Quill entry

In our April 28 webinar, IABC members Cathy Vera-Burgos and Kari McLean shared tips for successfully preparing a Silver Quill entry. Entering Silver Quill enables you to receive valuable feedback on your work. And, if your entry scores high enough, you qualify for a Silver Quill Award.

If you missed the webinar, watch it above. You can also download a copy of the presentation slides or a synopsis of the questions and answers from the session.

Evaluation and Awards

Entries are evaluated individually, not against other entries in a category. The winning entry will receive either an Award of Merit or an Award of Excellence based on the score. An entry with a score between 5.12 and 5.24 receives an Award of Merit. An entry with a score of 5.25 or higher receives an Award of Excellence.

The names of our award winners will be published on this website and will receive an engraved trophy. Award recipients will be acknowledged in a special ceremony in October.

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.

If you are in the geographic location for U.S. Pacific Plains Region, U.S. Southern Region, or Canada East or West Region, we encourage you to enter their programs. You are welcome to enter your project in more than one region.


Student Entries

A student or group of students may also submit entries. At the time the work was created, the student must have been attending school full time, working toward a degree at a college, university or other institution of higher learning. An entrant who was enrolled as a student but has professional communication experience or is employed in the communication profession must submit the entry as a professional member or non-member.

Work produced for educational courses, a club or volunteer association, an internship, or commercial and non-commercial activities, including work for an IABC chapter or region, is eligible for submission. If the assignment was not fully implemented, please make note of this in your work plan. It will not disqualify your entry; however, you must show how the program would have been evaluated, had it been implemented in practice. Professors, lecturers or advisers may not enter on behalf of a student.


All eligible work must be implemented, published, or broadcast between January 2019 and the day of submission. Entries that have won in previous years may not be resubmitted.

Deadlines & Fees

Early Entry Period

Enter by May 5, 2021
IABC Member: $100 | Non‐member: $150 | Full-time student: $45

Regular Entry Period

Enter by May 28, 2021
IABC Member: $125 | Non‐member: $175 | Full-time student: $45

Late (Extended) Entry Period

Enter by June 7, 2021
IABC Member: $150 | Non‐member: $200 | Full-time student: $45

How To Enter Divisions 1, 2, and 3

You must upload your entry and pay the entry fee before the end of the day (11:59 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time) by any of the deadlines listed above. Full payment must be received for all entries you submit before the deadline to be eligible for evaluation.

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. View a sample authorization letter.

Your entry has two key elements: the work plan and the work sample.

The Work Plan (uploaded as a PDF file)

The work plan is an executive summary of your communication strategy. Edit your plan to ensure that it is clear and concise. Bullets, tables, and lists might help you save space.

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.

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. It should:

  • Describe the context for your program or project
  • Clearly state the communication challenge or opportunity
  • Provide an analysis of your target audiences
  • Demonstrate high-level goals and measurable objectives stated as outputs or outcomes
  • Provide insight into your strategic approach
  • Highlight your budget
  • Provide an abbreviated tactical execution plan
  • Discuss any challenges that you faced during planning and execution
  • Demonstrate collaboration with stakeholders, if appropriate
  • Provide measurable, meaningful results that are aligned with your stated measurable objectives and audience and business needs
  • Ensure your work plan references your work sample and also assists the evaluators to navigate through your entry and find the examples that best illustrate your work

Examples of Work Plans

The Work Sample

The work sample is the supporting material that illustrates how you planned and implemented your communication program. Your work sample should represent the full scope of your work—evaluators are looking for actual, real examples of the work you did. However, bear in mind that evaluators have limited time to review your submission. A well-organized work sample that demonstrates the very best of your efforts will score higher than an overwhelming number of items that evaluators can’t sort through.

Organize and condense your work sample to showcase a representative overview of your project. Pick examples that best support your work plan and represent your strategy. Be creative in demonstrating how the elements of your work sample are aligned with the business needs and audience preferences.

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, .mp3, .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.
  • Please do not upload any further written material as the judges will not consider these. The written component of your entry should be fully explained within the work plan (for Divisions 1, 2, and 3) or the entry form responses (for Division 4).

Examples of Work Samples

How To Enter Division 4

You do not need to complete a detailed work plan for the Communication Skills division. 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.

Examples of Questionnaires

The work sample should represent the full scope of your work. (See the Work Sample section for Divisions 1, 2 and 3.)

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 won 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

Ready to Enter?

Make sure you have completed the components of your entry.

  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.

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.

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