Excellence in Communications Awards

NC3C Excellence in Communications Awards recognize great local government communicators and foster achievement among members by showcasing top-level work. The awards are presented each spring at the annual conference. You must me a member of NC3C to submit entries for our awards program.

Award entries extended through March 8, 2021.

The NC3C board decided to extend the entry deadline to March 8, 2021. We know you did some incredible work during the past year, and we want to see it and recognize you for it! After judging by a panel of experts in each respective category, winning entries will be announced and presented during the NC3C Annual Conference in 2021.

Judging Criteria

Entries will be judged on six criteria:

  1. Purpose/Objective of Entry: Why was the project developed, and what goals did you expect to achieve through its use?
  2. Intended Audience: Who was the project intended to reach, and was it appropriately developed, written, and produced for this audience?
  3. Implementation Strategy: Who developed the project, and how was it created, used, implemented, and disseminated?
  4. Outcomes/Effectiveness: What outcomes were achieved with the project, and did they meet program goals and objectives?
  5. Documentation of Achievement: Quantitative data demonstrating reach, engagement, and impact
  6. Quality of Content: Was the content of the project superior and professional in quality and presentation? This criterion carries double weight.

Entries must earn at least 65% of available points to be considered for an award. First- and second-place are given to the top two highest scores that meet the minimum. An entry isn’t guaranteed a win just because it may be the only entry in a category.

Judging Required

Part of what makes our awards program special is that we rely on communications professionals from other states to judge our awards. Last year, members of the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators (MAGC) judged our entries. Communicators from other states are impartial and able to judge our awards without bias or favoritism. When you win an NC3C award, you can be sure that you earned it.

To make a partnership with another organization happen, we, NC3C, have to commit to judging entries from their awards program. To ensure that NC3C has plenty of judges, the Board agreed to require members who submit entries for our program to judge awards for our partnering organizations.

That means that if you submit and entry for our awards program, we expect you to judge an entry for our partner organization when the time comes. If you can't judge, you can recruit someone else in your organization to judge if need be. If a member who enters an award fails to meeting their judging responsibilities, their entry will be removed from consideration. NC3C has a great awards program and we want to make sure we keep it that way.

Categories & Awards

The 2021 Awards program includes 27 awards in six categories: print, video, digital technology, social media, general composition, and other. Visit NC3C.awardsplatform.com to submit your entries!

Click here to download the 2021 Awards Program flyer.

  • Annual Report
  • Brochure
  • Employee Newsletter
  • External Newsletter
  • Poster, Flyer, Club/Rack Card
  • Promotional Video
  • Public Service Announcement
  • Regular Programming
  • Special Programming
  • Videography
  • Audio
  • Digital Employee Newsletter
  • Digital External Newsletter/Blog
  • Digital Resource
  • Website
  • Campaign
  • General Use on a Single Platform
  • Single Post
  • Branding / Logo
  • Graphic Design
  • Photography
  • Writing
  • Best Use of Humor
  • Citizen Participation
  • Crisis Communication
  • Most Creative with Least Dollars Spent
  • Multi-Platform Campaign


Entry Fees

  • Early Bird Rate: $35 per entry through Sunday, Feb. 21.
  • Regular Rate: $55 per entry through Monday March 1.


Recognizing Excellence

We will recognize first and second place award winners during our annual conference, and we will provide tools to help you publicize your awards in your community. NC3C Board representatives are also happy to attend your government board meetings to officially present awards for valuable public recognition. We are hopeful that you will consider entering at least one (and hopefully more) categories. You have great work to showcase, so don’t miss out on the chance to win the valuable recognition you deserve.

Rules of Competition

  • This competition is for NC3C members only. [Join our organization!](http://nc3c.com/join.php) Local government professionals who have communications or marketing work, but who are not yet members of NC3C are welcomed to join now and enter. The membership fee is only $50.

  • Entries must be limited to items or projects completed between Jan. 1, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2020.
  • All entries must be digital. For print pieces, promotional items, and similar things, consider a video (even taken on your phone) showing how the item is used. Be sure to show items for scale such as putting it in the hands of someone or showing it in use.
  • Members may submit as many entries, in as many categories, as they choose.
  • First-place and second-place awards **may be given** for each category or sub-category.
  • An award may not be given in a category with two or fewer entries.
  • A second place award may not be given in a category with three or fewer entries.
  • An entry is not complete until the payment has been made. You may pay by credit card through this system.
  • Members must certify that the item submitted fits the category and the spirit of the awards program and that it was actually used as described and not generated for the purpose of entering a contest.
  • Submit as many entries as you want!


Award Winners

2020 Winners | 2019 Winners | 2018 Winners


Chris Coulson Communicator of the Year Award

Each year, NC3C has the opportunity to recognize a member whose character, career and service represent the highest standards of the profession. The Communicator of the Year is someone who excels in the practice of local government communications and/or has accomplished an outstanding one-time achievement.

The award is named in honor and memory of Chris Coulson, a founding member of NC3C who demonstrated these attributes throughout her career.

In 2019, the Chris Coulson Communicator of the Year Award was presented to two NC3C members Steve Hawley of Greenville Utilities and Carolyn Justice-Hinson of the Fayetteville Public Works Commission.


2019 Steve Hawley & Carolyn Justice-Hinson
2017 David Baxter
2015 Mandy (Pitts) Hildebrand
2012 Annette Privette-Keller
2011 Dave Hardin
2010 Glenn Hargett
2009 Alice Freeman