One of the most important roles of the district is to share and recognize best practices among chapters.  In 2003, the East Central District revived an extinct national program to do just that.   The Chapter Excellence Award was organized to recognize large and small chapters in four categories:  Chapter Management, Membership Development, Professional Development and Chapter Outreach.

Awards may be given in each of four program categories and two size categories, for a potential total of eight awards.

Program categories include:

  1. Chapter management
  2. Membership development
  3. Professional development
  4. Chapter outreach

Size categories are:

  1. 150 members or less
  2. 151 members or more

Chapters may enter two program categories and can win in both categories.  Competition will be with similar-sized chapters.


  • Entry fees are minimal: $50 for large chapters; $25 for small chapters.
  • Entries should be submitted in a loose-leaf binder of any width that holds 8 1/2 x 11 paper.  If your chapter is entering two program categories, two binders should be submitted.
  • Ensure each entry follows the program category criteria.
  • Make sure that your entry is postmarked no later than August 15, 2014.
  • Please submit entries for programs during January 1-December 31, 2013.  Size categories are determined by membership numbers on December 31, 2013.
  • Entries will not be returned.
  • Every chapter is eligible to enter each year.

Preparing your entry

Review your chapter’s work. What did it do best? Which program categories were strongest? Select one or two of your strongest program categories. Prepare your entry, which must have these materials: title page, summary and two to four supporting materials.   Title Page:   The title page should contain the following information: Chapter Name Category Entered Chapter Size Contact Person with Phone and Email Address  Summary:    A two-page summary should describe the program’s objectives, strategies and results. Be sure to show the link between the summary and supporting materials. Also discuss how efficiently chapter resources were used: with X resources you produced Y results.  Your entry should detail chapter activities as outlined in the program category criteria.   Supporting Materials:  The supporting materials should include two to four examples of chapter brochures, plans, survey results, etc. The chapter name and program implementation year should be included on each piece. Large or bulky promotional items (t-shirts, for example) must be photographed. Video- or audio-tapes can be included.

Program Category Criteria

You may enter up to two program categories and can win in both categories.


Chapter Management


To increase the chapter’s financial and management capacity.


  • Development, implementation and evaluation of the chapter’s strategic plan
  • Leadership development and transitioning
  • Increasing the chapter’s financial base, both in dues and non-dues revenue


  • Successful chapter management will be measured by positive budget results, membership satisfaction survey results and extent of volunteer involvement and completion of responsibilities.

Membership Development


  • To increase the number of new members and the retention of current members.


  • Membership satisfaction input methods:  surveys, focus groups, etc.
  • Marketing plan and program, both general and targeted to segments such as senior practitioners, practitioners of color and recent graduates
  • Retention plan and program
  • Other services furthering membership development such as membership meetings; awards programs; placement services; mentoring opportunities; leadership opportunities; member record-keeping; and chapter communication vehicles


  • Successful membership development will be measured by net and percent increase in new members, net and percent retention of current members and evaluation of marketing plan.

Professional Development


  • To increase members’ public relations expertise at all experience levels.


  • Professional development plan (including a needs assessment and target group definition) and program (including subject, length, speakers)
  • Development program (or event) topic creativity and/or relevance.
  • Support and/or promotional materials.


  • Successful professional development will be measured by professional development evaluations and attendance.

Chapter Outreach  


  • To “promote the profession” including the expertise of chapter members and the effectiveness of the discipline outside of the chapter.


  • Target opportunities and/or audiences within the chapter’s service area where there is a need for effective public relations.
  • Development a program (or project) that will demonstrate the professionalism and effectiveness of the discipline, and the expertise of chapter members.
  • Support and/or promotional materials.


  • Successful chapter outreach will be measured by member participation, quality of the work performed and/or the measured effectiveness (results) or the program or project undertaken.


Representatives from another PRSA district will be asked to judge the competition. Judges may not designate a winner if the entries do not meet the criteria of excellence.