2020 Communications Awards
Entry Deadline: December 4, 2019 

Communicating our cause is central to the success of the YMCA. NAYDO is committed to recognizing and sharing communication's excellence across the YMCA movement. Each year, YMCAs of every size, and with any fundraising goal, are encouraged to participate in the annual NAYDO Communications Awards Contest. This year, there are BRAND NEW AWARDS CATEGORIES! Awards are presented at the NAYDO Conference. 

Because a single communications tactic cannot effectively demonstrate your cause alone, NAYDO Communications Awards entries require 3-5 pieces that were used together to tell a story, support a marketing or philanthropic goal, and enhance the culture of philanthropy. Our goal is to understand how, together, the communications pieces reflect your YMCA's strategy to address a specific philanthropic or communications challenge.

Most importantly, we're interested in clear demonstrations of communications success. Digital analytics, earned media, media impressions, and the results of philanthropic campaigns are just a few ways you might measure the success of your communications program.

Submissions must be part of philanthropic or communications campaigns that have already demonstrated measurable success or are completed.

The 2020 categories are NEW:  
  • Strategic Communications Excellence (multiple categories)
    - Best Overall Campaign Excellence Award  
    - FOR ALL Communications Champion Award  
    - Philanthropic Communications Champion Award 
    - Small Budget Star Award    
  • Cause Communicator of the Year (one award)

Communications Awards Criteria

All entries will be judged on the following criteria. Please be certain all criteria are met before submitting your entry.

  • Follows YMCA graphic standards applicable to their country. Materials that do not meet graphics standards will not be considered for judging or recognition.
Entries will be reviewed by representatives from YMCA of the USA and YMCA Canada for compliance.*
Y-USA Graphic Standards (July 2010)
YMCA Canada Brand Guidelines (January 2018) 
  • ​Used in previous 23 months (January 2018 - November 2019)
  • Reflects the development of a strategic approach to communications
  • Successfully supported a financial development effort
  • Graphic and digital design and/or videography is clean and easy to follow
  • Content reflects the Y's mission and voice
  • Strong imagery supports the content and purpose
  • Clear qualitative or quantitative measures that demonstrate communications and/or philanthropic success
  • Possesses a distinctive caliber of excellence in its own right
Questions? Contact Communications Awards Chair Molly Thompson, molly.thompson@ymcatriangle.org, 919 417 8524.

Communications Awards Contest
Categories, Descriptions and Submission Requirements

UPLOADING an ELECTRONIC VERSION of all materials (i.e. PDF version of print materials) is REQUIRED for ALL ENTRIES.

Each category has its own entry form. Only online submissions are accepted. If you win, you will need to supply print copies of winning materials (where applicable).


  1. By entering your YMCA's materials, entrants are giving NAYDO permission to copy and keep the entry for the NAYDO library, website and/or conference distribution. 
  2. All submissions and supporting documents become the property of NAYDO and will not be returned.
  3. It is your YMCA's responsibility to ensure all elements of any entry meet your country's YMCA brand standards.


The NAYDO Strategic Communications Excellence Awards recognize exemplary YMCAs that have developed multi-faceted communications campaign designed to inform, educate or persuade specific audiences about the Y's cause, impact or an initiative. Awards will be given to small, mid-size and large Ys in the following categories of communications excellence:

Best Overall Campaign Excellence Award recognizes one small, one mid-size and one large Y for developing the best overall strategic campaign in its class.

FOR ALL Communications Champion Award recognizes a Y that has demonstrated its commitment to welcoming and serving all people within a philanthropic campaign.

Philanthropic Communications Champion Award recognizes YMCAs for a clear and creative strategic approach to the development of communications fundraising campaign and tools. Entries should include a compilation of 3-5 pieces that best demonstrate your philanthropic strategy in action which may include annual report, impact reports, annual support campaign materials, capital campaign materials, endowment or planned giving, general donor cultivation materials.

Small Budget Star Award recognizes YMCAs that have developed multi-faceted communications campaign designed to inform, educate or persuade specific audiences about the Y's cause, impact or an initiative WHILE SPENDING $5,000 or LESS ON THEIR CAMPAIGN.

Judges will be looking for:

  • A clearly defined strategy that is based on addressing a YMCA philanthropic and/or communications challenge with measurable goals and objectives
  • Alignment of the campaign with YMCA national brand standards
  • High professional standards
  • Originality and creativity
  • Entrees should include 3-5 communications pieces that were part of this campaign 
  • Demonstrated results and a clear explanation of return on investment (ROI).

Entry Requirements: To be valid, this award submission must include 3 components:
1. Strategic Communications Category Entry Form (2020 Online Form has not yet been posted)
Each entry form should be properly completed. Read the instructions thoroughly to ensure you have included all necessary components including the Submission Summary described below.
2. Submission Summary  Your summary should explain your Y's rationale, organization and impact of your campaign. The summary should be a maximum of four (4) pages and must include a brief description of each of the following FIVE areas:  
1. Strategy, research and planning - May include formal research such as market or feasibility and/or informal research such as data, information and facts gathered by your team. Your goal is to help judges understand how research informed your strategy.
       2. Goals and objectives
       3. Execution
       4. Budget
       5. Evaluation and measurement (Qualitative and quantitative measurements are welcome)
There is an expectation that submissions will include defined results. If your campaign has not concluded prior to submission, you must provide results thus far as well as expected end results. Submissions which indicate that results are "to be determined pending completion of campaign" may be disqualified from the judging process.
Read a sample strategic communications award submission summary. (2020 sample not yet posted)
3. Portfolio of Communications Pieces  
A compilation of 3-5 communications pieces, used together, that best demonstrate your communications strategy in action. May include annual report, annual support campaign, capital campaign, endowment and planned giving, general donor cultivation or volunteer cultivation, media campaign and public service announcements, website or social media.
Note: Video submissions should be original content and source link, not a web video like YouTube.


This award recognizes efforts by a YMCA leader to inform, educate and engage his or her team, volunteers, donors and/or community. This person clearly articulates a vision that inspires and motivates others to positive action. Excellent communication requires real strategy. Your entry should demonstrate the strategic effort related to internal and/or external communication by a leader at your Y.

Entry Requirements: To be valid, this award submission must include 3 components:

1. Communicator of the Year Entry Form (2020 form not yet posted)  
Each entry form should be properly completed. Read the instructions thoroughly to ensure you have included all necessary components including the Submission Summary described below. 

2. Submission Summary
Your entry must include a maximum two (2) page summary. The summary should clearly articulate why you believe the nominee should be selected. Please include:

1. Who are you nominating? Your nominee can be a CEO, director, volunteer or other leader. Please include their name, title, association, and brief biographical information.
2. What challenge or opportunity is your nominee addressing? Either independently or with the support of your Y's marketing, communications and/or financial development team, describe how your nominee applies strategy to increase awareness and support for the Y's cause and/or need for philanthropic support from a specific target audience. Target audiences can be staff, volunteers, elected officials, community partners, or any other specific group(s).
3. Goals and objectives
4. Execution
5. Budget
6. Evaluation and measurement (qualitative and quantitative measurements are welcome)

3. Portfolio of Communications Pieces
A compilation of 3-5 philanthropic communications pieces that best demonstrate your nominee's efforts to engage and inspire audience groups. These pieces may include internal and/or external communications materials such as emails, newsletters, social media, media interviews, videos, presentation materials, communications plans and/or message platform materials. You may include photos or videos of this person actively engaging others. 
Note: Video submissions should be original content and source link, not a web video like YouTube.