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District Leader Newsletter - All About Local Awards
District Leader Newsletter - All About Local Awards
February 2017 | A publication of the National Speech & Debate Association
Dear District Leader
We’ve put together some tips to help you with the local award aspect of tournament hosting. Use the info below to plan how you'll thank your local champions and recognize those who go above and beyond for speech and debate! 
Determine Your Team » You'll first need to determine which local awards your district will give out. Our favorite way to do this is by establishing an Awards Committee, made up of members of the district leadership team, volunteer coaches, or a combination of the two. Award options include District Alumni Achievement, District Communicator of the Year, District Principal of the Year, District Volunteer of the Year, and District Student of the Year. Each of these awards recognize an individual for their outstanding contribution in their field to the speech and debate community.  
Create an Evaluation Strategy » After selecting your district's awards, your team is ready to determine any necessary qualifications, set up your nomination form, and decide how you'll select the winner. 
Use Our Nomination Form » Save time on nomination forms by copying our ready-to-use Google form and editing it to suit your needs. Simply visit this folder, right click the form entitled "Copy This - Local Awards Form," select "Make Copy," then click "Locate" to find your copy of the form, and you're ready to edit! Once you've deleted any inapplicable awards, use the "Responses" tab to change the status to "Accepting Responses." Now your form is live and nominations will be easily accessible to you and anyone you add as a collaborator! 
Publicize the Awards » Once you've hammered out the details, it's time to publicize! Emails are great, but also consider posting flyers at area tournaments, in classrooms, and sending out information over any social media or other digital channels you have available. Be sure to include the following: 
  • A description of the award and eligibility
  • How to nominate someone
  • Contact information for questions
  • The nomination deadline 
Plan for Next Year » Has your tournament already occurred, or are you too far along in planning to follow our process this year? Make a calendar reminder for eight weeks out from the potential date of the next district tournament to make sure you remember to get an early start with an Awards Committee next year! 
Order Awards » We'd love to make your life a little bit easier. Order your FREE awards and ballots from our Trophy Shop about four weeks out from the tournament and we'll take care of everything! 
View Order Form
Prepare to Evaluate Nominees » The Awards Committee should meet to create the slate of candidates for voting and set up the voting method, either in person or virtually. You'll prepare an email and include the link to vote, the voting process, and the deadline. Be sure to consider whether you’d like to give each school a vote, each coach a vote, or even each student a vote, and include who's eligible in your email!  
Timing » Make sure to give everyone about a week to vote. Most folks will vote right away or the day of the deadline (after a reminder). More than a week and you’re just providing time for them to forget to vote.
Determine Your Winners » Tally the votes about four weeks out from your tournament date and use this checklist to cover all your bases:  
  • Contact the nominators and let them know their nominees won. Ask them if they’d present the award and give a brief explanation why the award winner is deserving of the award. Also ask them if they’d volunteer to greet the winner at the door and give them a tour of the tournament for a few minutes.
  • Call to personally invite the award winners to the awards ceremony.
  • Follow up with an email including the address, time, and other relevant information. Want to save a bit of time? We've created an email template for just that purpose! You can view it on page 39 of the Building Community Toolkit
Build the Hype » About a week out from the tournament, you should prepare the media invite and press release for the award. By sending an invite, you may be able to get local press at your tournament and create some positive buzz. Consider local radio, TV, and newspapers, in addition to appropriate school newspapers or other communications. Need a sample to get started? Email us and we'll send you one! 
Send Your Press Release » By prepping your press release in advance, you'll be ready to send it out immediately following the tournament. In addition to local media outlets, be sure to include other appropriate contacts. For example, for the District Principal of the Year, send the press release information to the Superintendent and/or School Board. For the District Volunteer of the Year, consider sending the press release to the marketing department of the employer. All of these channels are ways to make the award an even bigger honor, but also to draw attention to your district. By honoring these individuals and publicizing the awards, you’ll be elevating your district in the community and creating a lasting bond with the award recipients. 
Maximize Your Impact » For your best shot at coverage, you’ll want the press release to be in people’s email inboxes by the Monday morning after the tournament.
More Like This » Looking for more tips, tools, and tricks to make your local tournaments run smoothly? Check out our Building Community Toolkit
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