The Classy Awards search for the most innovative and effective social impact programs on Earth. At the Collaborative and Classy Awards in Boston, leaders and experts will come together to share ideas, make connections, and honor the sector’s best.
We spoke with three recent Classy Award Nominees to learn what they took from the event and how the connections and conversations at the Collaborative impacted their organizations. Carrie Pena, the chief marketing officer at buildOn; Becky Rosaler, the marketing and events coordinator at Plant With Purpose; and Julie Clugage, the executive director of Team4Tech, shared their experiences applying for and attending the Collaborative and Classy Awards.
In a short video, they explained why other nonprofits and social enterprises should get involved.
The Benefits of Applying for a Classy Award
Past nominees said that completing their nomination profile helped them dig deep into their impact and really evaluate their model. “One of the most exciting internal realizations to come out of the application process is that we needed to standardize our approach to monitoring and evaluation a bit more. We actually ended up creating a monitoring and evaluation toolkit that we now provide to all of our NGO partners,” Clugage said. “I would encourage any organizations out there interested in applying to go through the process.”
The Classy Awards nomination profile truly dives into the substance and impact that organizations are making. “It went much deeper and really looked at the impact of our programs rather than just how interesting it was on surface level,” said Pena.
Classy welcomes organizations of all types—nonprofit, for-profit, or social enterprise—to create a nomination profile to be considered for the awards. The winners are decided by our Leadership Council, which unites innovators and experts in the social sector. Past Leadership Council members include Stephanie Berzin, Co-Director of Boston College Center for Social Innovation; Chris Helfrich, Senior Director of the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets Campaign; and Sherryl Kuhlman, Managing Director of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative.
What to Expect From the Collaborative and Classy Awards
The Collaborative is a three-day experience full of incredible speakers and panelists discussing how we, as a society, can solve the world’s greatest problems. It’s an opportunity for all attendees to meet and learn from some of the most exciting and passionate people in the social impact sector. At Boston’s Seaport Innovation District, nonprofit and for-profit leaders will gather for panels and curated debates. The 2016 Collaborative featured speakers and discussions on world hunger, education, environmental conservation, the current refugee crisis, and much more.
For a young organization like Team4Tech, Clugage explained, “It was just really exciting and gratifying to be able to share ideas with so many people who were doing exciting work around education in developing countries, learning from them, and also being able to get feedback on our model from them.”
While only a few organizations will receive a coveted Classy Award, the event is really about bringing nonprofits and social innovators together to share solutions and spark new ideas. Becky Rosaler from Plant With Purpose summed up the feeling of community and shared purpose, “It’s almost like you’re with your people. You’re with people who are on the same page as you, who want to see good happen in the world and who are working towards that.”
On the final evening, all attendees convene the Classy Awards, which honors programs on the forefront of social innovation. Be ready to enjoy breathtaking videos, listen to incredible speakers from all cause sectors, and maybe even shed some tears. After all of the networking and learning, everyone comes together for a final celebration to recognize the passion, talent, and hard work moving the sector forward.
Applying for a Classy Award doesn’t just put you in the running for a prestigious title, it makes your organization a part of a strong community of innovators and problem-solvers. And you don’t have to be a Finalist to attend the Collaborative and Classy Awards. Social entrepreneurs, nonprofit professionals, and consultants are welcome to learn from the community and join the conversation.
By bringing together the most passionate, creative, and impactful people in the social impact sector, Classy hopes to foster the discussions and connections that will change the world. We believe that the sharing of knowledge and experiences is the most direct path to social good. We hope you’ll join us to see just how far we can go.