Just Announced: Nominations Open for the 2021 Classy Awards

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By Hannah Durbin
Published March 16, 2021
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Since 2009, the Classy Awards have united social sector leaders to celebrate the achievements of nonprofits and social enterprises addressing our world’s greatest challenges. Every day, these organizations make critical contributions to society, yet rarely receive the recognition they deserve. This is the opportunity for those changemakers to be appreciated for their meaningful work.

The Classy Awards are back for the first time since 2017, as an entirely digital experience, to highlight our industry’s top innovators and influencers. Although we can’t come together to celebrate under one roof this year, it’s more important than ever to recognize the efforts of nonprofits and social enterprises who overcame immense challenges in 2020 to drive their missions forward. Nominate your organization to be considered.

Nominations are Open

The social sector showed up in countless ways to answer the overwhelming demands of 2020, and we want to hear about it. By nominating your organization, you have the opportunity to share how your team embraced new ideas, creative models, and the latest technologies to better serve the world at large. 

Who Is Eligible for a Classy Award?

There are no restrictions on the corporate structure of the organization; nonprofits, social enterprises, corporations, and academic programs are all eligible. 

All nominations that meet the following criteria will be considered:

  • Must complete an organization profile, in English, by April 27, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. PST
  • Must be headquartered in the United States, but programs can operate anywhere in the world
  • Must have a representative who is a U.S. resident
  • Representative who completes the profile must be 18 years or older
  • Programs must address a quantifiable social problem
  • Programs must have at least one year of measurable results
  • Organizations may submit up to five programs for consideration

Why Should You Nominate Your Organization?

Members of the Classy Awards community receive recognition among some of the most reputable organizations in the social sector, and gain tremendous credibility as trailblazers and pioneering leaders. Every Finalist will be seen and evaluated by members of our Leadership Council, a group of prestigious leaders across the social sector, organically elevating your visibility. It’s also worth noting that each Winner becomes a part of the small group of changemakers who have been honored through the Classy Awards, which brings a heightened sense of exclusivity to your organization. 

To get a deeper look into the benefits of a Classy Award, here are the perks each of our 50 Finalists will receive: 

  • Program evaluation by the Leadership Council, a group of of 50 of the top influencers across the social sector
  • Inclusion in the Finalists announcement at Classy’s free nonprofit conference, the Collaborative: Virtual Sessions, which brings together over 5,000 social sector leaders and nonprofit professionals in a virtual setting
  • A feature on the Finalists page of the Classy Awards website
  • Recognition on Classy’s blog
  • Press kit complete with templates and tools to further leverage the award notoriety

And for our top 13 Winners:

  • Inclusion in the Classy Award Winners press release announcement
  • Custom Classy Awards trophy
  • 90-second video highlighting your organization, which will be showcased on the Classy Awards website and delivered to you for your own marketing efforts 
  • Invitation to an exclusive virtual roundtable and networking event for Classy Award Winners and top social sector leaders in October 2021
  • A feature on the Winners page of the Classy Awards website
  • Recognition on Classy’s blog
  • Recognition on Classy’s social media channels
  • Press kit complete with templates and tools to further leverage the award notoriety

How to Apply

All social impact organizations must complete a nomination profile to be eligible for the Classy Awards. This profile will help Nominees articulate their programmatic performance in the following categories: 

  • Problem 
  • Strategy
  • Operations
  • Results 
  • Growth 

To learn more and begin your application, visit the Classy Awards website.

Award Categories

There are a total of 13 Classy Awards in four distinct categories, each highlighting success at either an organizational or individual level.

The organizational-level categories include:

  • Social Innovation: Celebrates 10 of the most innovative nonprofits and social enterprises
  • People’s Choice: Recognizes an innovative nonprofit or social enterprise from the top 50 Finalists, voted on by the general public
  • Adapt & Overcome: Acknowledges an organization that overcame immense challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

The individual-level category includes: 

  • Lifetime Achievement: Recognizes an individual who has achieved excellence over a lifetime of service in the social sector

How Nominees are Measured

Each profile will be evaluated on these four main criteria:

  • Scale, scope, and expertise in addressing the problem
  • Ability to solve the problem
  • Creativity of the solution
  • Organizational effectiveness, diversity and inclusion, and resource management

All Nominees will be given a numerical score from the internal Classy Awards Committee based on the judging criteria. Organizations with the top 50 scores will become the Finalists, and their program profiles will be released for evaluation and voting on the Classy Awards website to determine the People’s Choice Award. The Leadership Council will then determine the Social Innovation Winners, and the Classy Awards Committee will determine the Winners of the Adapt & Overcome and Lifetime Achievement Awards.

We encourage you to take advantage of this thorough application process to help your team assess its impact and key learnings from 2020, allowing you to refine your efforts, strengthen your strategy, and better support your mission.

Submit a nomination today to share how your organization has made a difference, and how you plan to continue leaving your mark in years to come. And if you are named one of our 2021 Classy Awards Winners, that trophy will be a permanent reminder of the impact your organization has made on our world. Either way, you have nothing to lose.

Start your application today

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