Application Process

Recognizing the most innovative social programs in the sector.

Classy Award Nominees are solving quantifiable social problems with at least one year of measurable results. All nominees are asked to complete an extensive application process and are then judged by the Leadership Council, an honorary board of industry leaders and field experts. The selected Finalists go on to receive exposure to top leaders across the social sector, including funders and media.

Judging Criteria

Scale, scope, and leadership expertise of the problem being addressed

Bigger doesn't always mean better. Strong Nominees can be addressing a problem that affects a large geographic area signaling a large-scale issue OR they could be serving a smaller geographic area that has tremendous suffering and need. It's important that the problem identified by the Nominee is significant both in size and severity, and that they illustrate a comprehensive expertise of that problem.

What is the scale of the problem (e.g., number of people affected, geographic area of need)?
 What is the significance of the change they are trying to make (e.g., depth of suffering averted, significance of opportunity gained, etc.)?
 What level of expertise does the Nominee exhibit on their knowledge of the problem, its trending behaviors and contributing factors?

Innovative approach

Nominees are defined by the level of creativity and imagination they bring towards addressing the problem. An innovative approach defies traditional practices, breaks down conventional barriers, and explores new ways to drive change.

How creative is this solution?
 To what extent is this solution differentiated from traditional approaches to this problem?
 Are there any unique activities, technologies or collaborations that drive this approach?

Ability to solve the problem

Innovative solutions are only valuable if they illustrate the ability to fundamentally solve the problem. As we say at Classy, think big and execute smart. Leadership Council members will need to rely on their expertise to determine if they feel the Nominee has the ability to solve this Problem.

Do they have a clearly defined strategy and future roadmap? Is their model setup for long-term success? Have they established a strong foundation for future growth? Have they illustrated, through performance metrics and previous measurable results, that they are capable of eradicating the problem?

Organizational effectiveness and resource management

Given their knowledge of their sector and the information provided by the Nominee, judges are asked to consider whether the Nominee's results are higher or lower than they would expect and whether there is justification for the difference? There should be a focus on delivering deeper or broader impact versus making the size of the program bigger. For example, programs looking to grow their impact will demonstrate ingenuity, maintaining their quality while increasing their results; they may be collaborating for knowledge sharing and automating their approach so that others can use it cost-effectively.

Based on the judge's familiarity with other organizations, do the Nominee’s goals seem in line with the available resources (e.g., size of staff and budget)? Does the Nominee have organizational strengths that stand out (e.g., strong mechanisms for continuous learning; leadership recognized for its expertise or innovation; partnerships that further leverage the organization’s resources, etc.)?

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Classy Award Finalists

• Your program will be evaluated by the Leadership Council, 100 of the top influencers across the social sector.
2016 Funders included Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Caterpillar Foundation, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, GE Foundation, Hitachi Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Microsoft Philanthropies, Peery Foundation, Prudential Impact Investments, Rockefeller Foundation, Thiel Foundation, and Unreasonable Capital. 2016 Media included Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, Forbes Magazine, Mashable, National Geographic, Upworthy.

• (2) VIP passes to the Collaborative, a 3-day event in Boston, MA which convenes the top leaders in the social sector from June 13-15, 2017.

• (2) VIP tickets to the awards ceremony on June 15, 2017.

• Exclusive invitation to the 3-hour Funders-Finalists Brunch, during the Collaborative on June 15, 2017.

Top 10 Winners

• Onstage recognition and opportunity to share a short speech at the Classy awards ceremony, in front of 1,500 social sector leaders and influencers.

• Inclusion in the Classy Awards Winners press release announcement, and a press release template for your own distribution.

• Short 90-second video highlighting your program, created by Classy.

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