• Get inspired in your own work by exploring these award-winning programs and successes. You can access all the details from this page here.

    Call for Entries

    Is your team’s work worthy of recognition?

    You’ve amazed and astonished your members with creatively conceived and brilliantly executed programs, products or services. Now it’s time to extend your recognition to the national stage where the CSAE community is ready to laud and applaud you. Stand up and be recognized! Enter your project, initiative, partnership, promotion or campaign in the Awards of Distinction and allow us to celebrate your excellence!

    The Awards of Distinction: A Celebration of Excellence

    • The focus is on the five competency domains of the Certified Association Executive (CAE ®) program — a long-term goal for all association professionals.
    • There’s a chance to celebrate the excellent leadership, structure and governance of your association; and/or the planning and execution of internal, external and integrated programs that serve your members and/or engage external stakeholders and volunteers.
    • There are additional and expanded categories.
    • All entries will be judged against a standard of established criteria vs. against each other. This means there can be multiple winners in any category.
    • Associations or projects with small budgets are not judged against large associations or budgets. Every entry has an equal chance to be recognized with a CSAE Award of Distinction.


    Programs/projects that demonstrated successful results between January 2021 and the day of submission are eligible. If a long-term strategy was developed prior to January 2021 but a major milestone or measurement took place during the eligibility period, it is eligible for entry. The organization submitting must have at least one current CSAE member on staff.


    The categories focus on the five competency areas of the Competencies for Association Executives and the Certified Association Executive (CAE®) program. This means there’s a category for every project — so there’s no excuse for not entering your best work. And, your award submission can serve as a stepping stone for the CAE course requirements.

    Category 1: Optimize GovernanceEnsure effective and efficient governance structure
    Contribute to the effectiveness of the board and committees
    Lead development of a strategic plan
    Advise the board on issues requiring their input
    Develop a risk management strategy

    Examples could include: board orientation programs, creation of a new strategic plan, managing a governance review, managing a strategic planning process with member and community engagement, an engagement process to create a new vision for an organization.
    Category 2: Establish DirectionAnalyse current financial state of the organization
    Develop a long-term business strategy
    Develop annual business plan
    Develop and maintain brand reputation
    Develop partnerships to achieve organization objectives

    Examples could include: creation of a new annual operating/business planning process, a government relations or public education campaign, management of a major external issue or crisis, launch of a new partnership.
    Category 3: Lead PeopleEvaluate human resource requirements
    Recruit staff and volunteers
    Onboard staff and volunteers
    Establish staff and volunteer codes of conduct
    Manage individual performance
    Manage teams
    Manage change
    Conduct ongoing personal leadership development

    Examples could include: implementation of a new staff performance review program, creation of a new learning program for association staff, launch of a new HR program that supports strategic goals, recruitment and orientation of a new executive director.
    Category 4: Manage OperationsManage day-to-day financials
    Manage an annual external financial audit or review engagement
    Manage facilities
    Manage equipment
    Manage technology
    Develop operational practices

    Examples could include: research and implementation of new software system, building of a new facility, resolution of legal issue, or implementation of a new website, AMS or other technology.
    Category 5: Deliver ValueCollect evidence-based data
    Identify needs of segments
    Conduct continuous improvement of organizational offerings

    Examples could include: a social media campaign, capital fundraising campaign, new member orientation event, launch of a training program, product/service marketing campaigns, management of educational/training programs, creation of a new program/product/service, member research projects, member segmentation strategies/structures.

    Note: Only two (2) submissions per organization can be entered. Entrants may submit their entries in the same category and/or across multiple categories provided that the work plan is tailored to fit the category description.

    How to Enter

    1. Think of all the great projects you’ve successfully completed within the eligible time frame. Pick the best ones that might be unique, and/or include robust measurement of your success. Or, think about ongoing programs with a real track record, or initiatives other associations can learn from, or ones you’re most proud of.
    2. Carefully review the resource submission guide and resource submission quick list.
    3. Complete the video presentation using this slide deck template. The video presentation can be recorded through Zoom or another platform.
    4. Pull together digital versions of your supplemental materials that best showcase the project and are proof-points for your video presentation. These can include: website or blog screen shots, publications, advertisements, speeches, sample media articles, training materials etc. If applicable, include the relevant URLs and/or passwords for websites or other online platforms within your work plan or supplemental materials for judges to view live at judging time. Note: there is no limit on the number of supplemental materials, but less is more. Think 1-6 per entry maximum.
    5. Review the Marks of a Winner evaluation guidelines to better understand what judges are looking for in each section and how to score extra marks.
    6. Follow the steps here to submit the video presentation and supplemental materials.

    CAE® Continuous Professional Development (CPD): Credit is granted to the nominator for a complete award’s application. Awards of Distinction, based on 1 hour per complete award nomination (maximum 4 hours per two-year reporting period).


    The confidential selection process is conducted by independent CSAE volunteers and their decision is final.

    Judges / Evaluators Needed

    If you’re a member with your CAE certification and/or a senior member looking to give back to your profession and association, why not become an evaluator for this new awards program? It’s a chance to network with other senior members, to look behind-the-scenes at work of your colleagues, and to share your wisdom and experience to elevate the work of your colleagues. Interested individuals should contact casey@csae.com to find out more.

    Past Recipients

    Congratulations to all 2022 Awards of Distinction recipients. Associations have done some exceptional work over the past year!

    2022 Recipients

    Award of Excellence

    • Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses (Co-Chaired by the Hotel Association of Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada): Hardest Hit and on the Edge of Survival
    • Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC): IPIC’s ‘Your profession. Our purpose.’ membership campaign
    • Ontario Society of Professional Engineers: Membership Growth Through Elevated Brand Reputation
    • REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington: Bylaw Review Roadmap: A Path to Optimized Governance & Reimagined Membership Engagement
    • Registered Veterinary Technologists & Technicians of Canada (RVTTC): RVTTC RVT Career NavigatorTM
    • Tire and Rubber Association of Canada: Improving Media Campaign Strategy

    Award of Merit

    • Forum of Canadian Ombudsman: Case Study on Value Proposition
    • Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI): Advancing Government Climate Change Objectives Through HVACR Innovation and Leadership
    • Ontario Public Buyers Association: A Case Study Towards Membership Profitability
    • REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington: Case Study: Reimagining RAHB’s 100th Anniversary for a Virtual World

    2021 Recipients

    Award of Excellence

    • The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA): Discover APEGA Microsite
    • Canadian Rheumatology Association: COVID-19 Response Series
    • Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium: CUTRIC’s Pan-Canadian Battery Electric Bus Demonstration & Integration Trial
    • CREB® REALTOR® Community Foundation: CREB®’s Community Investment Rubric
    • Hotel Association of Canada: In It Together – Surviving the COVID-19 Crisis
    • National Golf Course Owners Association of Canada: COVID-19 Response Plan
    • NSAR: Certified International Property Specialist Education Program
    • Ontario Bar Association: OBA COVID-19 Response: Virtual Justice
    • RisingOaks Early Learning Ontario: From Owl Child Care to RisingOaks Early Learning Ontario: A brand transition case study
    • Supply Chain Canada, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northern Territories Institutes: Collaboration: The Missing Piece to Bridging the Gap

    Award of Merit

    • Canadian Corporate Counsel Association: Delivering Valuable Virtual Sponsor Benefits
    • International Alliance of ALS MND Associations: Policy Manual Development
    • Ontario Bar Association: OBA COVID-19 Response: Wellness Support
    • Tire and Rubber Association of Canada: The Tire and Rubber Association Kicks Off 2021 With a New Website

    2019 Recipients

    Award of Excellence

    • Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Canada (ACEC-Canada): #20DaysOfExcellence in Engineering campaign.
    • Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science: We Are Lab Documentary Series
    • Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists: The CSRT Infrastructure Renewal Initiative.
    • Canadian Housing and Renewal Association: Housing Professional Mentorship Program.
    • Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association: DVBIA’s Mandate Renewal Engagement Strategy.
    • Fisheries Council of Canada: Development of a New Annual Budget and Work Plan.
    • Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting: Optimize Governance – Strategic Plan.
    • Intellectual Property Institute of Canada: IPIC’s IP Awareness Campaign.

    Award of Merit

    • The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science: Formalization and Scaling-Up of the Research and Special Initiatives Department.
    • Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association: DVBIA’s Clean Team Program.
    • Speech-Language & Audiology Canada: The SAC Audiology Event.
    • Fertilizer Canada: Welcome to Fertilizer Canada!

    2018 Recipients

    Award of Excellence

    • Canadian Physiotherapy Association: Member Services Onboarding project.
    • Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science: National Initiative to Increase the Supply of Medical Laboratory Technologists in Canada.
    • Canadian Dental Hygienists Association: Dental Hygienist Superhero Competition Campaign.
    • Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS®: Member Engagement Program.

    Award of Merit

    • Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS®: Government Relations Program.

    2017 Recipients

    Award of Excellence

    • The Canadian Payroll Association: e-T4 and e-RL-1 Advocacy Accomplishment
    • Real Estate Institute of Canada: Home Study Promotional Campaign: Power to Connect Vision Paper
    • Electricity Distributors Association: Power to Connect Vision Paper

    Award of Merit

    • The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science: Mental Health Toolkit
    • Canadian Physiotherapy Association:#30REPS: A Reputational Risk Education and Awareness Campaign

    2016 Recipients

    Award of Excellence

    • Canadian Franchise Association: Franchise Awareness Day on Parliament Hill
    • Canadian Housing and Renewal Association: Housing for All campaign
    • Electricity Distributors Association: Fraud Prevention Campaign
    • Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS®: Government Relations Program

    Award of Merit

    • Association of Ontario Midwives: Government Relations Program to Expand Funding for Aboriginal Midwifery
    • The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta: Redevelopment of the APEGA Website
    • Canadian Chiropractors Association: BACK Matters Magazine
    • Canadian Physiotherapy Association: Career Path initiative
    • Ontario Community Support Association: Quality Advantage program
    • Ontario Road Builders’ Association: Site Unseen campaign
    • Supply Chain Management Association: National Live Student Case Competition
    • Supply Chain Management Association: Transition to a Competency-Based Board of Directors
    • Tea Association of Canada: TEA SOMMELIER® certification program
    • Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS®: Social Media Plan
    • Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS®: Trusted Guide Campaign
    • Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon: The Business Case for Greater Government Investment in Tourism Marketing

    E-News Archives

    Our Partners

    Our partners are best in class companies that deliver quality products and/or services to the association sector – click below to see for yourself!