• A celebration of successful programs, products or services that advance the association sector.

    CSAE’s Association Centre of Excellence Awards recognize outstanding team achievements and organizations’ initiatives to advance association excellence in alignment with the competencies of the Certified Association Executive (CAE ®) program. Recipients of this award have demonstrated excellent leadership, structure and governance of their association; and/or the planning and execution of internal, external and integrated programs that elevate member value and engage the association community.


    Programs, products or services that have demonstrated successful results between January 2022 and the day of submission. If a long-term strategy was developed prior to January 2022 but a major milestone or measurement took place during the eligibility period, it is eligible for entry.

    Limit of two (2) entries per organization can be entered in any given year.

    The applicant must be a member.


    • Nominations from the current members of the CSAE Board of Directors.
    • Nominations from the current members of CSAE’s awards and recognition committee.

    Selection Criteria 

    Each application is reviewed by two to four volunteers in accordance with the judging guidelines. Volunteers review each application independently and then meet as a team to review, discuss and come to an agreement on the final evaluation score. Applications will not be evaluated against each other. All applications will be reviewed based on the following selection criteria using this evaluation rubric.

    • Leadership: The organization identifies a clear need for the project that invests in the sector and advances association excellence. The organization has demonstrated outstanding leadership and strategy from planning, development, implementation, learnings and evaluation.
    • Creativity and Innovation: The organization has demonstrated their use of creative and innovative solutions to add value and advance association excellence.
    • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: The organization has demonstrated a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.
    • Collaboration and Teamwork: The organization has demonstrated a commitment to collaboration and teamwork throughout the process to build and arrive at a successful solution.  
    • Continuous Improvement: The organization has clearly identified the resources allocated and how they contributed to the success of the project. The organization has demonstrated a focus on best practices, benchmarking and measuring the return on investment. The organization has demonstrated a focus on learning from previous attempts.
    • Achievements: The organization has demonstrated the impact, outcomes and benefits from their project. The project advances the association community through added value and provides a knowledge sharing resource for continuous improvement in the association sector.
    • Competencies for Association Executives: The project supports one or more of the competencies for association executives.
    • Performance: The entry consistently exceeds all selection criteria.

    *Organizations that worked with a consultant are encouraged to highlight what was done differently to target the specific and unique needs of your organization. 

    Application Requirements

    • A 10-minute video using this PowerPoint template providing an overview of the program, product or service. The video presentation can be recorded through Zoom or another platform. Be specific and provide clear facts and information regarding key performance measures and metrics that provide evidence to determine the need, outcome and results of your project. Your video presentation must not exceed 10 minutes. Presentations that exceed 10 minutes may be disqualified. 
    • Support material to highlight your organization’s work and support the information provided in your video presentation. Your support material may include website or blog screenshots, publications, advertisements, speeches, articles, training materials, etc. It is recommended to provide a short description providing context for each support material included and how it specifically connects to the success of the organization’s project. Do not include a link to an external source without context. Your support material must be combined into one PDF file and it must not exceed 5 pages. Support material that exceeds 5 pages may be disqualified.

    Celebration and Entitlements

    The association centre of excellence awards are celebrated during the fall. Video presentations are shared with the CSAE community.

    There is no limit to the number of applications that may receive an association centre of excellence award in any given year.

    Applications with a final total mark of 0 to 50 do not receive an award.

    Award of Merit

    Applications with a final total mark between 51 and 54 receive an award of merit. An award of merit recognizes noteworthy accomplishments within the association community. 

    Award of Excellence

    Applications with a final total mark of 55 to 72 receive an award of excellence. An award of excellence recognizes truly exceptional accomplishments within the association community.

    Association centre of excellence awards recipients will receive:

    • An electronic certificate.
    • A digital badge.
    • Recognition across communications and within CSAE’s community.

    CAE® Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

    Credit is granted to the applicant for a complete award’s application. Association centre of excellence awards, based on 1 hour per complete award nomination (maximum 2 hours per two-year reporting period).

    Become a Judge

    The association centre of excellence awards committee is a working group focused on the development and advancement of CSAE’s association centre of excellence awards initiatives.

    This volunteer opportunity is available to CSAE members. Applications open during the fall with annual appointment. Click here to learn more about the volunteer community and opportunities to get involved.

    Learn More

    For awards inquiries, connect with Casey Pope, CAE, specialist, volunteer engagement, at casey@csae.com.

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