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Show Your Chapter Pride by Entering a Chapter Contest

BY: Mark Coindreau | 01/31/22

Each year, APA chapters celebrate their successes and see how their efforts stack up against other APA chapters by entering in the APA’s annual chapter contests. 

Participating in an annual chapter contest gives each chapter the chance to tout its accomplishments, ideas, and activities from the prior year. Plus, it’s a great way for chapters to evaluate their activities and plan for future enhancements. All award recipients receive special awards to show off their win, both on their websites and at future chapter meetings.

Chapters can enter one of four contests. The most prestigious contest is Chapter of the Year (COTY). This contest evaluates each chapter on the entire scope of its operations, accomplishments, community service, use of technology and social media, and educational activities. It’s an opportunity for chapters, regardless of size, to be recognized by the APA for their tremendous efforts throughout the year. All entries are judged by an experienced panel of chapter leaders and the Chapter Recognition Committee. The recipients are announced at Payroll Congress during the Chapter Exchange event.

Chapter of the Year entrants are also considered for the annual Gavel Awards, which award chapters for excellence in innovation, mentorship, facilitation, and communication. Plus, each COTY entrant is entered into the Chapter’s Choice Contest, awarding the top chapter accomplishment from the prior year as voted on by chapter leaders on social media. Chapters are eligible for all three of the COTY, Gavel Awards, and Chapters Choice with one contest entry!

Entries for the 2022 COTY Contest were due to the Chapter Relations Department by February 11.

A chapter’s website can be one of its most valuable tools for membership growth and management. The Best Chapter Website recognizes the efforts of chapters to create visually appealing, user-friendly, and informative websites. At only six questions, it’s also one of the easiest contests to enter each year. Many chapters use similar tools such as Star Chapter to develop the look of their chapter’s websites, and that’s OK.  It doesn’t take an expensive, custom site to win. To ensure your best chance of success, before entering the contest, be sure to check that all information is up-to-date and review the site for user-friendliness and ease of navigation.

Some of the best parts of being a chapter member are hard to quantify on a questionnaire. The Best Chapter Pictorial Contest gives chapters the ability to showcase the networking, camaraderie, community impact, and fellowship they foster at their meetings and events by sharing the photos they’ve captured throughout the year. To enter simply create 5-10 slides displaying at least 10 chapter photos or screenshots of chapter activities and members. The more creative pictorials that reflect the spirt of the chapter are most likely to win.

Chapters in states across the country came together to hold 20 statewide events in 2021. The Best Statewide or Regional Meeting Contest recognizes the tremendous efforts of chapter volunteers to plan and execute their events at a high quality. Chapters should take the opportunity to brag about their events and earn recognition by entering this contest. Whether in-person or virtual, their Herculean efforts deserve to be recognized!

Entries to all of these contests (other than the COTY) are due March 4 to the Chapter Relations Department. 

Enter one or all the annual chapter contests to ensure your chapter receives the recognition it deserves. To enter, click here and view the questionnaire for each contest. All award recipients will be announced at the annual Chapter Exchange Reception and Awards at Payroll Congress on May 9. Good luck with this year’s entries!


Mark Coindreau is Director of Public Relations, Media, and Event Production Management for the APA.