The National Chapter of the Year is the highest annual recognition for chapters in SCORE. Historically, chapters have been measured on key metrics like number of clients seen or number of workshops held and the growth in these areas. More recently, these operational metrics are considered in conjunction with how the chapter achieved success and the key cultural items that created an environment for success. Cultural items like leadership, quality, innovation, and the drive for client impact show how a chapter achieved results and show how a chapter is poised for sustained performance into the future.
The benefits for Chapter Of The Year winners have significantly increased publicity, improved client awareness, easier recruiting, and better volunteer and community engagement. Past winners have used the momentum of the award and recognition to create sustained growth and performance in their chapters. It is not just the winners that see benefits, past applicants have noted that simply completing the process of application have made them more cognizant of their culture, performance, and impact that has led to the betterment of the chapter.
Each year a committee of SCORE volunteers reviews all applications and selects a winner for COTY. Please note that all applicant chapters, regardless of placement, will be recognized at the annual National Leadership Conference and through the Chapter Spotlight program throughout the next year.
Chapters must submit their application to the SCORE Association office for consideration as the National Chapter of the Year no later than January 31. The final selection of the winner will be made no later than March 31.
The application should include the chapter narratives and information outlined below as well as any Goals Reports for the year and the most recent Form 16 SCORE On-Site Review Form. Chapters must be in compliance with the Chapter Minimum Standards, including branding and website guidelines.
The preferred method for submission of the application material is electronic submission. Ideally, the electronic submission should be contained to one file including all narratives, reports, and required scanned support documents. SCORE has created a simple submission process where materials can be uploaded. Email notification with the submission form is sent to all chapters during the open application window.
National Chapter of the Year Award Application Criteria
There is no formal application form to be completed. The chapter should submit a narrative of activities related to the core values of the SCORE Association – Service, Collaboration, Quality, Credibility, and Personal Growth – and the overall performance and successes achieved. Your chapter should be able to demonstrate effective processes that assist in fulfilling SCORE’s mission.
Culture (50 percent)
- Provide a narrative, not to exceed six (6) pages, detailing the chapter’s culture. Please include any descriptions of key processes or initiatives that chapter employs to continue to build an enduring chapter culture tied to the core values. General topics to discuss may include the chapter’s goals, processes, achievement, and successes in:
- Building Awareness and Client Attraction
- Client Focus & Ensuring Client Service Quality
- Chapter Innovations o Continued Education Programs for volunteers
- Volunteer Engagement Initiatives
- Recruiting and Chapter Diversity
- Contributions to the Community/Community Engagement
Specific examples may include the chapter methods for the onboarding and orienting of new volunteers (Service & Credibility), the processes to keep mentors relevant and up to date with current business practices (Personal Growth), or the systems designed to improve individual mentoring quality (Quality).
Please include a discussion about your chapter’s process around improving Volunteer Engagement and mentor recognition programs. Describe efforts to create a rewarding environment for mentoring (both for the client and volunteer).
Please share your processes for the use of data in chapter management, the metrics your chapter uses, and the follow-through your chapter has been able to achieve. Include the chapter’s performance as it relates to its goals over the past three years.
Merit Achievement (25 percent)
- Provide a narrative, not to exceed three (3) pages, of significant achievements of the chapter for the fiscal year that demonstrate the chapter’s merit for selection as National Chapter of the Year. Please include a discussion about the chapter’s performance in the key service channels (Face to Face Mentoring, Face to Face Follow On, Email Mentoring, Email Follow On, Local Workshops, and Local Workshop attendance) compared to the previous fiscal year. Please describe how the chapter was able to achieve results (i.e. what did the chapter do to cause the effect shown in the results). Please also include the results of the key functions of the chapter and the outputs measured (volunteers recruited, diversity improvement, government relations, community involvement, partnerships developed, sponsorships awarded.
- Please discuss the steps that the chapter has taken to operate more effectively and to achieve results. You may include examples from improved financial management and investment, service expansion and coverage, technology integration, chapter organization and alignment, or any other key process that has allowed the chapter to be more effective at delivering quality service to clients.
- Discuss how ethical conduct is monitored beyond the annual signatory re-affirmation of compliance with the Code of Ethics and Conduct.
Outcomes and Successes (25 percent)
- Provide a narrative, not to exceed three (3) pages, describing the chapter’s commitment to delivering successful outcomes. In addition to a description of any processes to engage clients and encourage follow-up sessions, please detail any measures or processes the chapter uses to gauge client satisfaction.
- One of the most critical examples of SCORE’s success lies with the successes our clients achieve. Please detail and describe how you chapter measures and reports any of the outcomes and successes your chapter uses.
- Please include up to five client success stories or testimonials (these may be attached in addition to the three-page narrative).
The National Chapter of the Year (COTY) application should not include any additional material beyond that stated above. Those applications which do not meet these criteria cannot be considered. Presentation of the National Chapter of the Year Award The National Chapter of the Year Award is presented to the representative of the winning chapter at the annual SBA Small Business Week award presentations. The winning chapter designates the person most responsible for the chapter’s success to receive the award.
Chapter volunteers receive an appropriate gift as recognition of their contribution to the achievements of the chapter.