Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to enter the Awards?
Any community association in the state of Florida is eligible to enter, including condominiums, homeowners associations and cooperatives.
Are there any entry fees?
No. There are no fees of any kind for community associations who participate in the Awards.
What is the purpose of the Awards?
The Awards are a celebration of excellence. They recognize outstanding communities and the volunteer board members who invest their time to improve the quality of life for their residents.
Why should communities participate in the Awards?
The Awards enable volunteer boards, committee members and professional managers to be recognized for their dedication, hard work and accomplishments. Recognition that communities receive is a source of differentiation that can increase home owner values and protect property investment. Many communities also report that winning the Awards is a source of pride and satisfaction that helps to build community consensus and spirit among residents.
Who is behind the Awards?
The Awards are backed by the leading companies that serve the community association market in Florida. They support the Awards as a way to promote excellence and share best practices in community association governance, management and operations.
Who created the Awards?
The founders of the Communities of Excellence Awards are the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff and the Florida Community Association Journal, the leading publication for community association managers. They came together in 2008 to initiate the program which officially began in 2009. The founders are committed to maintaining the Awards as a valued and trusted institution to support Florida’s community associations.
How are the winning communities determined? Who selects the winners?
A panel of judges comprised of independent subject matter experts reviews the written submissions. The scoring of the judges is tallied and the communities with the highest scores are chosen as the winners.
How are the judges chosen?
The judges are selected based on their experience and independence. Each has a background specifically related to the Awards category to which he or she is assigned. Sponsors of the Awards do not take part in any aspect of the judging.
How many Awards are presented?
Communities can submit entries in any of 12 categories, including a “Community Video Showcase” which was launched for 2015. There are two size classifications. In each category winners are selected from communities with up to 400 units and those that have 400 or more.
How do communities enter the Awards? What is the deadline?
The entry process is all online. Communities can start by downloading a PDF with the questionnaires for each of the 11 categories. Once that’s been reviewed and the answers drafted, Communities log in and register and complete the questionnaire online.
The deadline for completing the questionnaires is Midnight ET on January 31, 2015. Communities can continue to edit their saved submissions up until that time.
Who decides whether a community enters? Who is supposed to fill out the questionnaires?
A board representative and professional manager are involved in almost all cases. They often work collaboratively with other community leaders to prepare the submission, such as committee members and professional department heads who may be involved in specific initiatives. All submissions must include contact information for a board member. The registration form also includes a space to list the property manager.
Are there any limits on entering?
No. Communities may enter in any one or more of the 12 categories. A significant number of communities do submit in multiple categories each year.
How are communities notified if they win an Award?
Finalists in each Awards category will be announced in March, following the judges’ scoring of the entries. Three finalists are chosen from each size classification for a total of six finalists. All of the finalists will be profiled in a special section in the April issue of the Florida Community Association Journal.
If an entry is not chosen as a winner, can it be re-submitted the following year?
Yes. In fact, updated submissions have been chosen as winners on several occasions. Only winning communities may not re-submit. They must “sit out” for a period of two years before re-entering in the same category.
What can we do to increase the odds of winning?
Tell your community’s story in a clear and compelling way, supported with lots of facts and examples. Answer, for example, “What makes your community stand out? What is unique, innovative, and creative about your community? What can other communities learn from your experience?”
Submissions that address these questions are the ones the judges will notice. Good entries paint a picture of the community; provide details about its challenges and specifics on what is being done to address them.
Often the best entries provide a mini “case study” – a before and after story about the accomplishments of the association.
The judges read a large number of submissions, so take the time to make sure that you’re answering the questions in a clear and concise way.
When are the winners announced?
The Awards hosts an annual gala event at which all of the finalists are honored and the two winners chosen in each of the 12 categories are announced. This year’s Awards event will be held on May 15, 2015 at the Bonaventure Resort and Spa in Weston, Florida. It is a free event for community association boards, managers and residents.
Who can we contact with questions about the Awards?
Please direct inquiries to Alan Penchansky, who is based in Miami, Florida. Alan is a public relations and marketing professional whose company helped found the Awards in 2008. As executive director, he oversees all facets of the program.