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Awards: Sample Judging Guidelines

June 18, 2008


The following are some sample judging guidelines which chapters can use and/or incorporate into their own procedures and policies.  AFP strongly encourages chapters to have judging guidelines and make sure everyone involved in the judging process (including nominators and NPD committee members) understands the process.  Disclosure and transparency are keys to ensuring a smooth judging experience.

Thanks to Lisa Intagliata, CFRE, of the AFP Florida, Southwest Chapter for submitting these sample guidelines.


  • Judges are selected by the NPD committee members. It is advised to poll the AFP Board of Directors for their input and suggestions before opening it up for brainstorming at your NPD committee meeting.
  • Assign one person on your NPD committee to be the “judge liaison”. The judge liaison is responsible for following up with the candidates who the committee feels should be asked to become an NPD judge as well as finalizing the panel of judges. They should clearly explain the duties and responsibilities of an NPD judge, time commitment involved and the overall judging process. It is strongly recommended that when choosing who your “judge liaison” will be that you choose someone who will NOT be nominating anyone for an NPD award.
  • The judge liaison must go over the criteria for each award and make sure each judge has a clear understanding of what each nomination should contain as well as an understanding for how the “point system” on the application works.
  • Select an odd number of judges and have back-ups trained and in place to be ready to fill in for judges who are not able to complete their duties.
  • Secure all judges by May/June (for an NPD event occurring in November).
  • Select judges who know the community well and are well known in the community (not necessarily past NPD winners). Try to select a cross-section of judges who represent diversity in culture, geographic location, background etc.
  • A date for the judges meeting will be set once all judges are consulted. Judges will then be given a date, time and location to meet. It is best if one of the judges offers to host the meeting at their site rather than at the place of business of the judge liaison. This policy will help in keeping the place “neutral territory” for all involved.
  • No AFP member should sit in on the judges meeting. Instructions should be given out to the judges by the “judge liaison” via mail at least 4 weeks in advance of the judges meeting and followed up by a phone call or e-mail one week prior. The judge liaison is not permitted to sit in on the judges meeting.
  • If a judge is not able to make the judging session, an alternate is to be called in there place. No judge is allowed to send a “proxy” in their place. No judge may call in his or her vote either since the judging process brings to light much discussion and the group needs to make their final decisions as a whole.
  • No judges are allowed to submit or be any party to a current NPD nomination/application.
  • AFP members are not allowed to “lobby” the judges in order to benefit their application/nomination or someone else’s. If the judges have a question about information contained in a nomination, they are to call the nominator directly.


  • Give nomination forms to the judges via a complete packet at least 3-4 weeks before they met to do the judging. This allows them ample time to read through the applications and supplemental materials and draft a list of questions (if any) as well as come to the judges meeting prepared with who they feel their top choices are before the group discussion takes place.
  • If the content of a nomination is called into question by a judge, it must be taken before the judges’ panel and discussed. It is suggested that the nominator be called and asked to clarify any questions a judge or judges have pertaining to the validity of facts or figures represented in the nomination.
  • Judges may only select only one winner per category. No ties are allowed in a category. A decision must be made, even it is the decision not to give an award in a particular category due to lack of nominations or applications not meeting the correct criteria.
  • In the event that the judges (as a group) feel a nomination should have been submitted under another category (for a different award), it is up to the judges to call the nominator and get permission to change the award category in which that candidate was nominated originally.


  • Adhere special “Judges” ribbons to judges’ nametags and perhaps invite judges from previous NPD events to attend your event and honor them with a VIP ribbon on their nametag as well.
  • Reserve a special “Judges” table at the NPD Event.
  • Read each judges name from the podium during the program the day of your event and ask them to stand as a group and be acknowledged.
  • Include the list of judges in your event program booklet and/or in the ad(s) for your NPD event in the newspapers. Include a brief biography and photo of each judge.

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