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Judging Information

Be a Judge

Volunteering to judge the Northern Lights Contest is a wonderful opportunity for you and your colleagues to see what other organizations are doing and how they are doing it. Judging may inspire you, and it may validate the work you’ve been doing.

The time commitment depends on the number of entries in the category you will be judging. Last year most categories received between 3 and 10 entries. A few received more. We've adjusted the categories this year in an effort to avoid having too many entries in any given category.

Before you sign on to be a judge, remember the highlight of this contest is the valuable feedback the judges provide sharing opinions on what the entrant did right and what could be improved.

Sign Up Today

NOTICE: We have closed the judge sign-up form and assigned judges for the 2017 contest. Thanks to all who have volunteered!

This form helps us keep track of who has volunteered, assign categories and provide judges with information about the entries being judged. We ask that all judges provide the information requested on the form. 

How the Contest is Judged

Judges give each entry a score from 0 to 100. An entry's average score determines whether it will receive a Northern Lights Award (first place), Silver Award (second place), or Bronze Award (third place). Awards of Excellence are granted to high-scoring entries that don't receive one of the ranked awards. See the Contest Rules for further information about how entries are ranked, including how tie scores are handled.

Judges may take into account the challenges of producing the entry, including the amount of time available between idea and product, budget constraints, and available staff time to carry out the project.

Judges are instructed in the importance of providing detailed feedback about entries indicating areas of excellence and areas of suggested improvements. The quality of our judges' feedback has historically been a strong incentive for entering the contest.

Judges’ decisions are final.

Contest Judges

Our all-volunteer judges are professionals with at least three years of experience in a field related to the category they are judging. There are at least two judges for each entry.

Judges may include communicators from both the public and private sectors along with those outside of the immediate region. If you know someone who you feel would make a good judge please send them a link to this web page so they can learn more and sign up!

Instructions for Judges

Detailed instructions for judges are available on the Judging Instructions page.