Awards Toolkit

Video Library

Webinar: What Sets Winners Apart

Presentation Guidelines

Rules and Requirements

  1. Without exception, all applications must be submitted online or received at the SCAC office by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 19, 2020. If mailing your application, please send it to: SCAC, PO Box 8207, Columbia, SC 29202-8207. If using an express carrier, send it to SCAC, 1919 Thurmond Mall, Columbia, SC 29201. Only the written submission is due by this date.  Any PowerPoint presentation and/or video file that will be used during the Awards Competition will be due a week prior to the competition.

  2. Each county may submit one entry for the J. Mitchell Graham Award. The project entry must be submitted by the county and include a letter of support from the county council chairman or the county chief administrative officer.

  3. Counties may submit multiple entries for the Barrett Lawrimore Award. If a county worked on a regional basis with another political subdivision (counties; county partnerships formed with a city, town, district, or councils of government), its project should be submitted as an entry for the Barrett Lawrimore Memorial Regional Award. When appropriate, judges reserve the right to change the award category of any application.

  4. Each entry may address either a single project or two related projects. A project is considered to be a group of associated activities. An example of two related projects would be:
    1. the construction of a parkway to reduce traffic congestion—including a comprehensive plan to mitigate its impact upon wetlands and cultural resources; and
    2. an educational program to teach children about the area’s culture and history that contains material and information from a study about the impact of the parkway.

  5. Projects must be put into action or completed during the 2019-20 Fiscal Year; however, they may be initiated prior to this time period.

  6. Barrett Lawrimore Award applications must include letters of support from the chief administrative officers of each participating political subdivision.

  7. Each application should include a concise Project Description to explain the purpose and significance of the entry, and counties may provide additional materials to support their application. Please review the instructions for completing the Project Description and support materials carefully to be sure your application addresses the judging criteria and is formatted correctly. Judges may deduct points for entries that do not adhere to the rules and requirements.

  8. Applicants who meet the deadline and all requirements will be scheduled to present their projects during the awards competition. A representative from the county submitting the entry must be physically present during the competition and participate in the presentation.

  9. The J. Mitchell Graham/Barrett Lawrimore Awards Competition will take place on Sunday, August 2, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Hilton Head Marriott Hotel. The competition is the first event of SCAC’s 53rd Annual Conference, and all conference participants are encouraged to attend. Each entrant will provide a 10-minute presentation, followed by a brief period for judges’ questions. Judges may deduct points for presentations that do not adhere to the 10-minute presentation time.

  10. Nothing may be given to the judges during the competition. The judges will only consider the Project Description and support materials received by the deadline and the presentation.

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Instructions for Project Description

The Project Description may include up to eight pages and should address all of the questions below. Applicants may choose to organize their Project Description by following the sample outline or incorporate these points throughout their narrative.

In addition to the application form and Project Description, applicants may submit up to five pages of additional material—such as newspaper clippings, brochures, photos, tables, graphs, or other items—to support their entry. Letters of support and the cover page do not count toward the 13-page limit.

These requirements apply whether your entry addresses one or two projects—thus, the total number of pages should not exceed 13.

If you plan to submit your application online, you will have the option of uploading your Project Description and support materials. Please use the following naming convention for your PDF or Word file: projectname.JMG2020 or projectname.BL2020. Your PDF or Microsoft Word documents should be formatted for 8 ½” x 11” paper with 1” margins.  All pages, except the cover page, should be numbered.

You must use the most recent version of Adobe Reader or Acrobat to apply using the fill-able PDF. (Available free for download here.) The application must be completed in one session; you will not be able to save and reopen it.

If you plan to send a paper submission, four copies of both the Project Description and support materials should be provided on white, 8 ½” x 11” paper, printed on one side and 3-hole punched. All pages, except the cover page, should be numbered. Do not use binders, tabs, or staples.

Sample Outline

Benefit/Importance of Project

  1. Why was this project undertaken?
  2. What is the significance of this project to your community as a whole? How does it relate in importance to the other problems in your community?
  3. How much of the county’s population is benefited by the project? In what specific ways are different groups of citizens within the county better off than before?
  4. What degree of success did the project attain? What major objectives were achieved? Provide data where possible.

Project Effort/Difficulty

  1. What did your county have to do to accomplish its objectives? If your county worked with another local government or consultant, how was the work divided?
  2. What challenges occurred during the project? Were there any community concerns?
  3. What were the nature and extent of the county government’s efforts to alleviate the problem(s)? How difficult was it to accomplish the project’s goals and/or objectives?
  4. Was financing the project an obstacle? Were there any unusual factors inherent in financing the project?
  5. Did any agencies, citizen groups, or other organizations assist your county with this project? Did their participation pose any particular challenges or offer any unique contributions or benefits?
  6. Are there any unresolved problems or other goals left to tackle?

Project Originality/Innovation

  1. Justify the uniqueness of this project. What makes it different from other projects designed to achieve the same objective?
  2. Do you know of any other similar programs in South Carolina? If so, how is your program different?
  3. What innovations were required in accomplishing your objectives?
  4. Who provided the creativity and imagination in your project?

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Sample Judges' Scale

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Who should be listed as the staff contact for the application?

The staff contact should be the primary point of contact for your application. All correspondence and communication about the awards program will be directed to this staff member—including an email to confirm the receipt of your application and the scheduled time for your county’s presentation.

May I submit the application form online and send the attachments to SCAC via U.S. Postal Service or an express carrier?

Yes. Please send four copies of the attachments—provided on white, 8 ½" x 11" paper, printed on one side and 3-hole punched. Do not use binders, tabs, or staples. Mail should be sent to: SCAC, PO Box 8207, Columbia, SC 29202-8207. If using an express carrier, send to: SCAC, 1919 Thurmond Mall, Columbia, SC 29201.

How will the entries be judged?

A panel of three judges will be appointed by SCAC to select the winning entries. The judges will review all applications and presentations before independently scoring each entry. Your Project Description should carefully follow the instructions and Sample Outline available in the Awards Toolkit. By doing so, your project will address the criteria that the judges will consider to evaluate your entry. Additionally, please review the sample judges’ scale included in the Awards Toolkit. Each county’s entry will be scored by the judges using this scale. SCAC’s Board of Directors and staff do not participate in the selection process.

Can I make changes to my application form, Project Description, or support materials after they have been submitted online or delivered to SCAC?

The project title, summary, Project Description, and support materials may not be amended after they are submitted. If it becomes necessary to update the staff contact or speaker information, please contact Anna Berger via e-mail at or by calling 1-800-922-6081.

Who should present our project?

Presentations may include more than one speaker; however, each speaker should be aware that the 10-minute time limit is strictly enforced. Presenters may be elected officials, county staff members, partners, or county residents.

Are PowerPoint presentations required?

PowerPoint presentations are not required. Counties are encouraged to make their presentations interesting and creative, and may provide their presentations in any format that they choose to use.

What will happen if our presentation exceeds the 10-minute time limit?

The judges may deduct points for exceeding the time limit; however, SCAC offers a timekeeper to assist all speakers during the competition. The timekeeper provides large signs to notify speakers when they have 5 minutes, 1 minute, and 30 seconds of time remaining. If the presentation hasn’t been completed, the timekeeper will announce the end of the 10-minute period. After each presentation, the judges have a brief period to ask questions about the project and this period is not timed.

What type of audiovisual equipment will be available for our use during the awards competition?

SCAC will provide a laptop computer, an LCD projector, a screen, a remote slide advancer, and an audiovisual specialist for the competition. The computer may be used to provide a PowerPoint presentation and/or play a DVD. SCAC cannot support Prezi. If you have additional audiovisual needs, you must contact Nilda Padgett of SCAC’s staff via e-mail at or by calling 1-800-922-6081 no later than Friday, July 19. Instructions for preloading PowerPoint presentations or providing DVDs will be included in the email communication.

May we display pop-up signs, poster-size charts, or large photos to support our presentation?

Display items are permitted, as long as they can be set-up and removed quickly and they do not obstruct the view of the judges or audience.

May we invite county staff members to attend the awards competition?

Counties may invite their staff members to attend the awards competition; however, please be aware that staff may not attend any other conference events if they are not registered delegates of the Annual Conference. Please be aware that parking space at the Hilton Head Marriott Hotel is limited. If you would like additional information, please contact Nilda Padgett via e-mail at or by calling 1-800-922-6081.