Innovative Practices Award

Our annual Innovative Practices Award (IPA) spotlights the inspirational efforts of accredited or in-process organizations that bring lasting change to lives of vulnerable individuals.

Our competitive submissions for the award open every spring. Submit to share your successful strategies and serve as a resource for direct service providers, leaders, researchers, and advocates across the full spectrum of human and social services.


Winner benefits

Winners will get national visibility in time for promotion during the year-end fundraising season. In addition, winners:

  • Are showcased on COA’s website, newsletter, and social media platforms
  • Get the opportunity to write a guest article on COA’s blog
  • Get the opportunity to host a webinar presentation
  • Receive a special IPA Winner logo for their website and marketing collateral
  • Are awarded an IPA Plaque
  • Get a special presence at COA’s next conference

Submissions timetable

Exact dates for the upcoming year’s award submission will be announced prior to the submission period, but here is when they generally fall:

Round one (open submission)
Early June through early July

Round two (for selected finalists only)
Late July through late August

Winners are announced in early October.

Application and eligibility


  1. The primary applicant must be either currently COA-accredited or undergoing COA accreditation (in process) with no major Vital Occurrences on file.
  2. Applicants must submit a complete and thorough IPA Application Form and case study according to the directions.
  3. Previously published case studies may be submitted to COA if the author has already received permission from the IPA committee for republication (email jplumbley@coanet.org). This permission must be documented on the IPA Application Form
  4. Case studies that were applicants for the IPA in previous years may only be resubmitted when the associated practices and/or outcomes have significantly changed.
  5. The applicant must agree that they have read and understand the following conflicts of interest statements:
    • Award applications do not confer, impart, or guarantee positively or negatively on any current or future accreditation decision.
    • Applications representing more than one organization need to have the consent of all applicable parties.
    • Organizational applicants that permit research with service recipients are in accordance with applicable legal requirements.
  1. COA reserves the right to provide these IPA Case Studies—after they are approved by the selection committee—either free or at a low cost to all COA organizations.
  2. COA reserves the right to consider public and maintenance of accreditation (MOA) information pertaining to any applicant for its IPA.


Applications for the Innovative Practices Award are currently closed. Check back in May or June for updates!