Criteria for The SHIFT Awards

To determine nominees for The SHIFT Awards, SHIFT researchers identify individuals, organizations or initiatives from around the country that leverage outdoor rec for conservation gains in seven categories: Non-Profit Leadership, Business Leadership, Public Land-Management Innovation, Technology, and Youth Engagement, Adventure Athlete and Youth Leadership.

SHIFT’s team of evaluators then rank each initiative, organization or individual according to the following criteria.


  • Does it leverage outdoor recreation for conservation gains? (Weight=2)
  • Does it help meet the environmental challenges and goals of the community in which it occurs? (Weight=2)
  • Does it help meet the social challenges and goals of the community? (Weight=1)
  • Does it enhance the economic health of the community? (Weight=1)
  • Has it achieved measurable success in the challenges it seeks to address? (Weight=2)


  • Does it provide innovative solutions or approaches to addressing its challenges? (Weight=2)


  • How well can this work be applied elsewhere? (Weight=2)

Rating Scale:

  • 1 = Not at all
  • 2 = Slightly
  • 3 = Moderately
  • 4 = Very Much
  • 5 = Completely

Total = Sum (Ratings x Weight)

The top 25% of the initiatives as evaluated by SHIFT researchers are then invited to participate in SHIFT, which showcases on-the-ground work that is successfully meeting challenges at the nexus of outdoor recreation and conservation in communities around the country.

The top 10% of the initiatives in each category (or the three highest-ranking initiatives, whichever is higher) comprise the finalists for The SHIFT Awards.

Rocket Fuel