NAGDCA – Art Caple President’s Award

The NAGDCA – Art Caple President’s Award was founded in 2019 to commemorate the lifework of past NAGDCA president, Art Caple. Mr. Caple was a visionary and voice for those who serve others through employer-sponsored retirement plans and championed retirement programs that continue today to build financial security for state and local government employees throughout their retirement.

The President’s Award is presented annually at the NAGDCA Annual Conference* to a public sector retirement plan that has championed the participant-first mentality that Mr. Caple demonstrated in his work building financial security for public employees.

2022 Award Winner

Virginia Retirement System and MissionSquare Retirement Awarded for 2021 Participant Engagement Campaign

The 2022 NAGDCA-Art Caple President’s Award was presented to the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) and its industry partner MissionSquare Retirement during the Annual Conference on September 21.  Specifically, the award acknowledges the plan for its 2021 participant engagement campaign “SmartStep Auto-Increase Awareness.” The plan’s campaign also received NAGDCA Leadership Awards in both the Participant Education & Communication and COVID-19 Response categories.

To help accomplish VRS’ goals, MissionSquare developed an engaging, action-oriented superhero (Captain Save-It) to inspire participants to take initiative and use the SmartStep auto-increase feature. SmartStep allows participants to be a savings superhero by arranging for yearly automatic increases in their contribution amounts. The multichannel campaign drove traffic to the Contributions webpage that included details about the SmartStep feature, and resulted in a 30% increase in page views over the same period in 2020.

Click here to learn more about the award-winning campaign.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, VRS has reinforced messaging to participants encouraging continued saving for retirement. We also want to meet  participants where they are. We made it easier for participants to schedule virtual meetings with plan representatives to talk about planning and provided resources to reassure them in time of market volatility. This campaign was designed to be fun and engaging while increasing awareness about plan features that make it easier to save over the long term.

Kelly Hiers, Defined Contribution Plan Administrator, Virginia Retirement System (VRS)