Hosting a reception to honor grant recipients is a great way to publicize the work of the council. An event can provide an opportunity to recognize grantees and thank the municipal officials, legislators, and members who make LCC programs possible. Use this guide to plan a grantee reception:
Reserve a place to hold the event. Public spaces such as the local library, town hall, community center, or arts center are perfect locations. If one of the grantees operates a performance space, arts center, or gallery, consider asking them to host the reception.
- Entertainment provides for both a lively reception and an opportunity to showcase local artists. Invite current or past grantees to provide entertainment for the evening.
- Providing refreshments can add a great deal to the event. LCCs may use their administrative funds to purchase food for a public event, such as a grantee reception. If a council knows that they will need to submit for reimbursement for a grant reception coming up, it is always a good idea to communicate that to the town ahead of time. The town may have additional requirements, which they should communicate with the LCC. To save your administrative funds for other purposes and to get the community involved, consider asking local vendors to donate items. Bakeries, delis, catering companies, restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores all make good prospects.
An attractive invitation can go a long way in encouraging people to come to an event. Take advantage of the talents of council members and grant recipients. Visual artists, graphic designers, print-makers, or photographers might be willing to take on the project and will create something special and unique.
Ask a local printer to donate all or part of the printing or make them on a home computer. Ask Town/City Hall if they would be willing to mail the invitations on behalf of the council. Be sure to print extra invitations to give to council members to distribute to town residents they meet at the grocery store, post office, school, yoga studio, etc.
If mailing is too expensive, send an electronic invitation. Email invitations directly to invitees or use an online invitation site such as Evite.com.
Consider inviting the following people:
- Grant recipients
- Mayor/Select Board and other town officials
- State Representatives, State Senator
- Members of the business community, especially those that have donated materials or money to the council
- Members of the arts community, past grantees, and prospective grantees
- School Superintendent/Principals, School Committee, and PTA members
- Former LCC members and potential LCC members
- The LCC’s Mass Cultural Council staff contact
- Brainstorm with council members to generate a list of others
Prepare a media release about the event and distribute to local papers, radio, or community television a few weeks in advance of the event. Consider writing an op-ed piece or a letter to the editor about the council and grantees. Talk to the editor about getting it published.
Councils can tailor their events to their needs. Some elements to incorporate into the program could include:
- Offer elected officials an opportunity to say a few words. Make this offer when inviting them, as it will encourage them to attend.
- Invite a guest speaker. Consider asking a local personality who might draw an audience, or a past grantee who can discuss how LCC funding affected his/her career or growth as an artist.
- Give a brief presentation about the LCC.
- Solicit community input.
- Ask attendees to sign up for the council’s mailing list. Make this list available to grantees when they have an event or performance coming up.
- Recruit new members. Let attendees know about the council’s work and how to become a member.
Example of Reception Program
7:00pm – Registration and Mingling
7:30pm – Welcoming Remarks from Mayor
7:35pm – Remarks from legislators in attendance 7:40pm – Presentation of Awards to Grant Recipients by Chair
8:00pm – Presentation of Lifetime Achievement Award to Member by Senator
8:15pm – Performance
8:30pm – Reception
Use this timeline to stay on track while planning a grantee reception.
8 – 10 weeks before
- Organize planning committee.
- Secure date and venues.
- Contact grant recipients with details and encourage them to bring a display of their work.
- Begin soliciting in-kind donations, e.g. food, printing, etc.
6 – 8 weeks before
- Invite elected officials.
- Order or design invitations.
- Contact entertainers.
- Invite keynote speaker.
4 – 6 weeks before
- Send invitations.
- Follow up with elected officials.
- Send media release to local papers and radio stations.
- Post flyers/sandwich boards/posters around town.
2 – 4 weeks before
- Follow up with press to remind them of the event.
- Create and print event program.
- Assign jobs for the day of event.
- Coordinate displays/materials with grant recipients.
1 week before
- Coordinate set up.
- Confirm your grant recipients, speakers, and elected officials.
- Prepare talking points for the council chair or emcee and be sure to recognize important people who have made the event possible.
- Prepare all the materials needed for the event including:
- a sign-up sheet for council mailings
- a sign-up sheet for potential members
- name tags
- community input survey
Remember to thank everyone involved, relax, and enjoy!