How to Execute a Successful Legislative Reception

What is a legislative reception?

Legislative receptions are events that bring together medical group practice executives and state lawmakers in a relaxed and social environment to discuss health policy issues and help cultivate long-term relationships.

What are some ways state MGMAs can promote state legislator attendance?

  • Gather contact information from the state legislature website and send a “save the date” email a few months ahead of the event. Then follow up with an invitation that includes more event details.
  • Try to build a rapport with lawmakers’ offices prior to the event through phone calls, emails, or in-person meetings.
  • Personalize your invitations with the names of specific legislators, particularly for those with whom you’ve cultivated a personal relationship.
  • Keep track of RSVPs in a master spreadsheet and, about a week prior to the event, consider sending a second invitation to offices that have not yet replied.
  • Either on the morning of the event or one day prior, place a reception flyer on the chair of each lawmaker as a friendly reminder.
  • If your state legislature maintains an events or social calendar, submit the legislative reception information to be included.
  • Following the reception, send a personal thank you note to the lawmaker and staff for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend. Offer yourself as a resource on any of the issues or bills that were discussed.

How can state MGMAs encourage members to attend?

  • Advertise the legislative reception in member communications and make an announcement during in-person events.
  • Try to keep the cost of attendance for members low.
  • Promote the benefits of developing a relationship with lawmakers, including advocating on behalf of their practice and medical groups more broadly.
  • Try to dovetail the reception with a nearby and related state MGMA event, such as a legislative conference or briefing.

What are some ideas for facilitating discussion among attendees?

  • Provide all practice administrators, lawmakers and staff with name badges.
  • As lawmakers arrive, pause to introduce them to the attendees.
  • In lieu of a designated speaker, consider providing interested lawmakers with “open mic” time to discuss their priorities and bills they’re currently drafting.

What are a few of the key event-planning details to keep in mind?

  • Date – Aim to choose a date during the first or second week of the legislative session, when members of the state legislature are initially working on bills.
  • Time – The best time for a reception is immediately preceding or following the business day, around 7 am or 4 pm.
  • Location – Ideally, you want to host the reception at a facility that is within walking distance of the state Capitol to eliminate travel hurdles for lawmakers and their staff. Be sure to make a reservation at your top venue as early as practicable.
  • Menu – Consider serving drinks and appetizers, as opposed to a sit-down breakfast or dinner, to encourage mingling and conversation.
  • Sponsors – Sponsorships are a great way to defray some of the costs of the event.
  • Partnerships – Consider partnering with a closely-aligned organization to generate higher attendance and to split the costs.

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