- Recruit social workers to help you choose children for the project. Not all children are comfortable participating in the Heart Gallery.
- Recognize team members’ best skills. If one member is good at networking and another at editing, assign tasks accordingly.
- Reach out for help from within the local community.
- Recommend that foster parents and social workers will help prepare children for, and support them during, the project.
- Request the input of others; it makes them feel more involved and invested, and may help you do your job better. Ask others for contacts and referrals.
- Rally those involved! Keep everyone informed on the progress and outcome of the event.
- Locate your exhibit venue by promoting the public relations benefits of the exhibit (the venue is named in ads and media coverage). The venue does not have to be a gallery. All you need is ample and attractive space, easy access, and plenty of parking.
- Lead your request with your most professional or captivating portraits. They inspire people to donate and can be scanned for use in press releases, print ads, and other materials.
- Link with prospective donors via a faxed request, phone call, or personal visit and be specific about what you’re requesting.
- Laud sponsors in writing and at the event.
- Take time to locate a media guide that lists your state’s press contacts.
- Tailor your request to each media source. A good “hook” is an interview with someone who has/was adopted, or is otherwise sympathetic to child welfare issues. Establish contact early so you have time to build interest.
- Target several children who can serve as “spokeskids.” They should be able to interact with reporters and photojournalists and speak briefly at the event.
- Think national and local. One can often lead to the other.
- Tell radio stations and television stations about the event. Some
may give you free time to talk, especially if you purchase some
advertising spots and show producers the portraits’ artistic and human
- Go through proper channels. Call the Screen Actors Guild at 323-954-1600 for contact information (agents, managers, etc.). Celebrities who live in the area near the event are most likely to attend.
- Gather celebrities who have a reputation for being involved with nonprofit organizations or who have a connection with children’s issues, especially adoption or foster care.
- Generate a request letter to tell the contact about your organization, the purpose of the event, and exactly what will be asked of the celebrity. Fax the letter to the celebrity contact.
- Grant the celebrity permission to speak or perform. Plan for adequate space and refreshments to accommodate your expected audience. Although including a celebrity involves more work, it can increase your event’s visibility in the eyes of the public and the press.
Sample print material (Acrobat PDF format)
- Action Plan from Minnesota Heart Gallery
- Newspaper insert
- Press release
- Photo release
- Photographer’s agreement from Arizona Heart Gallery
- Photographer’s agreement/protocol from Minnesota Heart Gallery
- Program (999KB)
- Print ad
- Marketing leave-behind for potential sponsors from Orange County Heart Gallery
- Marketing how-to-help for potential sponsors from Orange County Heart Gallery
If you have further questions about starting a Heart Gallery please see contacts listed from other states.