How to Plan a Recognition Event

The following information provides a “how-to” guide to successfully plan and host your OTF recognition event.


Due to COVID-19, recognition events (virtual or in-person) may not be required. Your OTF Communications Advisor will advise on the best opportunity for your organization. If you choose to do an in-person event, additional public health requirements will be requested by OTF.

Pick your date, time and event format

Recognition events can be a stand-alone event or integrated into a pre-existing event. They can be virtual or in-person.

Your local Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) will need to be invited, so selecting a date and time when MPPs are not in session is important. Friday events are recommended for MPP availability. For the most up to date calendar for MPPs, check the Legislative Calendar.

Once you have an idea and tentative date, contact your OTF Communications Advisor at least 3 weeks in advance to confirm all the details and ensure requirements are met. Providing less than three weeks’ notice may result in a date change or requirements not being met. 

Invite your guests

After you have talked with your OTF Communications Advisor and confirmed the event date and format, it’s time to invite your guests! 

Who needs to be invited? 

  • Local MPP: To provide brief remarks and officially acknowledge your grant on behalf of the government of Ontario. (Your OTF Communications Advisor can advise you on how to invite them).
  • OTF representative: To provide brief remarks and acknowledge your grant on behalf of OTF. (Your OTF Communications advisor will select and invite the representative for you).
  • Local media, if appropriate (via media advisory).

All other event invitations are at your discretion.

Event agenda

A clear and well-organized agenda is key to hosting a smooth event. It should include the event details, contact information, and list of speakers. Generally, speakers should be allocated 2-3 minutes to speak.

Follow our event agenda template and send a draft to your OTF Communications Advisor who will help finalize the details during the planning process.

Changes to your agenda

Please send the final agenda to your OTF Communications Advisor and your speakers two to three days before your event. If there are any changes, please share the updates.

Planning for the Media

Preparing the following documents is required for all recognition events and will help you get the best uptake with your local media.

Local Media Contact List

Prepare a list of media outlets in your community (print, online, radio, television). If there are reporters who have written stories about your organization in the past, be sure to include them. Create an email list that you can use to send your media advisory and release to. You can find each media outlet’s contacts on their respective websites. 

Media Advisory

The media advisory alerts the media about your event and gets them interested. It should be emailed to the media outlets on your list one week ahead of your event

Download our sample media advisory to learn more.

Media Release

This is your opportunity to tell your story. Its purpose is to gain the interest of the media and provide them with the angle of how to position your story. Although it is prepared and finalized before the event, it should only be sent to your local media contact list after the event. To further promote the event, you can post your media release on your website and social channels (be sure to tag @ONTrillium on social). 

Use our sample media release to ensure you follow the appropriate format. 

Once drafted, send it to your OTF Communications Advisor who will review the content and obtain a quote from your MPP and return it to you prior to the event.


You will want to take photos of the event, which includes the speakers, guests, and activities. During or after the event, you can post your photos on social media, your website, newsletters, or other communication materials. You should also send a photo with your media release, identifying the people in the photo from left to right.

For virtual events, take a screenshot of the call. For best results, ask those on screen to look at their cameras and smile (as they would if it were in person).

Before posting images from your OTF recognition event that include youth under the age of 18, be sure you have a signed consent form from their parent or legal guardian. If you do not, OTF has provided a sample photo release form for you to use:

After your event is over, OTF would love to hear about how it went. Follow up with your OTF Communications Advisor to let them know how it went. If you have photos from the event that you can share, please send those along too. 

Save links to any news coverage you received and include these in your final report.