Connecting with LCCs
Most councils enjoy an informal sharing of ideas with other LCCs about what works and how to solve common problems. This happens at some of the regional and statewide events organized by the MCC, but LCCs can plan a gathering among themselves at any time. Many share funding support of a single program and co-sponsorship of a regional activity. They may also have firsthand information about applicants or events with which your council is unfamiliar. The LCC Listserv is a great, informal way for members to stay in touch and share ideas. This page discusses ways that LCCs can connect with one another.
LCC Community on Facebook
Join the LCC Community on Facebook for news, updates, to share ideas, and to learn what other councils are doing. You'll also get to know your staff contacts and keep up with their travels. You may even find your town or LCC featured on our Facebook page if we come out to visit you.
To join the community, go to www.facebook.com and create a profile, then search for "LCC Community" and "Like" us using the button at the top of the page.
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Through the LCC Listserv, councils are able to connect with their peers and have access to a discussion group focused on issues that relate to LCCs. Members can post their thoughts and/or questions, or just monitor what others have to say. The listserv is a useful forum for councils to share best practices and inspiring stories, give advice and ask questions.
To subscribe to the listserv, send a blank email from the address that you would like to receive mail at, to: email@example.com.
Once you have sent this blank email you will receive a confirmation of your request to subscribe. To finalize the subscription, hit "reply" and send the message. Do not alter the subject line of this email. The MCC Communities Department staff will be on call to act as a resource for members. We invite members to be an active participant in this forum.
An archive of this listserv is available online at http://archive.mail-list.com/lcc-l/. Log-in using:
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Occasionally, we highlight an LCC volunteer in the LCC e-newsletter to get a glimpse of what they do in addition to serving on their council. If you would like to be interviewed and featured, or know another volunteer who has an interesting story to tell, please email Lisa Simmons.
Read more about your fellow volunteers through the Member Spotlight.
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Hosting an informal get-together of councils in the area - perhaps those in a regional school district - is an easy way to talk about ways councils could share ideas and plan collaborations. Try an "information swap" to trade ideas. Topics might include record-keeping methods, evaluating grants, publicity or recruiting council members. Do not assume that a council has nothing to offer to another council. There may be something that one council has always done that is a new and valuable idea for someone else.
Sometimes networking leads to permanent collaboration. Some LCCs form regional councils, others jointly sponsor workshops on topics such as publicity and grant writing. Still others regularly co-sponsor or block-book events and activities with schools, libraries and cultural or community organizations.
To contact another council, visit the council's profile or contact MCC staff.
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Cities and towns can join forces in the establishment of regional councils, and are encouraged to do so. If two or more towns wish to form a regional council, there must be at least one representative appointed from each community in the consortium. Regional consortia must also be approved by the MCC.
In many cases the benefits of regionalization outweigh the drawbacks. Regional councils are especially effective in communities where the LCC is struggling to do its job, or where towns wish to collaborate occasionally on projects with regional impact. For the same investment of time to carry out the operations and administration of one council, several towns can benefit. For small communities this is especially valuable when the volunteer pool and available skills is stretched among the many needs of a small municipality.
Towns represented by a regional council benefit in several ways:
- A single municipality can participate with less than the five-member minimum required. For example, two towns can appoint three members each rather than the required five for a single council.
- Projects with regional impact can be developed and evaluated more easily. For example, a cultural enrichment project in a regional school or a festival involving several towns can be evaluated more thoroughly and efficiently by council members who represent the towns affected.
Some councils considering regionalization are hesitant for a few reasons. They are worried that their town will not receive the full dollar value of their state allocation and it will instead go to projects outside their community. Another common fear is that their concerns will be "swallowed up" or overshadowed by those of larger towns.
These fears are easily addressed by creating policies and agreements that protect individual town interests. For example, a policy can be made that all funds be spent in each municipality at the level spent prior to regionalization. Such issues should be discussed openly and resolved to everyone's satisfaction.
Creating a regional council will require the approval of each local government involved (select board, city council, mayor, etc.), as well as the MCC.
If a council is interested in regionalization, the council may invite an MCC staff contact to discuss the pros and cons of regionalization.
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