Asking for money to attend a conference can be an uncomfortable situation, right? It doesn’t have to be! Don’t dismiss the opportunity to have an event completely funded because you feel as if it’s not worth the initial ask. Instead, think of yourself as a worthwhile investment providing value to your AIAS Chapter or firm. Present A’18 to your potential sponsor as something that would enhance your personal growth and expand your professional network.
Preparation is KEY when asking for funding. Make sure the potential sponsor is completely aware of your reasoning behind wanting to attend A’18, what you plan to gain, and how the money will be spent (travel, hotel, etc.).
Develop an effective “sales pitch” to help you succeed in asking for money. For example, develop a presentation that discusses the immediate and long-term benefits of attending a conference like A’18 and compile a list of the educational and networking sessions you plan to take advantage of. Give them a clear picture of your experience, this will leave them little room to question your sincerity in wanting to attend.
Here are a couple tips to be mindful as you enter the process of asking for funding:
- People give to people. Ask in person.
- Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. Do not send a proposal without doing the research.
- The more detail, the better. Leave little room for them to question your abilities and dedication.
- The best people you can ask for money are people who already have given money. Think school administration, your employer, local architecture firms, and local AIA Components.
- Convince your potential sponsor your worth by outlining the immediate takeaways. You can even give examples of positive ways your plan to impact your firm or school when you return.
- People cannot respond unless you tell them what you want. Always ask for a specific amount or item.
- People want to back a winner. Be proud of yourself, what you do, and how you do it.
- DO NOT FORGET: People want recognition. Send thank-you notes!