If you’ve been following our blog lately, you’re already familiar with the questions you should ask yourself to find out if VM Summit 16 is right for you. You also know the top four reasons to attend VM Summit 16.
And since you realize that VM Summit 16 is the place to collaborate with other volunteer managers who engage corporate volunteers (as well as with corporate volunteer program managers), you know you’ll leave having learned a thing or two, like how to create the most impactful partnerships possible.
Knowing all of this, perhaps you still lack internal support from your nonprofit to get you to VM Summit 16. That’s why we’re sharing 5 strategies to convince your boss, or the person who makes conference decisions at your nonprofit, to send you to VM Summit 16.
1. Explain how it’ll benefit your nonprofit as a whole.
Yes, developing your own professional network and skills is important. But if you can show how that translates to helping your nonprofit as a whole, you’re more likely to get support behind you.
Here are some examples you can use to illustrate how VM Summit 16 could help your nonprofit’s mission (tailor them based on what’s important to your organization!).
- “By hearing from other volunteer managers that face similar issues, I will return to our organization with fresh perspectives on problem-solving.”
- “Through VM Summit 16’s networking sessions, I will establish lasting connections. This will allow me to continue collaborating and uncovering resources to grow our volunteer program in the coming year(s).”
- “By hearing directly from corporate volunteer managers, I will be better equipped to address the needs of our current and future corporate partnerships.”
2. Back it up with content.
Email your boss the blog posts I mention in the beginning of this post. These resources will help her/him understand what’s so unique about VM Summit 16.
It’s also always helpful to have a second opinion. You can share direct quotes from people who have attended the conference in the past, and what they got out of it. Here are a few:
“This was an opportunity to learn more about what’s going on in the field and to make connections with others who are trying to mobilize volunteers.” —Deanna Berg
“This is my second year at the Summit and I decided to come back because I made great connections last year. It’s wonderful to have an opportunity to meet other people that are experiencing some of the same challenges and barriers and opportunities, and [to be able to] bounce ideas off one another.” —Leslie Clements
“It’s always a nice refresher for me to remember why I’m doing what I do, why I love what I do, hear from other people, and connect with other folks. And the connections that I’ve made here, I’m excited to follow up on.” —Alicia Koch
“It’s been a great day. I really love this conference because it is small enough that I can do a lot of really good networking with others in the field, but it’s big enough that I get a lot of great ideas at the same time, so I’ll definitely be back in the years to come.” —Deanna Berg
3. Show that you’re prepared and passionate
Who’s going to cover your work while you’re away? Where will budget, travel, and registration costs come from? By preparing for these potential questions and coming up with a plan ahead of time, you’ll show your boss that you’ve done your homework and thought this through.
Also, remember that enthusiasm is contagious. If you go into the conversation with vigor and excitement, there’s a good chance that energy will spread through to your decision maker.
4. Be conscious of your language
This one’s easy to overlook, but the way you word your argument can make a big difference. If you frame things in a positive light, people are more likely to respond in turn positively.
Here’s one example:
Saying “At only $250 plus travel costs, this conference is far less expensive than many other conferences out there,” sounds a lot better than saying “This conference will set us back $250 plus travel costs.”
5. Make a clear ask
This may seem obvious, but clearly asking for what you want can go a long way. Have you brought up the conference, but not explicitly stated that you would like to go? That’s not good. Be direct and don’t be scared. The worst you’ll hear is “no”.
Did our strategies work? Did you get the okay? Awesome! Get your VM Summit 16 ticket today.