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Sometimes you need a little help with the ask

A few months ago, as we began our planning, I blogged about the cost of the 2020 IFVP Conference in Berkeley. Since then I’ve been thinking about our members who may have employers or clients who could help send them to the Conference. I jotted down some talking points one could use to help justify asking for financial assistance:

  • We are using this skill in our company/agency/team and are encouraged to grow – there’s so much to learn
  • I will come back and share what I’ve learned with my colleagues and teams practicing graphic recording or facilitating meetings
  • Compare the cost of conference and value for the money spent. I will:
    • Get practice and build skills
    • Learn tips and techniques
    • Be exposed to new technology and collaboration tools
    • Network with experts and seasoned practitioners who are standard bearers in the field
    • Create partnerships and connections
    • Gain a global perspective of what others are doing in the industry
  • Until we finalize this year’s program, consider using last year’s agenda as an example of the presentations and workshops.
    The 2020 Conference will have skill building and best practices similar to what was covered last year. There will also be time for me to network and share learnings more specific to my interests.

Here’s a sample letter that can be tailored to your particular situation:

I am requesting funding to attend the 2020 International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP) 25th Anniversary Conference,, Sunday through Wednesday August 2-5, 2020, in Berkeley California. Attending the conference will afford me a unique opportunity to (further) develop and enhance my graphic recording and/or meeting facilitation skills. This will be a great opportunity to network with and learn from the pros. Building my skills will help make our meetings even better and my contribution to our company/agency/team even more tangible and valuable.

The 25th Anniversary Conference ticket price is $1875 USD, until March 16th when it will increase to $2020 USD. The ticket covers the workshops, plenary sessions, meals and breaks, the Opening Reception Sunday evening, and the August 4th Gala Celebration. Hotel accommodations are not included but the Claremont Club and Spa is offering a reduced $259 per night rate and is waiving the daily resort fee.

The 25th Anniversary Conference will explore the history of the field with the goal of designing the future of this practice – what tools will we use, how will artificial intelligence affect this work, etc. Speakers like Christopher Fuller, founder of Griot's Eye, a facilitation company with a mission to use the power of graphics and rapid visualization to help organizations around the world tell their stories will inspire my practice and me. As will the many other thought leaders and pioneers in the field of visual practice. The Conference will also match mentors to attendees to continue development throughout the year.

Visual practice is like learning a language that we must continually work on in order to communicate effectively. I want to get better at this so we can continue to tell our stories for those we serve. With each chart I make or conversation I facilitate I learn something new, and I hope to learn even more from those who are experts. I have used these skills in meetings I participate in and want to continue to develop this new language to add value to our company!

You can use the talking points or any parts of the letter to make a case for:

  1. The general 25th Anniversary Conference ticket price OR  the following, which are NOT included in the general ticket price   
  2. A Pre-conference workshop training ticket or
  3. Travel assistance and/or
  4. Lodging stipend

And here is a bit of advice from a conference registrant who received sponsorship from her company this year:
“I would suggest in your letter to draw it out – use visuals!”

I’m looking forward to seeing you in Berkeley, California! Let me know if IFVP can supply a letter of recommendation to help make your case for attending.

Leah Silverman,
Treasurer, IFVP Board of Directors

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