How to ask your organization to sponsor you for the AzCHOW Conference

The 2018 AzCHOW Conference is fast approaching, and we want as many CHWs represented as possible! We have a limited number of CHW scholarships available, but the best way to ensure that you can attend the conference is to ask your organization for support. It can be intimidating to ask your supervisor or manager for financial support to attend the conference, so we put together some tips that can help you have this conversation with your bosses.

First, it’s important to realize that all supervisors should value professional development for their employees. The AzCHOW conference is a time to expand your network, build capacity and receive high-quality training that will help you to do your job better. So, don’t be afraid to ask for sponsorship! Even if your organization is not able to sponsor you this year, they can prepare for future years if you show interest and are proactive.

Here are some tips to help you prepare to ask your supervisor to sponsor your conference travel and registration!

1.Do some background research

Before you talk to your supervisor, do some research about the conference. Gather as much information as possible about the conference agenda, location, speakers, purpose, theme and attendees. For the AzCHOW Conference, I recommend that you look at the following resources:

  1. Check out the 2018 AzCHOW Conference Registration Packet for information about the cost, location and theme of the conference.
  2. Visit the 2018 AzCHOW Conference web page for information about the speakers and agenda. If the information is not available, look at the agenda for previous years. Take note of speakers or themes that seem interesting to you!
  3. Write down a few reasons why you want to attend the AzCHOW conference. Try to be as specific as possible. For example, you might write that you want to “learn more about CHW workforce issues in Arizona” or “I want to learn about ways that I can be a better diabetes educator.” Think about ways that you can connect the conference to the work that you do at your organization.
2. Prepare to speak with your supervisor

Preparation is key! Your supervisor is more likely to sponsor you now or in the future if you show him/her that you are prepared, organized and understand why the conference will be useful for you. Here are some things that you can do:

Know how much you want to ask for.

Prepare a budget outlining everything that you are asking for. Keep in mind that the conference may require travel and at least one night in a hotel. The conference begins at 1:00 pm on Thursday and ends at 3:00 on Friday, so you may be able to travel to attend the conference on the same day. Estimate how much it will cost you to travel to the conference, stay in the hotel and pay for the registration. You can find much of this information in the conference packet or website. You can see a sample budget here. 

Write a letter with your request

Write a formal letter to your supervisor asking for sponsorship to the conference. Your letter should include your reasons for attending the conference, how much you are asking for, what you expect to learn from the conference, and why the conference will help you to be a better CHW. You can see a sample letter here and copy the text into another document to edit it.

Practice makes perfect!

If you have never asked for something like this before, you might be nervous. That is totally normal! Try to practice your speech before you meet with your supervisor. Think about what you can say that will have the most impact. If you have a plan and have practiced your speech, you will feel more prepared and confident. Here’s some examples of what you might say:

“I would like to talk to you about attending the 2018 AzCHOW conference. The AzCHOW conference is the most important event for the Community Health Worker Workforce in Arizona. It provides capacity-building and training for Community Health Workers, and I will be able to attend interesting presentations and learn from other CHWs and CHW programs throughout the state. I estimate that it will cost around $248 dollars for me to attend the conference, including travel, registration and a hotel for one night. I’ve written a letter with more information about the budget and why attending the conference will be helpful for me and for this organization.”

3. Have a Plan B

It’s possible that your organizations will not be able to sponsor you for the conference. If that is the case, don’t worry! You didn’t do all of this hard work for nothing! You can still use the opportunity to ask for support in another way. Here are a few ideas:

  • Ask your supervisor if he/she can plan to sponsor you for next year’s 2019 AzCHOW conference. With so much time, the supervisor may be able to fit the conference into the budget for next year.
  • Inform your supervisor that you will be applying for a scholarship to attend the conference. The scholarship will provide the registration fee and is competitive, so you are not guaranteed a scholarship. You can ask for your supervisor’s support by providing paid time to attend the conference if you receive a scholarship, and maybe the supervisor can sponsor your hotel room or travel. After all, you are working to develop your skills as a CHW!

With some planning and preparation, you can encourage your organization to sponsor your AzCHOW conference attendance. We hope to see you in Tucson on June 21-22!

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