Oh Mickey, you’re so expensive, you’re so expensive, you blow my budget, hey Mickey! Hey disney-world-castle-at-night-pux5p83ee.jpgMickey!

Have you been chanting something along these lines while thinking about whether or not you’re going to be able to come to conference this year? I know, I know. The decision usually rides on the money, doesn’t it? It did for me, too.

The next thought for me was, “I ask my donors for money all the time. I can’t ask them again for this.” Well, I want to share with you a tactic I implemented that was low risk for me, low risk for my donors, and everyone benefited from it.

  1. The first thing I did was take the conference prices and divide them out into smaller portions. For example, I took the main conference registration price and divided it up by day. Since main conference is Wednesday – Friday, I took $499 and divided it by 3. The reason for taking $499 instead of $469 was to give them until August to give, and to give me longer to register. I took my flight cost and divided it by 2, and I also took my room cost ($159) and divided it by the number of nights I planned to stay.
  2. The second thing I did was write a donor letter or eblast, including the reasons why attending the Care Net Conference was essential to a healthy pregnancy center. You can inform them that your center is committed to constant growth and improvement – and that the education provided at the conference will make your team more effective in empowering women and men to make life affirming decisions  For example, I mentioned the training I would receive and even included some of the workshops I planned to take (which complemented our new initiatives I had already told them about). I also mentioned the networking opportunities with other centers our size, the opportunity for one-on-one help from the Care Net specialists, and the new programs I would learn about by seeing all of the new vendors that would be there. (Not to mention the community, the prayer time, the worship, etc”¦ the possibilities are endless on this one.)
  3. I then took the costs I had divided out in step one, and put them at the bottom as opportunities for them to partner with us so that we could be trained, refreshed, and renewed. I wrote them in a way to make the donation choices more manageable for our donors.
    1. Sponsor one day of main conference = $167 (we need 3 days for ___ people)
    2. Sponsor round trip transportation for one person = $420 (or you can offer the opportunity for them to transfer flight points)
    3. OR Sponsor one way = $210
    4. Sponsor one night’s stay at the conference hotel = $159
  4. Send your letter or eblast out to your donor list and make sure to include a remit form (or donation options on your website) with check boxes for the items you mention in your letter. By offering more manageable choices, you not only give more of your donor base the opportunity to give, but you give them something tangible to give toward. Make sure to keep your donors up to date on the status of your fundraising for this project. Sometimes when donors see that you only need X amount to be able to go, they’ll send in that last little bit to help you reach your final goals. COMMUNICATION IS KEY.
  5. Follow up after the event with an eblast, inclusion in your newsletter, or social media post of a photo of the staff at conference. Include a “thank you” to those who made it possible for you or your staff to attend.

I hope this helps make fundraising for conference a little less daunting. Also, we have a scholarship application available through our Center Assist fund. Details are at the bottom of this page. I hope to see you all at conference this year!!!

Kay_Sanford.jpgKay Sanford is Care Net’s Conference Administrator. This post originally appeared on Care Net’s private, affiliate-access website.