Tools to Advocate for Support from your Employer to Attend EPIP Conference 2016
A TOOLKIT: ADVOCATING
WHY WE DEVELOPED THIS TOOLKIT
Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), a project of Tides Center, aims to
develop emerging leaders committed to building a just, equitable, and sustainable
society. And in keeping with our mission of supporting emerging leaders and social
entrepreneurs, we felt it important to pool together some resources that could be
beneficial for professionals like you who may be new to philanthropy and in search of
external support for your career growth and development.
For starters, we understand that while many would like to attend EPIP’s national
conference (September 13-15, Baltimore, MD), not all individuals receive comparable
levels of support at their respective institutions when it comes to professional
development funds. So, we hope that you find the toolkit helpful, as you begin to
develop and craft your self-advocacy strategy and start the difficult but necessary
conversations to elevate your voice in philanthropy.
Lastly, we recognize that this toolkit does not have all the answers, but we invite you
to share your thoughts and suggestions, once you have had the opportunity to dive in.
You can reach us via email at email@example.com.
EPIP’S NATIONAL CONFERENCE IS…
• Explicitly focused on developing emerging leaders who are better equipped to
advance social justice and racial equity through philanthropy
• The only forum that provides safe spaces for emerging leaders to connect with one
another, learn, and practice leadership.
• A resource to participants’ institutions. Ninety-five percent of past EPIP
conference attendees agreed or strongly agreed that the last EPIP Conference
provided them with value not found at other philanthropy conferences, including
new tools, skills and relationships they can bring “back home” to better advance
their organization’s mission.
• An opportunity to network with peers – both emerging leaders and seasoned
practitioners – and to share your institution’s work with a broader community.
• An opportunity to add new skills and expand your knowledge base on an array of
• Practical, but with plenty of room for fun and energizing conversations.
OUR WORK, OUR WORLD
GENERAL STRATEGIES FOR MAKING THE CASE
• Schedule a meeting with your employer or supervisor, so that you have adequate
time to discuss the value of attending the EPIP conference and make the case for
institutional support. If you have regular check-ins, add the conference or professional
development more broadly as an agenda item.
• Prepare key bullet points or messages that briefly communicate your rationale for
participating in the conference. In your framing, you might want to consider addressing
how your participation is linked to your employer’s own interests and goals. You can use
the points in slide 3 to support you.
• Be prepared to offer a plan that outlines your commitment for bringing back what
you learn in support of the broader organization. This could include, for example,
hosting a brown bag for colleagues or writing a post on your internal blog.
• Identify sympathetic colleagues who could advocate for you and your peers.
Depending on your organization, a broader case may be easier to support than a
request that could come off as asking for special treatment.
• Know what if anything you’re willing to contribute. If you are willing to cover up to a
certain amount of the cost yourself, know what that number is going in. If not, be
prepared to say so as well.
CRAFT YOUR PITCH
TIPS FOR RESPONDING TO “NO”
While many members have had success getting support for attending past EPIP conferences,
not all receive positive responses from their employers. Here are some examples of difficult
responses and our tips on how to respond:
• We didn’t allocate funds in our budget for professional development this year.
EPIP’s conference falls well below the average for similar conferences ($475 for individual
members, $425 for institutional members). Hotel costs are also relatively inexpensive at
$159/night. If that is still cost-prohibitive, I would love for us to plan for it next year.
• You have plenty of resources within the organization for learning.
This is about more than my personal learning -- it’s also about bringing new relationships and
tools back to our organization. Many of EPIP’s institutional members look to EPIP’s conference
and related programming for just this purpose.
• You attended last year. How will this year’s convening be any different?
This year’s conference takes on a set of issues that are central to our work. See here for a list of
*Are You Asking for Professional Development Training the Right Way?
http://bit.ly/28Q8WF2: For a three-step process that may increase your chances of
getting company-paid training targeted to your professional goals.
*Coffee Talk: Creating a Personal Leadership Development Plan
http://bit.ly/28QcdVw: For tips on crafting a personal leadership development plan,
or a compass for your personal growth and learning. This may not help you get your
employer to send you to EPIP’s conference, but it could help set you up for future
OTHER HELPFUL LINKS
ADDITIONAL EPIP RESOURCES AND WEBINARS
*Negotiating for Yourself and Your Organization
For insights to help you in your next negotiation, whether you’re advocating for
yourself or your organization.
*Developing Your Career Narrative
For tips on developing your career narrative, to help expand your network, find jobs,
and apply to graduate school.
*10 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Social Media
For insights on how and why to use social media for professional development. Dig
into several case studies that demonstrate how the social sector is using social media
to make real change using digital tools.
FOR EPIP MEMBERS