Make Attending the 2014 KMA Conference a Reality
Soon, you’ll receive the 2014 conference program in the mail and pour over its contents. According to your method of choice, you will circle, star, highlight or tab the sessions and workshops you are interested in. You will curse the fact that there always seems to be at least one session with two or more presentations you would love to hear. You’ll talk to your colleagues to see if they’re attending, and you’ll think to yourself about how Salina is such a wonderful, central location – easily accessible to all.
Then you’ll stop.
Is this in the budget? How could I possibly approach my boss to fund this when things are so tight? How can I demonstrate the need for professional development and the return on investment that the conference represents when the maintenance or supply line items often come first?
This year’s KMA conference will be bigger and better than ever, offering an exceptional value for the money, and we are here to help you now with ways to make your attendance a reality. Read on for ideas to present to your boss and board, and make it a point to let them know that the KMA conference is a “can’t miss” part of your year!
– There are sessions and topics that appeal to a wide range of museum professionals, volunteers, board members – if you are involved with museums, there will be something that will pique your interest and provide new knowledge.
– Other museums are dealing with challenges similar to yours – limited budgets, gaining new and repeat visitors by targeting various audiences, marketing programs and more. They will have ideas and stories about what has worked and what hasn’t, and may shed light on new opportunities for your organization.
– You will learn about innovative techniques, cost-saving measures, and cutting-edge technology all in one place. You could try to seek out inexpensive webinars and piece together knowledge like this over the course of months, or you could pack it into an efficient and cost-effective 3 days, with the added benefit of networking with nearby colleagues.
– Speaking of networking, you can pick the brains of others that may have solutions that would benefit your museum, and meet a variety of people that could provide a vital system of contacts for you now and in the future. You can then take the knowledge and those contacts from the conference back and share them with the rest of your organization, so that everyone can benefit.
– The KMA conference is an opportunity to reenergize yourself and gain inspiration for the year ahead. The day-to-day tasks of your position may make it difficult to take a step back, look at the big picture, and dream bigger dreams. Hearing about others’ projects and discussing ideas with your colleagues can reignite your passion for your job.
– Identify challenges facing your organization or position, or a project you would like to introduce. Look for sessions or workshops to address those issues, colleagues that could help or who have been in a similar situation, and vendors with whom to collaborate.
– Take a written proposal to your boss and/or your board. Address issues that you are sure they will want to know: how much will it cost altogether, how long will you be gone, who will cover your duties at the museum, etc. It is not unheard of for board members to open their pocketbooks and take a “special collection” to fund professional development if the need is well-demonstrated.
– Follow up. Once you have returned from the conference, make sure your boss and board know how valuable your attendance was. Find time at their next meeting to thank them and give a short presentation highlighting plans to use your new knowledge and contacts. Perhaps write an article for your newsletter or present a short program for your membership.
We hope to see you at the 2014 KMA Conference in Salina!