Having your city or state chosen as the location for an ABA YLD conference is a great honor. The first step is usually putting together a Host Committee that does most of the work that is required to organize a conference of this magnitude. One of the most challenging parts of hosting an ABA YLD conference is the fundraising. The conference and its events require substantial funds and it is the responsibility of the Host Committee to get that money.
Compile a Sponsors List
To reach all potential sponsors, the Host Committee needs to approach fundraising in a methodical fashion by creating a sponsor list and dividing it between committee members. If Host Committee members have connections with any of the people or organizations on the sponsors list, then it makes sense to assign that member to that potential sponsor. The list of potential sponsors must be approved by the ABA YLD, and therefore, it is important to begin work on fundraising early.
Kari Petrasek, who chaired the Host Committee for the Seattle Fall Conference, shared some advice about fundraising: “In order to get a sponsorship from large corporate entities, it is beneficial to include a young lawyer from that corporation on your host committee. By doing so, we were able to obtain a substantial contribution from one of our corporate sponsors. Persistence also pays off. In a couple of instances, one person contacted a potential sponsor and was told no, but another host committee member who had a different contact in the same firm made the ‘ask’ and was told ‘yes.’ The best successes come from having a personal connection with the entity you plan on asking.”