OK. I know we’re still recovering from the very successful #NABJ17 in New Orleans. For those of you who didn’t make it this year, yes — it was just as great as it appeared on your friends’ myriad social media posts. You can click here for my summary on just what you missed.
If you’re already preparing for next year’s convention in Detroit, I applaud you, but this post isn’t for you. This one is for the following people:
- Those with hard-core FOMO, who always vacillate whether to come or not then get mad when they don’t;
- Those who want to attend the convention but have no idea how to pay for it;
- Those — PLEASE pay attention — who think throwing up a GoFundMe account a month or less away from convention is a good idea; and
- Those who email me, NABJ VP-Print Marlon A. Walker and other NABJ members sob stories about how they want to go but have no money (and asking me for “an airline hook up”) one to two weeks before the convention.
There are two journalism conferences I attend every year — NABJ and the Online News Association. I, like you, know that these events happen every year. Back in 2012, DJTF did a TweetChat with Natalie “The Frugalista” McNeal on ways to save. I encourage you to read it because the tips are still pretty good.
I began saving for both in June of the year before the conventions; that means I started saving for #NABJ18 and #ONA18 in June. I use the Smarty Pig website, which automatically takes out a designated amount twice a month (you can choose your own deposit schedule). I never see the money, so there’s no temptation. There are also apps like Digit and Qapital that are designed to help you save.
You need to break down your expenses: airfare, hotel, transportation to/from the airport, city transportation, food/drink, tips and gifts/souvenirs. You also need to save for things like clothing, hair, nails/grooming, business cards and a resume/portfolio website. Once you get that number, divide it by 10 and start saving — today.
Other ways to raise funds for Detroit include a part-time job or side hustle and using birthdays, Christmas and Kwanzaa (specifically Kujichagulia, Self-Determination) to ask for things like registration, airfare and hotel costs. And save on costs by sharing a room (I’ve had roommates every year since 2008), attending the free professional breakfasts and lunches (bonus-you’ll learn something) and sharing transportation. Most mentors will also help with a meal or drinks, especially if you are a student.
Don’t get me wrong — I have and will continue to help those who are also working to help themselves. This year I paid to register a professional and a student. I also gave $25 grants to help folks with expenses in New Orleans and did several free resume reviews. And I fully expect to help folks get to Detroit.
You now know what you have to do nearly a year in advance. But be warned — if you email me asking for help, or I see you posting one of those last-minute GoFundMe, my reply to you will be this column. So come correct and start saving now. Only 345 more days until NABJ hits the Motor City!!