Conference and Marketing Information
Wrightslaw special education
law and advocacy training programs are designed to meet the needs of parents,
advocates, attorneys, educators, health care providers, and others who
represent the interests of children with disabilities and their families
In addition to one
and two-day Wrightslaw Special Education Law & Advocacy programs,
Wrightslaw offers a six hour From
Emotions to Advocacy, and No
Child Left Behind programs.
Read the programs
descriptions and meet the trainers/speakers.
You will find sample agendas in the form
Our programs reflect current developments with IDEA, NCLB and recent cases. Our programs include information about key changes in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) that went into effect on July 1, 2005 and the Regulations issued on August 14, 2006.Learn about important changes in IDEA 2004.
The textbooks for the Special Education Law and Advocacy Training Programs (one day and two-day Boot Camps) are Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, and Wrightslaw: All About IEPs. All registrants should receive a copy of each book.
The text for From Emotions to Advocacy programs is Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy.
Dependent upon speaker(s), the conference organizers are required to purchase a minimum of either 100 (packed 20 per box) or 120 copies of the book(s) that will be used in the program so all registrants have the textbook(s). Our publisher, Harbor House Law Press, offers a 50% discount for special sales and bulk orders of Wrightslaw books. Click here to see a pdf table of the total cost of the 120 sets of the three books. Click here to download and save the Excel (.xls) file of the total cost of the 120 sets of the three books.
Marketing & Fundraising
A Wrightslaw Conference is an intense educational experience for your attendees. At the same time, it can become an expense to your organization or become a fundraiser netting thousands of dollars. It is all based on your marketing and whether you want to use excess funds generated from a Wrightslaw conference to finance other ventures.
A large turnout is primarily related to ease of registration, specifically online, advance marketing and publicity. Print your conference brochure well in advance of the program. (We will help you create it. To see others created for prior programs, go to the end of this page and click on the link about "Past Programs.") Develop a registration form that allow individuals to register by phone, fax, email, website and preferably, by credit card, quickly and easily, before they change their mind.
Click here to read Pete's advice about putting on a successful program that will sell out.
Each potential attendee will ask themselves - "What's in it for me? Do I really have the time? Is there something I will miss that I need to know?" What if the attendee stood to save over $3,000 by attending the program? More on that in just a moment.
If you are thinking about hosting a Wrightslaw Conference, but are afraid of what it entails and whether you will have enough attendees, you will want to become familiar with the stories below about Steve and Staci Bockmann and the San Diego Autism Society and also look at the program brochures created by Team Mario and The AOTS Group.
In February 2008, Steve and Staci Bockmann of The Great Expectations Speech, Sensory Integration and Learning Center in the Detroit, Michigan area contracted with us to host a conference on April 23, 2008. We tried to talk them out of that date, believing that they needed more time.
Despite the short planning and preparation time, the conference SOLD OUT almost two weeks in advance with 500 attendees, the conference paid for itself, and they netted a profit to finance other ventures for their Center.
Steve's marketing flyer/promo opened with the statement that - "One Tip From A Wright's Special Education Law Advocacy Seminar Saved Me Over $3,000!"
A powerful opening statement, a hook, that caused the reader to continue. Once read in its entirety, the reader knew that they had to sign up for the program!
Click here to read his promo.
Because of increasing last minute calls and emails, notices were posted on all of the entrance doors that the event was "Sold Out." Click here for a link to the photo of the posted "Sold Out" notice.
Impressed by their promotional skills, Pete interviewed Steve and Staci about their marketing process and prowess. When you hear their story, you will be in awe.
The Bockmanns stressed that, after the online registration is operational, it is very important to involve many other disability organizations and agencies in the promotion and marketing of the event. Businesses, corporations, agencies, professionals and parents became involved.
Flyers were posted in car dealerships, and medical and dental offices. This included the local dentist who is known to be so good with children with disabilities. Many businesses employ or are owned or operated by someone who has a child with a disability. The various parent groups helped identify those individuals. Once that company posts information about the event, then the door is now open to approaching all other similar companies to post a flyer. The word begins to spead like wildfire!.
The Bockmanns had 18 vendor tables at the conference. The vendors assisted in the conference promotion.
Needless to say, this was a very successful event due to Steve and Staci efforts.
Click here for a link to a photo of Steve and Staci and their son, Blake, with Pete.
Click here to listen to or download the audio mp3 interview.
In August, 2012 the San Diego Autism Society contracted with Wrightslaw/Harbor House Law Press for a Wrightslaw Conference on February 1, 2013.
In mid December, six weeks in advance, they SOLD OUT at 250 attendees. How did they do it? Click here to see their Wrightslaw Conference page (now archived). Pete was so impressed, he conducted a video interview about their unique marketing efforts. Click here to listen, watch and learn how to successfully host a Wrightslaw Conference and have it become a fundraiser for their organization.
In November, 2014 a group in McAllen, Texas and an individual in Temecula, California hosted Wrightslaw conferences, used the conference as a fundraiser, and generated a nice profit. To see our webpage about each event, click on the respective link. Temecula CA - The AOTS Group / / / McAllen, TX - Team.Mario
They listened to the Bockmann interview and watched the San Diego video. From that, after they determined the conference date, signed our contract, and had the venue, they marketed co-sponsorships, solicited vendors, and sought advertisers. They marketed to a wide range of businesses who might want recognition for assisting with the Wrightslaw conference.
You will see that the co-sponsors, vendors and advertisers ranged from car dealerships to special education attorneys. To find special ed service providers in their geographical area who might be interested in becoming a sponsor / vendor / advertiser at the event, one resource was our list of service providers on our Yellow Pages for Kids website.
Team Mario in McAllen, Texas created a program brochure that they included in each attendee's packet of books when they signed in the morning of the conference. Their handout was created using 2 sheets of 11 x 17 paper, stapled in the middle, so that it was an eight page program. There were approximately 20 sponsors / vendors / advertisers listed in that brochure. Click here for their brochure. Note: This brochure and the one following are large pdf files and may take a minute or two to load.)
The AOTS group (The Advocacy Office of Theresa Sester) in Temecula, California also created a program brochure that was included in each attendee's packet of books. Theresa's handout used 3 sheets of 11 x 17 paper, stapled in the middle, so that it was a twelve page program. There were approximately 9 sponsors / vendors / advertisers included in that brochure. Click here for her brochure.
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The Wrightslaw staff can help you design your brochure and registration form. It is essential that you distribute information about your program by flyers and brochures that people can download, print, and distribute to groups and organizations within your state and surrounding states. (scroll down for more advice about publicity). You might want to go to our Yellow Pages for Kids website and send individualized, personalized emails to those listed in your state and ask them to help promote your event.
Organizing a Wrightslaw training program is a big undertaking. Some groups obtain financial support from bar associations, nonprofit groups, law firms, psychologists and corporate entities. Other groups secure grants or other independent funding. As seen with the examples above, both individuals, groups and organizations have been able to successfully use a Wrightslaw program as a fundraising event.
After details of the program are finalized, we will help publicize your event. We will build a page about your program and post it on the Wrightslaw site. A link to webpages of past programs is at the bottom of this page.
We will send targeted emails to thousands of individuals in your geographical area.
Wrightslaw conferences have been held in a number of different venues, such as conference hotels, conference centers, universities, churches, civic centers, casinos, an Elks Lodge and more.
If you need help with finding a suitable venue, Cvent, Inc., offers a free service that can help. Search over 75,000 venues through the Cvent Supplier Network for free. Enter the location and specifications for your conference and you will be able to view meeting rooms, decide the table set-up, catering and even see what local attractions are near by. Click here to check out how it works. You can also visit the Cvents website for other available services.
In addition to the speaker fee and books, conference costs are related to location, audio and visual equipment, and meals.
We recommend that you provide a box lunch - this may increase your cost slightly but will allow attendees to remain on-site for the entire program. A lunch and break refreshments increases the perceived value of the program.
On another note, many organizations have found that the banquet style seating, rather than theater or classroom style, provides more 'networking' and a spirit of camaderie among attendees. It also becomes the lunch room, helping to keep the room rental cost down.
As you look at different facilities you will find that it may be difficult to compare apples and oranges. Some locations may be available for free (such as Casinos because of the PR value) or at a low cost (i.e., churches, schools, conference rooms at colleges, universities, law schools, and medical schools).
Hotel conference centers may be willing to waive some of the usual fees if you guarantee a certain number of overnight guest room rentals. The contract will have the terms if the minimum number is not met.
For the actual room, you will want to pay attention to ceiling height and if there are pillars that might interfere with viewing the screen. Low ceilings mean a low screen and seated attendees will have difficulty seeing the bottom of the screen.
However, physical obstacles can be overcome by use of a "splitter" with two or three projectors and screens.
On one occasion Wrightslaw hosted a conference in the winter in Florida. As a part of the advance prep, Pete visited approximately ten facilities in the Orlando and Tampa area, met with the conference/marketing staff and obtained copies of their blank contracts. (During the face to face sessions, many of the facilities were unwilling to provide a copy of the blank contract, but relented when Pete explained that there was no point in continuing further.)
Once Pete narrowed the list down, he negotiated the contract terms with revisions to their standard agreement. One unique revision included identical terms and conditions if the conference was repeated within 18 months. To view the contract for that Florida conference please click here.
As a part of your determination of location, we recommend that you investigate at least three options.
A portion of the speaker fees must be prepaid. The first payment of 25% is due when the program is confirmed and the contract is signed. A second payment of 25% is due four months in advance of the program. The remaining 50% is due at the end of the program. For more information about the speaker fees and to view the form contract letter, please click here to go to the speaker
A single day program is a four day event for the Wrightslaw speaker. The speaker arrives in the host city, not the day before the event, but the day before the day before. This protects against travel complications. (Note: For Pete's West Coast trips, an additional day is added.) On the day before the event, we prefer to visit the conference facility and test all of the equipment and meet with the host organizers to discuss specifics about the program. The third day is the program. Return home is the fourth day, thus the one day program is actually four days for the speaker.
For that reason and because of too many weekends away from home, Pete generally limits one-day programs to Thursdays.
We have an unofficial, unwritten policy of not scheduling the same type of Wrightslaw program to occur within three months, plus or minus, of one previously scheduled that is within a three hour drive of the first one scheduled. This is not a hard and fast rule and is dependent upon the nature of the audience, density of population, program content, and other variables.
We use PowerPoint, Adobe.pdf and the Internet during the program. You will need to furnish a computer projector(s) and screen(s) sufficient for the room size and seating. During the day, Pete will have the law book pdf file projected on screen, highlight portions of the text and also go online and show the audience how to do legal research. Since he will need to use his own computer connected directly to the computer projector, you will need to ensure that there is sufficient A/V cable to connect the two together.
We will also need one wireless hands-free and one wireless handheld microphone. The wireless hands-free mic will be used by Pete and can be either a lapel mic or around the ear. The handheld mic will be used by the conference host for announcements and also during the question and answer session at the end of the day.
If you decide you want to sponsor a Wrightslaw program, please send an email to petewright
| at | harborhouselaw.com (remove the | at | and replace it with an @ sign.) If you do not hear from Pete with a couple of days, please resend your email.
In the subject line of your initial and all future emails, please type CONF, then your state (2 letters) and city in ALL CAPS. For example: CONF VA DELTAVILLE - then specific subject info.
your name, contact information, and the program and the desired date(s).
Click here to see all Past Programs
Last updated: 03/12/2018