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Conference and Marketing Information

Overview l Programs l Speakers l Schedule
Testimonials l Conference & Marketing Info l Fees l Forms

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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 bank.

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, Wrightslaw: All About IEPs and Wrightslaw: All About Tests & Assessments. 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 or 150 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.

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 can 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 credit card.

Read Pete's advice about putting on a successful program that will sell out. One of the keys is to have fast, easy online registration.

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 the San Diego Autism Society and Steve and Staci Bockmann.

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 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.

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 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.

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)

Aside from speaker fees, books and travel, conference costs are related to location, audio and visual equipment, and meals. 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).

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 Cvent’s website for other available services.

We recommend that you provide a box lunch - this will 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.

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. Individuals and parent groups have organized Wrightslaw programs 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.

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 fee page.

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.

Because of tropical storms and hurricanes, Pete and Pam do not do conferences between August 15 and November 1 unless located within a three to four hour drive from their home. They live in Deltaville, VA at Stingray Point on the Chesapeake Bay and twice their house, on pilings, was surrounded by breaking waves, 3 feet of water, and the nearest land was 200 yards away. (Their house has steel beams built into the portion facing the Bay and windows can withstand 130 knot winds.) They have lost a vehicle, numerous trees, and other items to the storms. (Click here to see photos and video.)

Wayne and Pat are available during that time.

An additional limitation is that 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 dependent upon the nature of the audience, program content, and other specifics.

We use PowerPoint so you will need to furnish a computer projector. We will also need one wireless hands-free and one handheld microphone. The wireless hands-free mic will be used by the speaker 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.

Contact Information
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 CONFERENCE, then your state (2 letters) and city in ALL CAPS. For example: CONFERENCE VA DELTAVILLE - then specific subject info.

Please include your name, contact information, and the program and the desired date(s).

Click here to see all Past Programs

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Last updated: 4/9/2014

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