Travel Budgets and Recognition

I really wanted to call this post “Free Money” which isn’t quite correct but it does get people’s attention.  Then, I decided that the title sounded like most of the things in my spam folder.  I’m pretty new to the whole idea of blogging (and I’m already late on this posting) so I’ll try to keep this simple. I’ve been submitting budgets for quite awhile now and there patterns that emerge when you submit one.  First, you submit what you feel is a reasonable budget with maybe a little padding somewhere and you’re told to cut the budget down to a level that will only provide for basic needs if your needs happen to be one number 2 pencil to share among your staff for an entire month.

Okay, it hasn’t ever been that bad, but there are areas where cuts routinely happen and one is in “training” or “professional development” or “travel” or whatever you call the money that allows you or your coworkers to attend a conference.  Because it is often seen as “non-essential”, travel money becomes a common place to cut and has been zeroed in budgets I’ve submitted at several jobs.  So, how do you deal with this?

First, arm yourself with justifications for your request.  During the budget process, talk about the benefits to your site of you going to a workshop.  NAI holds workshops, not annual meetings or conferences.  Make sure that if you have something to present, you submit it.  That’s good for you, your site and you peers that might learn something.  Now for my big pitch…

Apply for a Region Three scholarship!  I’m always amazed that we don’t get more applications for scholarships. The scholarship committee has several times in the past few years, had fewer applications than scholarships. Look on the Region Three website ( and you’ll see the applications for our current scholarship competitions. By the way, if you still can’t travel and like to give away money, join the scholarship committee and help us pick the worthy candidates.

The other area that seems to go underfunded is staff recognition.  So how about nominating a coworker or colleague for an award?  We get very few applications compared to the amount of great work I know is being done in this region.  Don’t be shy, let us know.  We give awards for members of Region 3 in three main categories: Outstanding New Interpreter (under five years service), Outstanding Interpreter, and Outstanding Contribution to Region 3.

I’m asking all of you to make the Scholarship and Awards committee more work but that’s why we signed up for this committee, so please, APPLY!  Your budget may be happy with you!


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