Sample Letter

Ask for financial support

Spending time on improving your skills in supporting or leading your organization’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts is beneficial to the organization. So why not ask for their financial support. The best way to get companies to send you to fund your professional DEI training, certificate or certification program is to lay out the return your company will get. Wherever possible, show the benefits to your company (even in dollars). Your goal in making a proposal to your company is to show that the investment will not only pay for itself, but that over time, the organizational culture, inclusive culture and feelings of belonging will have an impact on the bottom line.

Also, most organizations have a training and development budget for the skills that will directly enhance your competencies. If your skill set can be applied to progress in your current career or expanded to earn provide you with knowledge and enhance your abilities in DEI, it’s worth an ask.

When asking your manager to pay for DEI professional development you must know the pertinent details about the program and your company’s policy about paying for employee training, so do your research. A good place to start looking for this information is in the employee handbook or on the company website. There are several components you want to consider including in your request for your company to pay for your participation in the IDPI certificate or certification program(s). They are:

  • Research the skills you want to improve and their relevance to your role. Looking at the “Topics & What’s inside” tab for each program to identify the skills you will learn and the tools you’ll be introduced to. After you identify the skills you want to develop, articulate HOW the IDPI course is the best option for you to learn and enhance these skills.
  • Present the benefits. When writing a training request letter to your employer, you want to clearly outline the benefits of the training, as well as how your development of those skills will benefit your team or the organization overall. You may want to look at organizational benefits such as the reduction in turnover, identifying inequities within the organization, creating an inclusive workplace with a culture of belonging, increased customer base, enhancing the organizational brand in the community, or doing the right thing. Think of what’s important to your organization and highlight how the training and you receiving certification will help you meet the organization’s goals.
  • Show your commitment to the organization. Employees worry that after you take the training, you’ll take your new skills and move on to a new position or even a new company. Address this upfront by expressing your commitment and showing how you will use your new skills to benefit the company.
  • Share how this is a natural steppingstone in your growth. Include details about how your past efforts have benefited the company and how your willingness to work hard and contribute, have been beneficial. Note that you bring the same willingness and hard work to DEI and this will provide you with the tools, methodologies, knowledge and skills that will positively impact the organization. Tie your request to your past efforts and how you have always shown the company that their investment in you will pay off.
  • Include the time commitment and length of the program.
  • Show your appreciation for their willingness to review and consider your request. You might say, “I appreciate your consideration of my request, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts,” or “Thank you for considering this request. I am committed to this company and would like to further my knowledge and skills regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, as well as Accessibility and Belonging, will serve to help meet our organizational goals.

Provide them with the IDPI program website so they can review the program and curriculum.

Be prepared to answer some questions

Anticipating that questions will arise and preparing your responses will improve your chances for getting approval from your manager. Below are some potential questions you should be prepared to answer:

How much does it cost, and is there financial aid?

The cost is outlined on the IDPI main page. At this time IDPI does not provide individual discounts, however, with 5 or more people from the same company or collaborating companies who attend together, IDPI will offer a 10% discount. Keep in mind, if your company can’t cover the full cost of your program, think about how much you’re comfortable paying on your own and ask for the rest. What do you have to lose?

What will you learn from this course?

This may seem like a simple question, but if you can’t articulate clearly, your manager might not understand the benefit of you participating. So nail down the top three takeaways and learning objectives of the course you have selected. Be able to articulate why you are excited to learn these skills and how they relate to your personal and professional goals.

How will it directly benefit the company?

Your company and your manager will want to know the WIIFT, or “What’s In It For Them”. This is one of the most important questions to prepare for because it’s your chance to explain how the DEI training will not only help you, but also how it will benefit the organization. Next, prepare to discuss how you’ll apply what you learned to your role or a DEI committee you might be serving on.

How will you maintain job performance?

Before they agree to pay for your DEI professional development, most managers will want to ensure you’ll remain productive in your current role. Plan for and explain the time commitment and how you plan to manage it.

How can I measure the return on this investment?

Because the ROI on DEI is not always obvious, think of ways to justify the ROI by explaining how it will help you improve team culture, reduce turnover, minimize disparities to underserved groups of people, enhance your company’s equity brand, reduce exposure to legal pursuits and more.

Is the program available for groups?

You can certainly share what you’ve learned with your team, but maybe they can take advantage of the opportunity as well. If your boss is intrigued by the program, find out if it’s feasible for part or all of the team to participate. Many programs offer a discount for group enrollment.

Have a face-to-face conversation about the program and benefits to the organization

You might also suggest that you have a weekly or bi-weekly update meeting. Talk about the ROI (return on investment). When a company allocates funds and time for an employee to develop their skills, leaders want to know what the outcome will be. Be prepared to report back on what you learned and how you can apply your skills in your role. Because our certificate and certification programs are multi-week, it’s a good idea to suggest that you send them an update weekly or bi-weekly on what you’ve learned.

Sample email

Hi [Name of Manager],

Since we’ve discussed ways I can strengthen my skills in helping to create, lead and sustain a culture of equity, inclusion and belonging, as well as to continue growing professionally, I’ve been researching professional DEI development programs. I wanted to let you know I recently came across an intriguing program that aligns with many of the organization’s DEI goals as well as my goals and interests: IDPI (International DEI Professional Institute’s [name of program].

This program stood out to me because of [explain why the program interests you]. I believe it would help me [explain one or more specific benefits for your company and/or team]. I’d also enjoy learning more about [reference program specifics] and think this would be a great way to do so. In my current role/committee/assignment, I [reference your roles and responsibilities that align with the program] and the topics within this program will enhance my knowledge of equity and inclusion strategies, methods and historical impacts on marginalized communities at people, both at work and in the communities we serve.

This certification program is designed by University academics, faculty and practitioners (Harvard, University of Penn, UC Berkeley, and more) and organizational executives, the IDPI program makes a real and measurable difference and equips participants to effect societal and organizational change, and effectively impact positive change in your organization and community.

Does [Name of Company] provide funding for professional development opportunities like this? I wasn’t sure but wanted to ask before I move forward. If it’s possible to be reimbursed for the program, I’d love to discuss. Here are some of the program specifics:

Start date: [enroll immediately, and provide date the program begins]
Duration: [2-10 weeks per course based on the program you select]
Cost: [$X,XXX for the program]Link with more information:
As you know, I am fully committed to our company and its success. I envision utilizing my new skills to help build the culture that is at the core of our mission, one of equity, inclusion and belonging. Are you available to discuss more sometime in the next week? Let me know what works for you. Thank you for considering this request. I am committed to this company and would like to further my knowledge and skills regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, as well as Accessibility and Belonging, will serve to help meet our organizational goals.

[Your Name]