• Justification Tips

    Let�s face it; travel budgets can be pretty tight. It might be hard to convince your employer that it is important and worthwhile to attend a national conference. We want to see all of you at the 2015 NRPA Congress, so we have put together some tips on how you can talk with your employer about the value of attending as well as some best practices when traveling to Congress.

    Making the Case

    1. Review the education sessions and plan your schedule. Create an outline of which sessions you want to attend and how they’ll support your work. You can do this online and on the mobile application (and guess what? You can sync this across your devices). Select sessions that are most beneficial to you, your team, community and your agency. Collate this information and present it to your supervisors or those that are approving your travel. Make sure to include specifics on how sessions will help the department advance. (For example: If I learn more about social media I will be able to use it more effectively in my marketing efforts to build relationships among our community) 

    2. Show value through CEUs. Education is paramount at Congress. Majority of sessions earn you CEU credits so tally up the number of credits you will be granted for attending educational sessions and Pre-Congress workshops to help demonstrate the value gained through education and learning. 

    3. Face-time with exhibitors can pay off. In the coming months, we'll post the list of 2015 NRPA Conference exhibitors. Pinpoint any business opportunities that could develop from establishing connections with park and recreation professionals and partners. 

    4. Plan for your time out. You may need to prepare a plan of action for how your work will be covered while you are out of town. Think this through and review it with your supervisor. 

    5. Share your Great Ideas. Congress is going to spur so many great ideas in you so when discussing your attendance at Congress, commit to a post-conference presentation for your team, Town Council, Board, etc. Plan to highlight what you learned and tie your training to your organization’s challenges, goals and strategic plans. Share all that you learn so that others can grow and develop too.

    Best Practices for Attendance

    1. Know before you go. Make sure you review your department or city policies regarding traveling and understand requirements around travel, expenses, per diem and the like. 

    2. Keep good records. You may have to submit reports on your travel such as expense reports with receipts. Make sure to keep good records and keep track of your receipts so that you can prepare the necessary documentation you may need when you return. 

    3. Demonstrate the value of attendance. You or your team may need to demonstrate why attending a national conference is important and valuable to decision makers. Consider developing a pre-conference presentation that outlines what education sessions are being covered, business opportunities and more. Show how these directly tie to your strategic goals for the department and/or community. 

    4. Showcase your key learnings. Upon your return, debrief with decision makers to review what you learned at the conference. Give examples of key learnings you may want to implement and highlight any important connections you may have made and how you’ll put your new-found Great Ideas into action.