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 NRPA Annual Conference, so we have put together a justification letter template and some tips on how you can talk with your employer about the value of attending as well as some best practices when traveling to the conference.
Making the Case Tips
- 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. 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.
- Show value through CEUs. Education is paramount at the NRPA Annual Conference. Majority of sessions earn you CEU credits so tally up the number of credits you will be granted for attending educational sessions and Pre-Conference workshops to help demonstrate the value gained through education and learning.
- Face-time with exhibitors can pay off. In the coming months, we'll post the list of NRPA Annual Conference exhibitors. Pinpoint any business opportunities that could develop from establishing connections with park and recreation professionals and partners.
- 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.
- Share your great ideas. You are guaranteed to leave the conference inspired and filled with great ideas so when discussing your attendance at the event, 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..
Best Practices for Attendance
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Showcase your key learnings. Upon your return, debrief with decision makers to review what you learned at the NRPA Annual 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.
Reasons to Attend
- Ninety-seven percent of prior attendees would recommend attending to a colleague.
- Choose from hundreds of education sessions to earn CEUs to maintain your certification or reach other professional goals.
- Get hands-on experience and in-person demonstrations of the best products and services for the field.
- Current NRPA members receive discounted registration and non-members receive one year of membership with registration.
- Don’t be left out of the largest annual gathering of park and recreation professionals under one roof.
This Conference Preview blog post will also help you prepare.