Justification Toolkit: Make the Case to Attend!

Justification Tips | Talking Points (what & why) | Tangible Benefits | Post Conference Reporting

Getting approval to participate in any professional development event can be a challenge these days. But you can take the initiative and show your organization why and how your attendance at the ACHI Annual National Conference will strengthen your performance and your organization, and benefit those you serve.

Justification Tips

Attending ACHI Annual National Conference will be the most cost-effective professional and organizational development choice you make all year. It is the most relevant and densely-packed educational and networking opportunity available to professionals like you. You will experience a full year of benefits in the form of new and greater knowledge that you can apply directly to achieving your organization's goals.

Here are tips for getting employer support to attend the Annual National Conference:

  1. Explain in specific terms what you will gain or obtain by attending, and how that will benefit your work, your organization's goals, and the community.
  2. Offer to prepare and deliver a briefing with Q&A to your colleagues and/or the leadership team to share what you learned, so that others in your division will receive the benefits of your attendance, too.
  3. Share speaker handouts and other collected materials with your colleagues. As an attendee, you will have unlimited access to speakers' materials on a flash drive you take home with you or from the conference cloud shared folder.
  4. Ask "what is the cost of NOT attending," in terms of both your ability to stay abreast of new developments and missing valuable tools, perspectives, and relationships that will help your organization anticipate and adapt to the future.
  5. Prepare a plan showing who will cover for you and how critical work will get done while you are attending the conference.
  6. Offer to share a room to reduce hotel expenses.

Talking Points (what & why)

Please use or adapt any of the points below, to help you communicate what this conference is and why it is important for you to attend.

What is this conference?

What is ACHI?

Why this conference?

For everyone:

For community health managers, directors, and VPs:

For community benefit managers, directors, and VPs:

For healthy communities managers and executive directors:

For professionals needing continuing education credits

Tangible Benefits of Participation

When you propose the attending the ACHI conference, focus on specifically what you will bring back to the organization to demonstrate return on the investment. Use this “benefits guide” to help state your case:

Knowledge Benefits from the Educational Program         

State your organization's or program's specific goals or needs, and then state how specific components of the conference will help meet those needs.

Session Content: Which topic tracks or specific sessions have particular relevance to your department's or organization's current priorities and goals? Are there sessions that will provide insight into a particular challenge or goal your organization is facing right now, or expects to face in the next 12 months? Identify specifically what you can use, and how.

Training and Skills Development: Which of the sessions are most relevant to your professional development goals or your organization's expectations of you? What new skill(s) or approach(es) will you bring back?

Strategic Benefits from Educational Program

"The field is changing rapidly and in uncertain ways. It is difficult to view the 'forest' when we're working at the 'tree' level. Our organization needs to anticipate, understand, and adapt to changes both in the policy environment and in professional practice.

"Attending the ACHI Annual National Conference will enable us to see how the field is changing: the economy, national health reform, the Schedule H and PPACA Section 9007 for hospitals, growing sophistication in program design and evaluation, and increasing connections among community health, community benefit, population health and healthy communities."

Networking Benefits

"This conference will enable me/us to meet and interact with community health, community benefit, population health and healthy communities professionals in similar roles and organizations around the country. We will be able to take the pulse of what our peer organizations are talking about and planning for, and how they are accomplishing [specific goal or activity]."


Team Capacity-building Benefits (if multiple individuals from your division/organization attend)

"The conference will help build our team by providing a forum for team members to learn and discuss best practices, new tools, and emerging trends. Doing this together will build a shared knowledge base for applying this information to improve our strategies, programs, processes, and outcomes."


Exhibit Hall Benefits

Will the conference showcase vendors with tools or services you use or are evaluating for potential future use? Is this an opportunity to collect first-hand information and to compare competing firms?

"Leading vendors of products and services for health promotion, program design and evaluation, community health assessment, and community benefit will be present. This is our chance to collect information and evaluate multiple vendors for [state your vendor or product need] all at once, helping us make a more informed decision more quickly."

Post-Conference Reporting

Commit to your manager up front that you will prepare and share a conference report with him/her and the team. A conference report of one to three pages conveys key information about the conference to people who did not attend, and ensures that you will transmit its value effectively to your organization.

 Examples of information you might include in the report are:

 Consider working on the trip report while at the conference or during your travel back home. This is when the information is freshest in your mind, so it makes the trip report much easier to write and quicker to deliver.