Getting Budget Approval and Buy-In From Your President

If professional development budgets are tight, persuading your boss to pay your way to a conference can be difficult. The employees who make the strongest case, with data and specific projections, are most likely to get the green light. Here are some ideas to help make your case:

  • What are the most significant issues on your campus? How will the ABACC Conference help you to solve them? Take a look at the workshop schedule – are there specific workshops that will provide direction and answers? Take a look at the exhibit hall – are there specific vendors you can connect to that have expertise in an area that would support your institution? Take a look at the attendee list – are there important connections that can be made? If you can begin to solve just one problem on your campus, the ABACC Conference would pay for itself.
  • Compare content and costs of other conferences. You'll find ABACC is the best deal in town. Corporate sponsors underwrite ABACC's registration fees, and we have chosen a conference center with reasonably priced guest rooms and economical transportation options. You won't find a better deal than this!
  • Take a realistic look at your own skill set. Are there areas of weakness you could work on that would benefit your institution? Look for workshop sessions, experienced colleagues, and subject experts that can help you bolster your skills.
  • Look for ways to leverage the ABACC Conference content to help your institution increase net revenues and/or decrease costs.
  • Chart out a plan to make specific, strategic, valuable new contacts. The ABACC Conference attracts the best business officers, top-notch experts, and nationally recognized speakers. Are there specific connections you can make that will provide you, your department and your institution with a valuable and supportive network?
  • Offer to make a presentation to your supervisor, your department or administrative leadership, or even your Board of Directors, based on the knowledge gained at the ABACC Conference.
  • Send a list of workshop sessions to your colleagues and ask their opinion on what they think is most important to the institution, then plan to attend those sessions and report back afterward.
  • Plan to show who will cover for you while you are away and how easily you can be reached should any issues or problems arise.
  • Volunteer to help at the ABACC Conference. There are lots of opportunities to help and having a specific role at the event may be helpful in justifying your presence.
  • Plan ahead! Don't wait until the last minute to request a budget for the conference, but instead ask well enough in advance that your supervisor can work out the costs with sufficient lead-time.
  • Be inspired! Sometimes you get inspiration and energy just from being around smart people with good ideas. Let your excitement be contagious and convince your supervisor that attendance at the ABACC Conference will pay for itself many times over!
  • And remind your supervisor that ABACC is the ONLY place to get high quality professional development for the business officer with a Christian worldview perspective. How important is it to him or her that your professional development keeps your ministry and mission in mind?

Adapted from "Persuade the Boss You Really Will Work at the Conference," Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2016.