calculate ROI for attendance

How to Justify Conference Attendance
by Mike Doyle
As a manager, how do you propose any allocation of resources in your organization? You need to
understand two components to make decisions:
• Epense !the "in#estment"$
• Return on In#estment
%his article pro#ides some easy&to&use tools to help you calculate the in#estment and identify your
Understanding Your Conference Expenses
(onference epenses are affected )y a num)er of factors' *efore you can e#en )egin to +ustify
conference epenses, you need to calculate what those epenses are' %o do so, use the following
Expenses Worksheet to de#elop a cost estimate for attending your selected conference'
Expenses Worksheet
Expense Guideline Cost
(onference Registration ,
-re . -ost&(onference (lass
Registration, if applica)le
usually optional ,
/aterials 0ees !if any$ )ooks? software? media? ,
0light try a 1e) tra#el ser#ice to get a
2uick estimate
3odging conferences usually ha#e special
rates with hotel
%ransportation: Airport to 4otel if flying: tai? car rental? ,
%ransportation: 4otel to Airport if flying: tai? car rental? ,
/ileage Reim)ursement dri#ing to conference? %o the
airport for your flight? 5se
/ap2uest to calculate distances,
then multiply miles )y 67'8
cents9mile !IR: standard for ;<<=$
-arking Reim)ursement at airport for flight departure, or at
hotel where conference is located
0ood -er >iem
see IR: guidelines for conference
locale rates' Remem)er, most
include )reakfast, lunch, . )reaks
subtotal ,
total num)er of employees going
total ,
Understanding the !enefits
3et"s face it: many )enefits from conference attendance are hard to 2uantify' 0or eample, eperts agree
that the top )enefit of conference attendance is networking #alue' 1here else can you find so many
industry contacts facing the same issues as your organization? Are there solutions you"re not aware of?
Although networking is undou)tedly the most important aspect of a conference, it is also the toughest
for which to 2uantify any #alue'
On the other hand, if an employee came to you and said, 'I want you to fund me for $4,000 and I don't
know what it'll do for you,' then you would likely scoff at the offer?and may)e e#en mum)le a few
colorful metaphors a)out his9her suggestion'
1hen you propose a conference for appro#als, don"t focus on how much you want to go@ fous on what
you will speifially brin! bak to the or!ani"ation as paybak for the in#estment$
:ome specific details you"ll need to identify include:
• "ession content# 1hat sessions ha#e particular rele#ance to your organization"s work?
:pecifically identify:
o %ools !authoring tools, (ontent management systems, etc'$
o %echnologies !A/3, >I%A, etc'$
o -rocesses !structured writing, single&sourcing, etc'$
• $endor contacts# 1ill the conference showcase #endors with tools you use or are e#aluating for
potential future use? Is this an opportunity during which you"ll )e a)le to compare competing
• !est practices# 1ill there )e training sessions in areas that will immediately )enefit your group?
• %raining# 1ill there )e workshops designed to teach attendees a special skill and9or help your
team o#ercome current or future challenges?
&uantifying the !enefits
Although you might understand the )enefits of the conference that interests you, your manager may not'
%herefore, to )e most effecti#e in +ustifying the conference, you need to clearly articulate the connection
)etween your organization"s knowledge re2uirements and the conference program' >O BO% assume
that your manager will )e a)le to automatically make those distinctions'
%o support this process, use the following %enefits Worksheet to help you focus on the )enefits' 5se
whate#er makes sense for your particular organization and conference, and omit the rest'
!enefits Worksheet
Your 'rgani(ation)s !enefits "pecific *eeds and the Conference "essions + %raining
that ,eet the *eed
Betworking *enefits %his conference will allow Cspecific team mem)ersD to
network with other professionals and #endors in the industry'
1e will )e a)le to take the pulse of what is happening for
tools, technologies, and processes, and hear ideas we weren"t
e#en aware of'
%eam)uilding !if sending a )ig part of
your group$
%his conference will help )uild our team, pro#iding a forum
for team mem)ers to discuss tools, technologies, and processes
and how we might apply them in our company to impro#e our
information products, workflow, and processes'
(urrent %ools
0uture %ools Eploration
(urrent %echnologies
0uture %echnologies Eploration
(urrent -rocesses
0uture -rocesses Eploration
Eendors 1ith %ools . %echnologies You
Are Eploring

-t)s all in the "elling
After you ha#e identified the specific knowledge )enefits, you"#e pro#ided )oth the epenses and
)enefits your manager needs to decide the #alue of your proposition'
:alespeople work the same way' %hey don"t let customers infer the #alue of what they are selling, they
make that leap for them'
Sell your conference proposition!
(opyright F ;<G; A:AE' All rights reser#ed'
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