Justify Your Attendance

Providing a strong justification for your attendance at educational events is vital to persuading your employer to offer financial aid. Utilize this toolkit to help identify key benefits of attending the AEA annual conference.

Creative solutions may help your request get approved. Consider these options:

  • Before meeting with your supervisor, prepare a plan that shows who will cover your duties while you attend the Evaluation 2023 conference.
  • Offer to prepare and deliver a short presentation and Q&A session for your colleagues to share what you learned. This way, your coworkers will benefit from your attendance.  
  • Share speaker handouts with your colleagues.  

Contact Mike Zapata at if you need additional information or support when drafting your request. We hope to see you in Indianapolis this October!

Using this justification toolkit, you will learn how to:

Step 1. Review Talking Points for Evaluation 2023

Use these talking points to convey to your supervisor why you should attend the in-person annual conference: Evaluation 2023.

Pre-Conference Workshops

The Evaluation 2023 pre-conference workshops provide in-depth learning opportunities taught by expert facilitators. The 2023 workshops are ideal for evaluators at all stages of their careers.

Education That Fits Your Needs

Evaluation 2023 will feature more than 300 sessions, including multi-paper sessions, expert lectures, panels, skill-building workshops, roundtables, and more!

Learn From Your Peers

Evaluation 2023 presents an excellent opportunity to learn from your peers about best practices and evaluation trends. Our speakers come from a variety of industry sectors and can provide insights on challenges and solutions they have encountered within their programs or organizations. Our diverse session formats allow you to ask questions, gain insights into case studies, and work together with your peers and our speakers to find solutions.

Expand Your Network

One of the greatest benefits of attending Evaluation 2023 is the opportunity to meet colleagues from around the world, and networking with individuals face-to-face creates a more meaningful experience. The conference provides dedicated time to network with peers and leaders in evaluation during social events, in the Exhibit Hall, and before, during, and after sessions. 

Make Connections with Exhibitors

The Exhibit Hall is an area where attendees can get to know publishers, universities, service providers, and organizations that serve the field of evaluation. Meet with vendors to have conversations, request information about their offerings, or exchange contact information to discuss their work at a later point.

Get Involved with AEA 

AEA Topical Interest Groups (TIGs) will be hosting in-person annual meetings during Evaluation 2023. During these in-person meetings, attendees can learn more about the work our TIGs do year-round and meet other evaluators who have similar interests.

Meet AEA’s Topical Interest Group (TIG) members at the Topical Interest Group Reception on Thursday, October 12. Each of our 60 TIGs will be participating in the TIG Receptions, giving you an opportunity to learn more about their year-long initiatives and how to get involved. Learn more about TIGs.  

Step 2. Determine the Costs

For full registration pricing details, visit the Evaluation 2023 registration page.

Expenses             Cost
Conference Registration
AEA Member On/Before September 8 – $425
AEA Member After September 8 – $475
Non-Member On/Before September 8 – $550
Non-Member After September 8– $625
Optional Pre- and Post-Conference Workshops
Two-Day Workshops:

AEA Member On/Before September 8– $425
AEA Member After September 8 – $445
Non-Member On/Before September 8– $565
Non-Member After September 8 – $615
One-Day Workshop:
AEA Member On/Before September 8– $195
AEA Member After September 8 – $205
Non-Member On/Before September 8 – $265
Non-Member After September 8 – $295
Half-Day Workshops:
AEA Member On/Before September 8– $150
AEA Member After September 8– $165
Non-Member On/Before September 8 – $175
Non-Member After September 8 – $195
Subtotal Per Person  
Total Number of Employees Attending  
Total Cost $

Step 3: Outline the Benefits

When showcasing the benefits of the conference, focus specifically on what you will bring back to your organization as a return on their investment. Reference the Evaluation 2023 website to answer the below questions. Please note: AEA will continue to update the website with conference details.

  1. What sessions have particular relevance to the work you do?
  2. Which sessions can teach you a skill and/or help your team overcome current or future challenges?
  3. Are there any speakers your organization would benefit from hearing or working with?
  4. Which exhibiting companies will be demonstrating the tools you use or are evaluating for future use?
  5. What doors can networking events open for you and your organization?
  6. How can increasing your involvement with AEA benefit your practice and organization?

When considering these questions, keep these tips in mind:

  • List specific sessions and explain how they will impact your practices or organization.
  • Clearly make the connection between your needs and the benefits you are identifying.
  • If the scholarship approver is outside of your department, don’t assume they understand your goals or any technical terms. Spell out the impact for them.
  • Passion is the best persuasion technique – let yours shine through in your letter.

Step 4: Draft Your Request

Customize this letter to show the costs and benefits you outlined above.

Dear < Approver’s name >,

I would like to attend Evaluation 2023, an annual conference hosted by the American Evaluation Association, taking place in Indianapolis, IN, October 9-14. Evaluation 2023 brings together evaluators, evaluation scholars, students, and evaluation users to collaborate and expand their practice through education, knowledge-sharing, and networking.

This year’s theme, The Power of Story, features presentation topics ranging from < list relevant topic > to < list another relevant topic >. I am confident what I learn will be directly applicable to my work and advance my development as a professional evaluator.

In addition to the educational benefits, Evaluation 2023 is a great way to meet like-minded professionals and expand my network. It also creates an opportunity for our organization to share our work and lessons learned with the evaluation community.

In order to attend the conference and achieve my goals, I am seeking sponsorship of < total amount you need > for the following expenses:

Registration: <$xxxx>
Round-trip Airfare: <$xxxx>
Transportation: <$xxxx>
Hotel: <xxxx>
Meals: <$xxxx>

The opportunity for me to develop a network of contacts and to gain knowledge in specific areas of evaluation makes my attendance at Evaluation 2023 a wise and cost-effective investment that will benefit our organization. Please let me know if you have any questions, or would like more information on the conference.


< Your name here >