Attending the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo is one of the best investments you can make in your career, but we know that with tight budgets and reduced bandwidth, you may have to make the case to register for NAFSA 2024. Read below for talking points and tips to explain why this is a great investment for you—and your team.

Do your homework.

Attending the NAFSA 2024 Annual Conference & Expo is one of the best investments you can make in your career. It’s the only place to get up to speed on all of the latest developments, trends, forecasts, emerging best practices, creative solutions, and resources in the field. To help make a business case for you to attend the conference, it's a good idea to demonstrate to your supervisor that your attendance can help solve problems your office faces and help your team reach its goals. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Think of pain points or problems in your office or areas where your leadership is focused. For example, is your supervisor in cost-cutting mode? Is your office hiring for multiple positions? Are you charged with implementing a new strategy?

  • Then, look through the online planner for sessions, networking opportunities, or other programming that can help your team overcome challenges or contribute to its success.

  • Do the same exercise for opportunities. Where does your office want to be in five years? In what ways do you hope to grow and expand on campus?

  • Explore the online planner to see what conference programming can help you get there—whether it’s to develop new partnerships in certain countries, build recruitment pipelines in different places, or stay ahead of the curve with study abroad trends.

  • Review your own performance objectives and think about what skills you want to gain. What conference content can help you reach those goals?

  • As much as possible, align your plans at the conference to your institution’s and office’s goals and strategic plan.

  • The International Education Expo is one of the can’t-miss aspects of the conference. Go through the list of exhibitors who will be in New Orleans and note the institutions, organizations, and companies you plan to meet with during your time.

Keep your team in mind. 

In addition to your own professional growth and networking, your supervisor may want to know that there is a return on their investment that will benefit your team. In addition to identifying sessions and programming ahead of time that can help your office meet its goals, here are a few other aspects to keep mind:

  • Offer to do a post-conference recap or lunch and learn for your team when you return. Not only will you share the knowledge you gained, you’ll likely have more buy-in to implement new strategies or tools you learned about at the conference.

  • Before you go, ask others on your team if there are sessions they’d like for you to attend and take notes, or if there are certain exhibitors you can meet with on their behalf.

  • Prepare a plan for colleagues to cover your tasks while you’re away. Offer to do the same for them when they attend conferences, and consider bringing them a treat or memento from New Orleans to thank them.

Know how you can save!

There are several ways to get costs down for the conference. Keep these in mind:

  • Take advantage of early-bird savings if you register before April 17. You can save $150 off of the cost of registration.
  • Join NAFSA (if you haven’t already). NAFSA membership is an investment in your career that serves you the whole year round. Review membership benefits, and sign up for membership before/with conference registration to save $300 on the conference registration price.
  • To save even more, consider volunteering! When you volunteer at NAFSA 2024, you can be reimbursed for 50 to 100 percent of your registration costs. Volunteering is also a great way to network with attendees and NAFSA staff while enjoying a significant discount. Learn more.