Transform Learning into Profits for Your Association

Education Value

It’s a new year and a new opportunity to explore other means of non-dues revenue for your association. For years, associations have relied on annual sponsorships, conference and meeting fees and internet advertising to generate cash and offset higher operating costs. Now, with many associations getting into the “education business,” they are finding that they, too, can profit from selling education and training to both members and nonmembers. So, how can you transform learning into profits for your association in 2014?

Here are 3 ideas for creating profitable, high value educational offerings for your members:

1. Offer a certificate or credentialing program. Rather than just offering occasional webinars or a few sessions at your annual meeting, give members an opportunity to immerse themselves in popular specialty training curriculums and earn their Qualified Furnace Repair Technician Certificate, for example. Much of the appeal of professional development and continuing education for members is the advantage it gives them when applying for a new job or pursuing  a promotion. While the completion of a few seminars or courses might not be noteworthy on a resume, a certification in Real Estate Appraisal, for instance, is.

2. Create a blended learning experience. A commonly missed opportunity for association education departments is the blended learning approach to education. Combining an online “intro” course with a 3 day, in-person workshop is a great way to add value and convenience to an education offering. By pairing the two experiences and enabling members to complete pre-work from the comfort of their own home or office, you enable attendees to eliminate some travel costs, making it a more cost effective and, therefore, more valuable way of participating. And, since association membership is all about community and networking, this blended approach is a good way to offer more convenience while still engaging with your members.

3. Repurpose existing content into convenient eLearning modules. If your association has been holding annual meetings, offering instructor-led training or hosting webinars for some time, chances are good, you’re sitting on a content GOLD MINE. Rather than letting this great content die the day these events end, give it new life by converting it into online learning modules.

Set up a camera at your next annual meeting or seminar to record presentations or use a PowerPoint-to-Flash conversion tool, such as Digitec’s Direct-to-WEB, to transform PowerPoint presentations into interactive eLearning, and then upload them into your association’s learning management system (LMS).

Begin recording your webinars and create an online archive of past webinars that members can browse and purchase on-demand. Many LMSes are making this easier than ever with built-in integration with popular web conferencing systems, like GoToWebinar, that immediately add live and recorded webinars to your online course catalog. Webinar recordings can also be grouped and sold together as an online certificate program with continuing education units (CEUs) and a certificate of completion.

Is your association moving into the “education business” in 2014? I’d love to hear how you plan to add value and generate non-dues revenue with online learning in the New Year. Feel free to comment and share your ideas!

For even more tips on generating non-dues revenue and transforming learning into profits, check out this webinar recording, 6 Steps to Printing Money at Your Association with eLearning.


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Amy Bassett

Marketing Director at Digitec Interactive

In her 5th year as Digitec's "resident cheerleader," Amy has made a habit of skipping around the office sharing her "sparkle" on a daily basis. Her outgoing personality and fascination with cake means she is always planning someone's birthday around the office. When she is not counting down to "cake time," Amy is busy meeting with folks at national conferences and sharing her love for eLearning. During her time as Director of Marketing at Digitec, Amy has authored numerous white papers, case studies and newsletters. Amy received a B.A. from Rollins College and an A.A. from Valencia College, where she studied marketing and economics.

Spirit animal: Otter (nurturing, playful, and easygoing)
Diet-breaker: Cake!
Comfort object: "Well-loved" teddy bear
Personal vice: Using "too many" quotes and exclamation marks!
Useless talent: Can break out of handcuffs
Unreasonable paranoia: Odd numbers
Wishes more people cared about: Proper grammar

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