Increasingly, we are seeing growth in certification and credentialing programs offered by associations, and the increase in membership that follows.
Many organizations are rolling out certification programs designed to differentiate and distinguish members who desire a higher level of professional achievement.
Community Brands recently conducted a survey of both association professionals, and the members they serve. In this study, 62% of members surveyed, believe certification programs are an important benefit to their membership, while only 41% of association professionals believe it is important. This importance factor was one of the largest discrepancies found between associations and the members they serve.
Certifications will play a large role for members in 2021
Although many professional organizations have already set their priorities for the next year, it is vital to focus on what members require, as many industries are still recovering. The turbulence in job displacement as a result of COVID-19 hit nearly all industries, causing members, young and old to realign their priorities. While certain industries, like medicine or law already have certification infrastructure in place to maintain licenses, job seekers in numerous industries are starting to pursue certifications for employment.
Members are valuing certifications more
Online certifications have become a common way for employers to pick out key differentiators amongst similar job candidates. While some members may be searching for new roles in a competitive job market, others may be looking for ways to advance their career. As the primary source of education for most members, associations are the ideal place for members to receive their certifications.
Certifications will help attract and retain members
For members that are looking to build their resume by obtaining certifications, receiving those opportunities from their association can be a major cost justification for joining or renewing. Offering advanced certification programs can also be a major way to obtain new sources of non-dues revenue from current members.
Guiding your members and meeting their expectations
Of the members surveyed in our recent study, over 50% of members responded that they now find their associations more important than they did before COVID-19. As a professional association, guiding members to their career goals is crucial, but sometimes it is not always clear. Mend the gap between you and your members by offering resources that are valuable and accessible to them.
Effectively offering credential and certification programs to members
While many certification programs have been primarily in-person due to certain regulations to ensure that a learner has participated in the training, some online learning platforms have been designed with these needs in mind. Offering credits, or advanced certifications often require crucial reporting elements, such as:
- Participation Tracking
- Testing and Quizzing
- Course Evaluation Surveys
- Q&A Functionality
Meet your members’ new expectations with certification offerings that drive new revenue streams. Support these new programs with a flexible learning management solution uniquely designed for associations.