Did you know your organization can elevate your current CE program to drive member retention, attract new members, and boost non-dues revenue by creating innovative content for your members? The top reasons members join an association is for continuing education, and to earn certifications/credentials and for training courses according to the Community Brands 2022 Association Trends Research Study.

Keep reading to find out unique ideas and tips on how your association can capitalize on this opportunity to create original CE courses and separate yourselves from the competition with your CE program.

Five tips to create innovative content for your continuing education program

Your continuing education program can benefit dramatically from an innovative content strategy. Try using the following ideas to create compelling content for your CE program today:

1. Focus on mental health

Consider offering your members an emotional boost by focusing on their mental well-being during a mental health conference. Alexandra Wong from the Law Society of Ontario experienced great success in organizing and hosting a mental health summit for members. The first conference had somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 viewers and attracted participants from many different industries.

Whether your association is in the medical, educational, legal, or another industry, it’s likely your members have experienced an emotional toll in their current roles. As you plan your conference, consider inviting speakers who’ve had similar experiences to your members and can speak to their current mental headspace.

Also, try offering open sessions of dialogue to encourage better understanding between members. If you plan on hosting your conference virtually or hybrid, you can leverage technology to allow members to chat and ask discussion questions in real-time to increase engagement. For a smaller, but still impactful content offering, consider adding a 30-minute or hour-long course to the schedule.

2. Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Try offering CE courses in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to provide the crucial knowledge and skills for your members to become leaders for strategic change. DEI courses can help members work to understand the history of power, privilege, and bias and identify opportunities to create inclusive initiatives and policies in their respective industries.

Providing CE in DEI will encourage open dialogue between members and association leaders. It’s also another vital step toward a more modern, upgraded CE program based on your members’ values.

3. Learner wellness courses

Try offering member wellness classes as personal well-being courses are relevant and appealing to members. Provide a wide range of classes about healthy eating, exercising, stress management, or cognitive fitness.

Providing learner wellness courses shows you care about your members’ mental and physical health. It also offers more opportunities for members to engage with your CE program, driving association non-dues revenue.

4. Offer a CE all-access pass

Consider providing an innovative content delivery strategy for members like a CE “Big Ticket” or a passport. This all-access pass offers an inexpensive means for your members to complete CE credits. Try offering the pass as a subscription to every education course your association offers.

One association found great success with the all-access content delivery strategy. Terry Burnett of the South Carolina Bar Association explains his organization offers a subscription service for continuing education at approximately $500 a year for members. Four years ago the association started with 80 members on the all-access pass. Now they have over 1,000 subscribers.

Burnett states the subscription service has built a tremendous amount of member loyalty at the South Carolina Bar Association and has worked to create a high degree of flexibility for subscribers to take even more credits. The all-access pass has also been a great source of association non-dues revenue.

5. Provide fun content

Try offering continuing education that appeals to all audiences at your association. Consider providing fun instructor-involved CE opportunities for an inclusive movement like yoga or hiking, or artistic endeavors like cooking or photography. Combining the continuing education credit with the activity will successfully engage members in a new way.

Burnett’s organization, the South Carolina Bar Association, offers many opportunities for fun CE courses. Some member-favorite courses include golf CE and roller derby CE. “The biggest benefit,” says Burnett, “is that members know their organization cares about the work-life balance and offering innovative content.”

By offering a wide range of CE courses, your members will have many options for earning credits. Adding a variety of CE credits will also help to differentiate your association from competitors, driving more non-members to your learning program.

Learn more about how to deliver innovative content for your CE program

Looking for more tips on how to improve your CE program? Don’t miss our webinar on December 7, 2022: The CLE Expert Series Webinar: Capitalizing on Technology Trends & Member Preferences.

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