Funding is always a concern for membership organizations.
With typical sources of income like events, sponsorships, and exhibitions thwarted due to the COVID-19 health crisis, it’s time to get innovative about finding alternative ways to enhance non-dues revenue. Fortunately, many opportunities exist to generate revenue from members and non-members alike. As online learning becomes more attractive due to social distancing measures, virtual education is emerging as an excellent revenue-producing option for professional associations.
In this article, we’ll share some smart ways to make online learning work for your membership organization.
Create a personal learning experience. Go beyond simply offering an online course. Adult learners have access to plentiful free resources from the internet and while the price is right, the overall learning experience is probably lacking. Interactivity, recall activities, and collaboration with other learners are just a few of the elements that are often missing. Providing a complete, engaging, and impactful educational experience will not only differentiate your organization and the learning you offer, it will also deliver significant value to attendees.
Reach lucrative new markets. When old sources of revenue dry up, it’s time to seek out profitable new target audiences. Online learning makes it easy to reach people all around the world with your course offerings. You can also attract valuable younger members by building appealing web-accessible professional development content and getting the word out via social media.
Don’t skimp on quality. With the recent explosion of available online learning content, quality has become a primary differentiator. Your virtual educational program should be well-designed, informative, and rich in content. Invest in clear, understandable audio and attention-grabbing visuals. Assess your current learning content to make sure it’s up-to-date and fully reflective of industry trends and standards. Rather than just presenting information, focus on conveying the knowledge and training learners to stay competitive in their fields.
Capitalize on sponsorships. The sponsorship model is ideal for live events and it translates just as well to the online learning setting. If you’re hosting a webinar series, for example, you could engage sponsorship partners and invite their experts to speak during the session to build credibility.
Make personalized course recommendations. To boost your association’s revenue through the sale of continuing education courses, your members need to be aware of them. A benefit of online learning is the degree to which you’re able to personalize experiences to suit people’s specific professional development goals. Suggest learning paths based on individual progress and objectives and allow them to search and enroll in courses that may offer particular value.
Get the word out. You should spend almost as much time promoting your course offerings as you do creating them. Make a list of all channels you can use to build awareness about your learning programs and use them strategically. If enrollment is slow at first, you might consider offering a discount for early-bird registrations or referrals. You could bundle complementary courses together and offer a bulk discount, or possibly offer them to non-members at higher price points. Make sure you allow sufficient time for promotion to maximize participation rates and revenue.
Online learning offers abundant income-producing opportunities. Its innate flexibility allows your organization to continue meeting membership educational needs while generating precious non-dues revenue, regardless of what the future holds. Growing non-dues revenue through online learning benefits your association by diversifying and strengthening income, and it benefits learners by giving members and non-members the ability to broaden their skills, expand their knowledge base, and update their credentials.
IBC delivers elite, award-winning software consulting services to membership organizations of all types and sizes. If you’re ready to put online learning to work you, please contact our helpful professionals today.
About IBC: At IBC, we have a deep understanding of the critical business needs and processes specific to associations, non-profits, and unions. We ‘get’ your culture, your goals, and what drives you, too. Focused exclusively on and dedicated to delivering the most effective AMS, LMS, and Virtual Event Solutions for our clients, we’re well-versed in identifying and applying the integration techniques that will save you time and money. Since 2001, our cutting-edge products, unparalleled responsiveness, and award-winning services have helped organizations like yours increase their operational and financial performance by leveraging best practices and proven solutions. For more information about IBC, please visit the website at www.ibconcepts.com or call 443.603.0215.