Membership bodies need to work harder and faster to demonstrate their relevance and value to retain members, in order to safeguard revenues and drive business growth.
This need has provided membership bodies with the opportunity to revamp and modernise their continuing professional development (CPD) offerings and develop, sell and promote new forms of online learning to support their members' development and most importantly to deliver increased value for their members.
People join membership bodies to learn and develop in their chosen industry and profession. It’s vital therefore, to provide members with top quality learning resources and tools that combine to deliver a personalised learning experience, one that is tailored to the unique role, position and development requirements of the individual member.
How as a membership bodies, can you maximise member benefits and value to ensure member engagement, retention and growth?
Here are recommendations 1 - 5 to consider:
1. Embrace digital learning
Expectations are high when it comes to learning. There is a wealth of quality digital learning materials out there. The sector specific content that you provide must match this in terms of the user experience it provides. Embracing digital learning is a must.
Some early indicators to consider include:
- Do you require the use of printed forms or spreadsheets for CPD data capture?
- Do you force the use of desktop browsers to access content i.e. do you *not* support mobile?
- Do your web interfaces look dated and struggle to work at all on particular modern browsers?
- Are your membership and content websites not yet fully integrated with your CRM systems to provide a seamless member onboarding experience?
If the answer to any of the above questions is 'yes', then the chances are that your offerings need modernising and you have not yet fully embraced digital. This is more important than ever as the younger generation of member joins your organisation.
2. Recognise that membership bodies are different
No two membership bodies are the same. Each will have different drivers, face different membership needs, use different terminology, have various ways of setting targets and encouraging members, use different planning approaches, align with different skills and competency frameworks, have different certification requirements, different levels of membership and more.
For this reason, it's highly unlikely that completely 'off the shelf' solutions will meet your needs sufficiently closely. Equally, developing your own solution is hugely costly and fraught with risk. A combined approach involving a ‘best in breed’ platform plus configuration, customisation and integration is key.
Whichever supplier you choose, make sure that they have a ‘partnership mentality’ and will want to work with you to give you the solution you need, rather than the one they happen to be selling.
3. Align your learning resources with sector specific skills frameworks
Start by providing a library of quality, accessible and relevant content to your members. Many membership bodies already have a large library of valuable materials which can be provided for their members.
However, to avoid the real dangers of information overload you must be able to personalise your learning offering and align it to sector specific skills and competency frameworks together with varying membership levels and other relevant standards and qualifications.
4. Assess your member's individual needs
Provide the tools to assess your members against skills frameworks to identify gaps and promote the right content to help them easily achieve certifications and standards and complete their CPD.
Take this one step further by enabling comparisons over time to enable your members to demonstrate progression.
5. Consider the ‘freemium’ model
Consider providing certain content and resources free of charge. Encourage users by delivering a quality user experience and then provide additional resources as part of your standard membership packages. Then consider selling premium content by using eCommerce to open up additional revenue streams.
More to come in Part 2
In 10 ways Learning and CPD can drive membership value - Part 2, we'll explore more ways membership organisations can maximise member benefits and value to ensure member retention and growth.
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