Although 2020 had a lot of ups and downs (more downs than ups, if we’re being honest), one thing stayed relatively constant for associations and their members: continuing education requirements. While many associations lowered their criteria, some have not. And without the benefit of in-person annual conferences, association members need to find ways to stay in good standing and it is the responsibility of the association to help provide those ways. Here, we present 5 ways for associations to offer continuing education opportunities amidst a pandemic.
1. Shorter monthly or quarterly webinars.
Many associations, like our clients, require 8 to 10 professional development hours annually to remain in good standing. And most members can get all those hours in a 2-day, in-person conference. But, without these in-person events, associations need to offer continuing education online. However, online doesn’t work the same way: networking can be difficult, people lose interest, etc. By offering shorter webinars more often, members can stay engaged and still obtain their required hours.
2. Prerecorded content.
As we saw with a recent client event, prerecorded, on-demand content is a huge value add. At a time when individuals are working alternate schedules to manage children at home and other pandemic-related challenges, on-demand videos offer members a way to get their continuing ed on their time, whether it’s at 3 PM or 3 AM. This does require more upfront work, including speaker gathering, video recording, editing, and hosting, but partnering with an association management company who has event experience can make the process simple and seamless.
3. Outdoor events.
If in-person is what works for your members, there are ways to make it safe. Outdoor events allow for (somewhat) unlimited spacing, giving members the education they want and the social distancing they need in the middle of a pandemic. As restrictions lift in the upcoming months, thanks to the promise of a vaccine, you can expect more venues offering outdoor options for their events.
4. Local travel.
You’re probably wondering how members will get to these outdoor events when traveling during COVID is risky. Association’s local chapters can offer smaller, more intimate events within a closer radius, allowing more members to drive to their destinations, thereby lessening the concern for viral spread.
5. Repurposing materials.
Associations that have been around a long time have loads of unused, somewhat stale content lying around. Freshening up that content with new graphics, updated statistics, or even a new format (e.g. turning an article into an explainer video or a white paper into a webinar) can provide members a new and improved way to understand a concept/application at less cost to the association.
Contact Stansfeld Today
Continuing education continues to be a benefit to association members. By offering alternative educational opportunities, associations can continue to be of vital importance to its members, resulting in increased member engagement and retention. If you struggle to put together ongoing education offerings for your members, Stansfeld can help. Contact us to get started!