Create a Revenue-Generating Licensing Strategy

The Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association started licensing some of its learning content a few years ago. Doing so created a new source of nondues revenue for the association.

Offering professional education to members and wider audiences is one of the chief reasons why associations exist. Whether it’s webinars on hot topics facing your industries or certifications aimed at helping bolster the skills of industry professionals, associations are in the job of educating.

The Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association has worked to educate its members and larger industry since its founding in 1939. But just a few years ago, AVIXA started licensing some of its learning courses in hopes of reaching more professionals in its rapidly growing industry. In so doing, the organization also developed a rich stream of nondues revenue, according to VP of Learning Amanda Beckner.

If your association is hoping to successfully license some of its learning courses, Beckner offers a few tips that AVIXA has discovered along the way:

Adopt a train-the-trainer method. It’s not enough to email a bunch of documents and PowerPoint presentations to organizations that have licensed your courses, according to Beckner. If associations want their licensed learning program to be successful and effective, it’s important that they invest in training the professionals who will be teaching the licensed course or program—to keep it from becoming stale or boring and ultimately affecting your brand. “You have to work with the experts who are going to be teaching this on different strategies for making it a little more student-centered, so they’re comfortable and don’t just start reading slides,” Beckner said.

Be flexible with the terms. Early on, when AVIXA was licensing its courses, it had strict rules about who could teach it to whom, but as time passed, it realized a little more flexibility was needed. Although there are few requirements for becoming a license holder, such as holding an active AVIXA certification, now professionals can license a course or a set of courses for a year and teach it to their choice of audience. They can also choose to charge for it or not.

Keep your brand in mind. Beckner added that it’s totally fine for license holders to go off script as they teach the courses—adding their own viewpoints or anecdotes—but they need to ensure that it’s clear to the students that those opinions don’t come from AVIXA. To that end, AVIXA has some lines in its agreement that says when license holders are using AVIXA content, those materials need to bear the AVIXA copyright. “But, if you want to pause in that content and you want to talk about your product—or a viewpoint that might be different from AVIXA—that’s perfectly fine,” Beckner said. “Just structure that in a way that’s clearly not AVIXA branded—that it’s your copyright, your ideas, your disclaimer, and that’s totally fine with us.”

Have you had success licensing any of your association’s learning courses? Tell us about it in the comments below.

(zhazhin_sergey/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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