Membership

Daily Buzz: Why Education Should Go Beyond Conferences

By / Dec 19, 2019 (fizkes/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Continuing education matters, but should it come just from meetings? Research shows members might want other options. Also: member management tips from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

How does your association rank conferences within its education strategy? According to the Community Brands Member Engagement and Loyalty Study, most association professionals say meetings are one of the most important and strongest benefits their organization offers. Members, on the other hand, see events a bit differently: Only 27 percent say it’s an important benefit.

That stat might paint a dire view of meetings, but when loyalty is considered, conferences do matter.

“When looking at the correlation between member loyalty and member involvement with their organization, the most common area of engagement across member loyalty segments—from the most loyal (Super Members) to the least (Value Seekers)—is attending an annual meeting, followed by certification programs and continuing education,” writes Tara Pawlak on the YourMembership blog.

So what does it all mean?

“Continuing education is important to members,” Pawlak says. “But members no longer look to annual conferences as the primary or only source of training and continuing education. They now learn anytime, anywhere, and in a variety of ways (five on average)—in-person, digital, time-intensive, condensed, and micro-focused.”

In essence, to meet members’ education goals, you can’t put all of your learning eggs into one big meeting basket. Education must be diversified.

Association Lessons From Clark Griswold

You might not think Clark Griswold has anything to teach about member management, but Callie Walker from the MemberClicks blog says otherwise.

For one, Clark’s forgetting to bring a saw when Christmas tree hunting emphasizes the importance of being prepared.

“You could have the best of intentions for something and even a rock-solid idea, but if you don’t put in the time and energy to prepare, you could (and likely will) come up short,” Walker says.

Another lesson: Know your audience.

“When Clark finds out that, rather than a bonus, he’s been gifted a one-year membership to the ‘Jelly of the Month Club,’ he loses it. He starts going on this rant in front of his whole family about how he wishes he could look his boss in the eye and, well, give him a piece of his mind,” Walker explains. “The problem is, his cousin Eddie takes all of that literally and proceeds to kidnap (yes, kidnap) Clark’s boss so he can look him in the eye, just like he wanted.”

Other Links of Note

Still using Excel to track membership? The Wild Apricot blog makes the case to ditch your spreadsheet.

Calling all business travelers: This is how early you should arrive at the airport before a flight, according to Smart Meetings.

Switching to marketing automation? The HighRoad Solutions blog outlines five common—and fatal—mistakes associations make when switching over.

Sophia Conforti

Sophia Conforti is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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