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Member Education: 3 New Trends Your Association Needs to Know

Membership Audra Hopkins

It’s no secret that the key to attracting and engaging your association’s members is through valuable benefits.

Your members join your association to gain from the resources you provide. Whether it’s networking with like-minded professionals, attending industry events and conferences, or learning from various workshops and classes. Member education is one of the highest priorities when providing benefits to members.

So, we think it’s important your association brushed up on all new member education trends and reports. After all, you want to be on top of your game when it comes to keeping your members satisfied, right?

Last year, Abila took the time to conduct what they call the Member Professional Development and Education Study.

This study takes a look at professional development and continuing education within a set group of individuals. And it set out to answer a few questions for associations: How do members value professional development? What types of educational resources are they searching for? And how are they looking to fulfill their educational needs?

If you’re curious about the answers to these questions, you’re in luck. We’re breaking down member education and making it easy for your association to satisfy your member’s professional needs.

So, here’s what your association needs to know about member education.

Content: Don’t take it for granted

We’ve said it before in the past, but now it’s backed up in research: Content is king.

And with Abila’s report, one of their key findings proved that content marketing is still one of the top attractive educations features that any association can fofer. In fact, according to the findings, content is the number one reason across all generations for continuing professional development. Content is readily available, easy and low-cost to produce, and contains highly valuable information anyone can benefit from.

But is your association doing its part to provide members with the best content possible? It might be time to evaluate the quality of your content.

Creating a variety of different forms of content could help your members engage and take away more from your association. It’s a great way to compile highly important industry information into an easily digestible format. And if you can find ways to make that content appealing to members, you can ensure their educational needs are being met.

Consider creating not only text-formatted content like blog posts and newsletters, but also visual content such as videos and infographics. After all, Marketers who create video content for marketing purposes grow revenue 49% faster than marketers without a video strategy. You can’t forget to include video!

So, when it comes to member education, always remember content is the best way to provide members with the tools they need.


Staying tech-savvy is a struggle

While technology is a powerful resource to help you attract a wider audience to your association, it seems to be something that association professionals will always have challenges with.

For many, uncovering the right technology tools and resources in order to promote learning within a membership can be a harrowing task. In fact, only a third or fewer of association professionals surveyed are overly satisfied with their ability to perform certain tasks based on their current tech setup.Tasks like target outreach, report running, and offering interactive features to members can be affected if not using the right technology.

This is why it’s essential to do your research and read up on the latest in tech trends. If you’re always on top of technology as it gets introduced to the world, you’ll always know exactly what your options are.

Make sure you know exactly what your options are when it comes to member education technology. If you’re looking to provide them with more career resources, consider creating a mobile app or even using technology to create a webinar series.

You can also consider providing your members with an opportunity to grow their professional experience with a career center. With a career center in place on your association’s job site, you can provide members with the latest and best job listings in their industry. Talk about a tech-savvy resource that works!

Attracting a younger audience is also a struggle.

It’s official- younger generations are starting to take over the workforce. But it isn’t exactly proving easy to get their attention with educational resources.

According to Abila’s report, the number one challenge identified by professional organizations surveyed is attracting a younger audience of members to education and training programs. That’s right, it’s actually harder to get your younger members to use your professional resources- those who may need it the most!

In addition, it seems that each generation has their own tendency when it comes to education. Baby Boomers tend to use their association’s resources as their number one source for professional development. However, generations like Millennials and Gen Xers tend to turn more towards their employers for professional development. What gives?

So, it’s up to your association to find ways to get your younger members on board with your educational resources.

Invite your younger members into your professional events and workshops by engaging with them prior. You can promote your resources on social media channels, a place where you know they flock to.

You can also survey your younger members to see what sort of skills and resources they’re looking to attain from your association. If you can get the scoop on exactly what they want out of your association in terms of professional education, you can easily create opportunities and benefits designed to make them content.

With a proper strategy in place to attract and engage your younger members, you should have no problem getting them excited and interested in your educational resources.

A Brief Overview

While these are all key findings within this report, there is so much pertinent information packed inside this report that we’d be remiss not to tell you to check it out. If you’re an association professional looking to step up your game on member education, this report will give you far more tools than our brief overview. And best of all- it doesn’t hurt to stay informed!

Having an excellent grasp on your membership’s education needs can be the difference from your association being an option in your member’s lives to being a priority. If you want your association to be a prime hub for professional growth and development, pay close attention to trends like these.

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