Education is a winner ... for NAA and its members.
Offer member benefit programs and products. There are many ways to expose new and potential members to educational programs and products. For example, offer new members complimentary attendance at their first seminar or "association bucks" toward a seminar or education program. Consider offering member-benefit training where the tuition reflects only direct costs. Obtain a sponsor to offset the direct costs. These types of offers show members your appreciation and expose them to your educational programs and projects, which should in turn generate future sales or registrations. This is also an effective long-term investment.
Implement discounted tuition and prices for members. Highlight a special discount for members in good standing in each promotional piece for your programs and products. Promote the discount as a special offer for members only. Offer a discount for multiple registrations from the same member company or property. Offer an "early bird discount" for registrations received by a certain date.
Add networking opportunities to education programs. In addition to the educational value, networking is a valuable entity of attending seminars and courses. It provides the opportunity to interact and network with peers and other professionals. Schedule continental breakfasts, breaks, and luncheons during education programs to provide the opportunity for networking. Take it a step further and seek sponsors for the breakfast, break or luncheon. Vendors and suppliers in particular love to have a captured audience for exposure and networking and are a great sponsorship resource.
Promote upcoming education activities at each seminar or education program. Always seize the opportunity to promote the scope of your association's education offerings by announcing upcoming seminars and programs. Take it a step further and make sure the specific promotional brochures are available for attendees to pick up. It could net an on-the-spot registration.
Provide the opportunity for your members to shine. Tap the talent and knowledge within your own organization by utilizing members as seminar leaders and instructors. Invite members to write articles about association education programs and publish them. When an article provides substantive information, then mentions that the reader can learn more by attending the upcoming program or by purchasing the product, it is an effective marketing tool.
Extending some educational opportunities to non-members is an avenue to not only provide needed industry training, but also to tout the benefits of being a member, one of which is special registration rates for members.
Utilize your website as a marketing tool for your education programs. Consider including member testimonials. Create a special members-only educational bulletin board or email list. You can create an email list by asking all visitors to your home page to sign up and receive monthly email notices of upcoming programs and products. This is an inexpensive and effective way to market your offerings.
Consider a delivery method that best suits your audience's needs. Is it a live seminar? Is it teletraining? Perhaps it's computer-based training or Web-based training. Distance learning and Intranets are also becoming education delivery methods desired by some. It hinges on the geographic scope of the organization, financial resources, and who the target audience is. For example, an HVAC seminar for maintenance personnel would be most beneficial through a live, hands-on training session, while the latest in leasing might be delivered through teletraining.
Always address the impact the training will have on the employer's bottom line. The best promotional materials provide a strong message relating a general investment in training with overall improvements in customer satisfaction or improved safety.
A recent study by the Education Statistics Service Institute of the U.S. Department of Education reveals that participation in adult education has been steadily rising. Another international study conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reveals there has been resurgence in the importance of education and training. The importance of investment in skills and competencies in furthering the goals of economic progress, fuller employment and social integration is important. In the past, education and training have been regarded as items which did not need to be supplemented later in life. This view of training and education has changed with a idea of learning as a lifelong process.
Here are some education-related things to consider:
* Employed adults are more likely to participate in continuing education or training than the unemployed, who in turn have higher rates of participation than those not economically active.
* The incidence of participation in job-related training is substantially higher than that in education and training undertaken for personal interest and other reasons.
* There are not substantial gender differences in participation in education and training.
* Adults who possess higher level educational qualifications are more likely than those with lower educational attainments to participate in education and training.
* Younger adults are more likely to participate in continuing education or training.
* Adults working in large firms or companies are more likely to participate in continuing education or training than those working in smaller organizations.
* Employers are the most common financial sponsors of training, particularly job-related training.
Continuing education is a primary benefit associations offer their members. Whether it's the association's return, individual's or employer's return, it must be a win-win return. From the association's perspective, it means bolstering the scope of education opportunities the association offers and the association's bottom line. From the participant's perspective, how well the training served them and what was learned is more important than how well they liked the program. From the employer's perspective, the closer the link to actual job performance, the better. Remember, education is a life-long process, so never stop learning.
Kathy A. Powell, CAE Ms. Powell is executive director of the Triangle Apartment Association in Raleigh, N.C., and is NAA AEC Vice President. She has written frequently on educational programs and the value of association membership.
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|Date:||May 1, 2000|
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