While You are Providing Education Be Sure to Leverage It

17th Mar, 2021

“Our mission is to provide the highest quality continuing education in our profession”

No, it probably is not your mission. Even those organisations that are chartered as educational associations need to really think about the role of education when presenting your value message to members, supporters, business partners, and other stakeholders. Yes, it is the cornerstone of your organisation. Yes, it is your primary source of revenue. Yes, your members need continuing education to maintain certifications, job qualifications, and licenses.

But no, providing education isn’t your mission. Your mission is to make your members successful - speaking as a membership specialist, I personally think it really is to make your members more successful than those in your industry or profession that are not members!

Yes, your mission is your members’ ongoing success - be it career advancement, business success, or other outcomes. Your educational offerings are one of the ways you help them succeed.

Using business or professional success as a value statement, you can leverage the educational aspects of your organisation in several ways:

  • To potential members: your educational programmes are a major reason to join, because they are a pathway to success;
  • To current members: they are a major reason to renew their membership, assuming you are providing needed and desired education at the highest levels, through multiple delivery vehicles, at reasonable cost;
  • To the industry or profession, you represent: your educational offerings are part of your brand as an industry/profession leader, and therefore credible partner on such things as standards setting, credentialing, product development, research, etc.
  • To potential business partners: they (sponsors, exhibitors, funding agencies, etc) provide a high profile, high quality opportunity to co-brand with your organisation, gain exposure to your members, and enhance credibility through support of education.

Claiming to offer “the highest quality education” is great - others, of course, may be saying the same thing. But ‘offering’ education is an activity, it’s something you (the organization) do. Helping your members in their career or business success is about ‘them’. It’s always about the members.


Mark Levin, CAE, CSP has more than 25 years of experience as an association exec- utive and is also an internationally-known speaker and consultant to the nonprofit and association community. He currently serves as executive vice president of the Chain Link Fence Manufacturers Institute, an interna- tional trade association, and as president of B.A.I., Inc., his speaking and consulting firm. He is also the current president of the National Speakers Association National Capital Area Chapter. 


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