Why Member-Based Organizations Are Choosing to Host Their Own Continuing Education Programs

In our previous article, we looked at the Inadvertent Dangers of Outsourcing Your Continuing Education to Third-Parties; this time, we’ll be looking at how hosting your own continuing education content solves this problem!

While there are pros and cons to each approach (third-party programs, your own programs, or a combination), hosting your own programs is often the best option for member-based organizations.

We’ll review the four main reasons why in this article:

1. You can significantly increase member engagement.

Offering continuing education is a great way for member-based organizations to create meaningful interactions that provide value for their members.

Offering CE increases the number of touchpoints an organization has with its members and can help create a sense of community and connection.

Additionally, CE can aid in the development of your member’s professional development. When members improve their skills through your organization, the value they get from being a member increases.

Associations and similar organizations exist to help their members thrive, so the more opportunities you provide to update their skills, the better your member-based organization will be!

2. You can generate more non-dues revenue.

The ability to offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs) is a valuable perk that can help member-based organizations attract and retain members. Not just that–by not sending your members to third-party learning websites, you get to keep that valuable non-dues revenue within your own organization!

Online courses are generally more affordable to produce than traditional in-person courses. However, even in-person sessions can be useful when building your member-based organization’s CE program; they can be recorded and placed online!

Recording in-person CE courses is often a more affordable option than building an entire online course from scratch, and it provides the chance for a greater audience to access your original sessions.

Not only does this produce a better experience for members, but it can also generate more non-dues revenue for the organization. Organizations can charge members a fee to access courses, and they can also sell advertising space on the course pages (or even offer sponsored courses!) to earn additional income.

The perks don’t end here, though! By hosting their own continuing education programs, organizations can provide their members with valuable content that’s geared towards their industry. This can include certification programs, which can be a major selling point for memberships!

If your member-based organization is looking for ways to generate additional non-dues revenue, consider creating your own continuing education program online; when you host your own CE program, both you and your members win!

3. You can gain insight into your members’ learning experience and translate it into better courses.

The online learning experience of your members is vital to the success of their professional development endeavors. When you send your members to third-party sites, you are no longer an active participant in their learning, which decreases the connection between an organization and its audience!

The solution, however, is simple: by hosting your own courses, you can ensure your members have the best possible learning experience–the one you curate just for them!

When you host your own online program, your member-based organization gains access to valuable data in the form of various analytics, such as course completion rates, average time spent on each course, and course popularity.

Having access to analytics will also help you improve your courses and make them more engaging for your members.

By analyzing the data from your learning management system, you’ll be able to target any weak areas in the program and allocate resources exactly where they’re needed. Even further, by understanding how your members learn online, you can tailor content to their unique needs!

The insight your organization can gain into the experience of its members can be invaluable. When properly utilized, it can help you improve the quality of your courses, better assess member engagement, and make decisions about the future of your programs. Once again, everyone wins!

4. You can provide a more valuable, tailored learning experience.

Third-party learning sites offer a wide variety of courses, but they may not cover the specific topics that members are interested in. These sites are made to cater to audiences in multiple industries, so the content that’s relevant to your members may end up few and far between.

By hosting their own continuing education programs, organizations can provide their members with a more customized experience. Each course is tailored to the needs of the member base, so it’s guaranteed to be useful and applicable!

Tailored content is not only more relevant, but it’s also more engaging. When members know that the content is created with their career goals and aspirations in mind, they are more likely to enjoy the learning experience your organization provides.

A more personalized learning experience might also be beneficial to your member-based organization because it may help you attract new members!

When potential members see that your organization offers courses that are relevant and industry-specific, they will see the value in joining your organization.


When member-based organizations create their own CE content, members are given the ability to learn about valuable, niche topics, while also allowing them to network with other professionals and members in their field–meaning your member-based organization can hit multiple birds with one stone!

You may also like: How to Improve Continuing Education for Your Association

At their core, member-based organizations exist to help their members engage, learn, and thrive. Don’t let your member-based organization fall behind when it comes to continuing education resources; aim for the top and create your own perfect program! Your organization’s members will be glad you did.