How Associations of All Sizes are Using Online Conferences to Grow Revenue

Association Peer Groups

What are association members currently seeking?

The ASAE lists opportunities for networking and professional development as two of the top reasons professionals join — or leave — an association. By knowing what members value, and giving them what they value, associations can increase member retention and attract new members. The mission of creating value for members is why associations with as few as one or two employees, and as large as hundreds of thousands of members, are adding professional development opportunities, also known as eLearning.

eLearning programs, like webinars, courses, and online conferences, support member retention and recruitment, and also provide what can be a very lucrative revenue stream for associations. Associations that offer high quality professional development opportunities will stand out and appeal to prospective members.

Dr. Amanda Batson, an education architect and consultant, and CEO of ADB Partners says, “The potential is huge for association eLearning to become a profit center or growth generator.  Beyond financial revenue, quality eLearning can grow membership and, most importantly, grow professional knowledge and skills.”

Batson underscores the point that to realize the potential and related benefits, however, eLearning must be an integral part of the association strategic education plan.  She says a defined business model is required, and with these facets in place, the sky — or the cloud — is the limit with quality eLearning.

Here is a quick look at three associations of varying sizes that are using online conferences successfully.

EMDR International Association – EMDRIA

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapeutic approach recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and the U.N. World Health Organization as an effective treatment for trauma. The EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) is a professional association where EMDR practitioners and EMDR researchers seek the highest standards for the clinical use of EMDR therapy.

Over the past two decades, the range of organizations recommending EMDR has widened. Nearly 20 randomized studies have shown EMDR to unlock negative memories and help victims heal. Each year, EMDRIA hosts an annual three-day conference alternating at locations throughout the U.S. The locations differ each year so that participants have a chance to attend without having to fly across the country. In 2015, EMDRIA expanded the conference and offered a hybrid conference, which blends an in-person event with online participation opportunities.

National AfterSchool Association

The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) sends monthly communications to over 100,000 subscribers and provides the opportunity for membership to an online community and professional development to professionals and businesses in the after school field. The association hosts the largest annual in-person convention with over 2000 professionals attending each year.

The leadership team at NAA recognized that with 850,000 afterschool professionals in the U.S., their universe of professionals is much larger than those attending the in-person conference. In addition, with 10.2M children enrolled in afterschool, professional development is extremely important for the work they do. The association is the go-to resource for professional development opportunities and expanded its offering to include an online conference for members and non-members in 2015. The conference included 12 to 15 workshops, keynote presentations, and the opportunity for participants to interact with each other and presenters.

AHRA: Association for Medical Imaging Management

AHRA is the professional organization representing management at all levels of hospital imaging departments, freestanding imaging centers, and group practices. Founded in 1973, its 5000 members reach across the country and around the world. AHRA offers a complete slate of professional development programs including a comprehensive selection of educational conferences and seminars, networking opportunities, award-winning publications, and the Certified Radiology Administrator (CRA) credential. AHRA hosts 8 to 10 vendor supported and fee-based webinars each year for members and non-members.

Would you like to learn more about hosting an effective online conference? Join the iCohere Academy for free and gain access to this ‘on-demand’ webinar and many others for free.  Join the academy here.


After registration:
Logon to the ‘iCohere Academy’.
Select ‘Courses & Webinars’.
Select ‘Karen Niles: Introduction to 100% Online Conferences’.
Select “Click to Open”.
*You may have to download ‘WebEx’ to view this. Don’t worry, it is fast and free.


This entry was posted in Concepts of Unified Learning, Conferences, eLearning Best Practices and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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