Qualifications present an important revenue stream for many professional membership and awarding organisations. Today though, these services are becoming extremely difficult to operate as the COVID-19 crisis shuts down in-person tuition and tightens operational spending. But while learners also need to minimise non-essential spending, they potentially have more free time whilst furloughed or working from home. If your organisation has a digital-first approach to CPD you may have the opportunity to help learners use their time profitably and prepare for the restart of their careers once normality returns.

The two key elements for success here are an effective digital transformation of processes and a diversification of the qualification offering. Presenting additional benefits to learners while servicing them digitally is imperative to continued revenue and growth.

This digital transformation, and especially its approach to people as well as purely technology, is something that Protech helps organisations to achieve every day. With regard to the important diversification challenge, here are five ways that professional membership organisations could protect their qualifications revenue and drive enhanced value.

1.Engage learners by tracking them through their journey

Organisations that offer qualifications through centres are often less aware of what stage of their journey a learner is in. This passive approach to engagement and administration presents a missed opportunity to enhance revenue.

Map out your learners’ journey and identify the various touchpoints that present a chance to engage and communicate. These give opportunities to offer additional value-added services such as eLearning tools, CPD tracking and activities, journals, qualifications and membership schemes. Each of these diversified offerings provides an opportunity to enhance revenue. A central portal that is integrated with a CRM system will help you to control activity and engagement between learners, registered centres and their organisation. It will support administration and provide the tools to engage with their learners at appropriate points of their learning journey.

2. Leverage your membership value to endorse online qualifications

Qualification administration is often an arduous and time-consuming process. If your organisation has a strong, recognised brand you could consider leveraging it to endorse online qualifications provided by other organisations and centres. It’s important to select these opportunities carefully, but this strategy is likely to reduce overheads for administering qualifications. At the same time, it allows more learners to achieve qualifications under your membership organisation’s seal of approval, bringing further opportunities for engagement with learners.

3. Minimise costs by providing online e-assessments 

AQQ Chief Executive Andrew Hall stated in 2014 that “most UK exams will be digital and paperless by 2018-2019”. So why in 2020, are there still multiple barriers for membership organisations to host their exams online? The challenges arise because different departments often require different systems while learners and other stakeholders continue to demand a personalised, intuitive and streamlined experience. One solution is to provide online e-assessments which significantly reduce paper, copying and distribution expenses. These can be delivered via two primary routes.

Firstly, your organisation can transition its paper-based test locations into a test centre network. This provides the opportunity for learners to take e-assessments at multiple test centres across the globe rather than just those few that have paper-based testing facilities. This strategy hasa positive environmental impact and eliminates paper, copying and distribution expenses.

The second route is to provide on-demand e-assessments that allow exams to be conducted anywhere and at anytime. To achieve this increased flexibility, all the learner requires is their own internet connection. You will also benefit from reduced manual processes around marking and certification as this should be automatically carried out within the student management/CRM system.

4. Consider a direct student Model

While offering qualifications through centres is accepted practice, professional membership organisations should consider moving to a direct student model. Here a learner can simplify their journey by enrolling onto a qualification directly through your website.

An approach that simplifies enrolment is likely to increase the number of learners signing up. And if your organisation is already a well-known brand, this strategy could be presented as a self-service option for learners that will also reduce manual processing and centre fees.

Protech has worked with clients who offer the centre and direct student model, or in some cases a combination of both. It is vital to understand the most efficient way to offer qualifications that maximise short- and long-term revenue opportunities.

5. Grow revenue from related services by building strategic relationships with other learning institutions

You can enhance revenue from other parts of your service offering by building links to other institutions such as universities and training providers who can endorse you. When a learner completes a degree or course, these links can mean that they are then provided with the opportunity to become a member of your organisation for a discounted rate.

This allows the learning institution to offer more value to their learner and gives you to opportunity to grow membership revenue and cross-sell other products and services such as apprenticeships, events and further learning.

This article is part of our 25 page free e-book, how professional membership organisations can drive member value through the pandemic and beyond.

Learn how to:

  • Adapt your value proposition to resonate with member needs
  • Practically enhance your member retention
  • Diversify your qualification approach to protect revenue
  • Minimise the impact of event cancellation
  • Ensure that your productivity levels remain high whilst working remotely

Download this free e-book now to discover actionable strategies and practical advice.

Download free e-book here