Offering Certification Programs as a Value-Add for Membership

Nov 3, 2020

This week’s podcast episode made me think about other clients who offer different variations of certification programs.

While each is unique to the specific industry, it occurred to me that there are actually 3 common threads that seem to elevate certification to be a valuable part of the member experience.

1) The certification is aspirational. It’s something that members see as an achievement or a resume builder. It’s essentially a stretch goal that not everybody is going to meet and not everyone is going to be committed enough to get through the process. That aspirational nature of the certification is one of the things that makes the certification desirable.

2) The certification is meaningful. We’ve all seen those directories where you can be listed among the “Who’s Who in the XYZ Industry” and most people nowadays realize that these are simply a vanity listing. All someone has to do is pay the fee and they’ll be listed. For my clients who have successful certification programs, it is clearly not a pay-to-play program. They actually have high standards that must be proven with the right documentation.

3) The certification is recognized in the industry. I alluded to this a bit in my interview with Deb. It probably feels a little like a chicken and egg situation when you’re just starting out with creating a certification. It would be hard to achieve recognition in an industry until you’ve reached some point of critical mass where enough people have received the certification for it to be noticeable.

If you’re interested in learning more about certification programs, I’d encourage you to look at what 3 of my client organizations are doing – check out Deb’s organization, of course, the Register of Professional Archaeologists. Also the Tile Contractors’ Association of America. Their Trowel of Excellence Program comes to mind. And then the Wilderness Education Association would be a third option to look at. WEA has six specific education components that they’ve built their programs around and they require a rather extensive portfolio to be submitted as part of their certification programs.

All three of those would be great to take a peek at if you’re interested in possibly adding certification to your member experience.

You can catch my podcast episode on this topic here.

I’d love to hear how your organization has addressed the possibility of membership certification programs. Have you started the process to developing a certification? If you have one, how do your members share their status?

Ways to Work with Me

A flawlessly-delivered, high-value member experience doesn’t happen by accident.  It requires thoughtful planning and intentional action.

Here are 4 ways that you can work with me:

  • Member Experience Makeover – when you know *something* needs to change, but you aren’t sure exactly what
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  • TeamShare – when you need extra hands but don’t know who could possibly have competence in all of the different areas you need
  • Wild Apricot – when your current tech (or lack of tech) won’t let you do what you need to do


You can learn about all of these options by clicking here

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