eLearning LMS, LMS for Associations

How to Leverage eLearning Software to Grow Your Association this Year

by Debbie Williams

In 2017, an estimated 50 percent of associations said they didn’t experience membership growth.¹ That’s not because the hype about associations being on the decline is true. The opposite, in fact. Associations have incredible growth potential, they simply aren’t leveraging all the tools or strategies at their disposal effectively.

There are many strategies associations could use to increase their membership numbers, and you’ve likely already tried a number of them. But one you may not have considered or fully leveraged is eLearning software. A common tool in associations, or an investment that’s easy to make, eLearning software can foster growth by appealing to the right members and keeping current members happy.

Association LMS

3 Ways to Promote Association Growth with eLearning Software

Here are a few ways you can use LMS software to generate association growth in 2019 and 2020:

1. Offer career resources 

Half of the potential members who visit your association’s website are seeking career opportunities and resources.² According to Christine Smith, president of Boxwood Technology, a leading provider of online career centers and career-related services for associations, “Career resources are among the top three things that people click on when visiting an association’s website.”³ 

Give potential members what they want most by storing career resources in a centralized online location via your association LMS. Resources that pertain specifically to your association’s industry could include:

  • Online career assessment quizzes
  • Information about employee statistics and trends
  • Salary guide documents

Creating eLearning courses designed to improve skills such as interviewing and networking would also pique the interest of prospects who want career-related resources.

2. Provide online professional development training

One of the main reasons members join associations is to receive training that adds value to their resume and equips them with new skills. By making online professional development courses available to your member base, you can attract and retain new members.

The online professional development training your association offers should be distinct from what members are getting from their employers. Four Ways to Grow Your Association’s Membership stated,

“Associations can take advantage of their strengths and offer training that reflects broader industry trends, is more up-to-date, and introduces members to areas relevant to their profession, but are not necessarily the focus of their positions in their current company.”4

Subject matter experts and association leaders can work together to create professional development content that prospective members will love. By delivering courses with LMS software, associations will enable members to access the training on any device they choose, at any time.

3. Increase member satisfaction and referrals 

For many associations, members are the primary generators of new leads. For example, 40 percent of the Professional Photographers of America Association’s new members are referred by current members.5 By keeping your current members satisfied, you can promote membership growth through retention and referrals.

One way to keep members happy and eager to refer potential members to your association is to use LMS reporting tools to measure how engaging and effective your current training is. This will help you consistently refine training content to ensure it excites members.

Surveying current members about their satisfaction with training and other association perks can also help you get the feedback you need to make necessary changes. Three Ways to Grow Your Association’s Membership stated,

“...try sending out member satisfaction surveys once every year. Ask your members what offerings they like and what areas could be improved upon. If you can get their feedback early and often, you can make changes to help entice them to stay.”6

The changes you make will not only promote member retention, but also member satisfaction, which will result in new leads and a larger member base.

Advertise eLearning Member Benefits to Grow Your Association

If you haven’t seen much association growth this year, it’s not too late to begin implementing strategies via eLearning or learning management system software that promote growth. And if you’re serious about expanding your member base quickly, don’t forget to advertise member benefits on your website and social media channels, as well as through current members.
Association Training


1. Boardroom Global. How to grow your association. https://boardroom.global/how-to-grow-your-association/.

4. Rockbridge. 4 ways to grow your association’s membership. https://rockresearch.com/4-ways-grow-associations-membership/.

2, 3, 5. Naylor.com. How smart associations grow membership. https://www.naylor.com/associationadviser/how-smart-associations-grow-membership/.

6. Member Clicks. 3 ways to grow your association’s membership. https://blog.memberclicks.com/3-ways-to-grow-your-associations-membership.

Debbie Williams

Debbie Williams

Director, Marketing