2018 Member Education and Career Development Report examines holistic learning, professional and new skill growth, and job advancement opportunities actively pursued by professional organization members
August 28, 2018 – ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Community Brands, the leading provider of cloud-based software solutions for associations, nonprofits, schools and faith-based groups, today announced the results of its 2018 Member Education and Career Development Report. One of the more telling findings is the shift in member motivation to more strongly engage with associations and other professional membership organizations through career advancement.
The report finds that 51 percent of members surveyed state they joined their current organization for continuing education and/or networking. That number has increased by 9 percentage points since the company conducted its Member Engagement Study in 2016. Those who became members out of a sense of professional responsibility dropped by 5 percentage points since the findings of the 2016 study.
“We’re seeing a foundational shift in why members join their professional association. They are joining less frequently out of a sense of professional expectation or obligation,” said Tristan Jordan, EVP and GM of Careers and Education, Community Brands. “Instead, they are increasingly motivated by their organization’s ability to help them advance their careers through learning, networking and job opportunities. The valuable learning programs and job placement opportunities many associations offer is now a critical component of the overall member experience.”
The report examines the connection between professional development and career advancement from the perspective of association members. It highlights for association leaders the increasing importance learning and career advancement play in today’s member experience. The report also calls attention to how organizations can further expand their services to meet member expectations.
Additional key findings from the report and what they mean to associations and other professional membership organizations include:
Online Learning a Growing Part of Member Experience
Based on live data pulled from its learning management systems and job board/career center solution, Community Brands reports a significant trend in increased online learning activity. (Data was extracted from customer use of Crowd Wisdom™—formerly YM Learning, Freestone and YM Careers.)
During the first six months of 2018, activated learning courses rose from 4.5 million (1Q) to 5.9 million (2Q), or more than 31 percent. Job opportunities also rose from 1.4 million (1Q) to 1.8 million (2Q), or nearly 29 percent. In addition, during the past 12 months running, Community Brands customer data shows more than 12.4 million learners have enrolled in professional development courses and programs at their association.
As for the tools associations are offering learners to advance their professional development, the most used during the past 12 months are live webinars and live webcasts at, respectively, more than 2,800 and 1,800 sessions each. Adoption and use of video is steadily increasing as a career development tool, with more than 1,500 clips produced for learning courses during the same period.
The Member Education and Career Development Report is the latest in a series of Community Brands ongoing industry research efforts, which include the recent Digital Member, Donor Experience and Member Loyalty studies.
Commissioned by Community Brands, Edge Research conducted an online survey of 1,018 U.S. members who self-reported they are 18-years-old or older and a member of a professional membership organization. Survey respondents were recruited through an online non-probability sample, meaning findings are not projectable to the larger population of members. When the term “members” is used, it specifically refers to those who were surveyed. Quotas were set so the survey is representative of key demographics. The survey was fielded March 28 through April 4, 2018.