Your Organization’s Continuing Education Budget: The Gold Rush

Published by Dan Loomis | Topics: Associations, Blended Learning, Content Strategy, Fulfillment, Training

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Destination:  ASTD International Conference and Expo in Dallas, TX
(click here to read entry #1 & #2)

Journal Entry: Day 3, San Franciscogold rush for continuing education

After carefully weighing our options (or maybe we were just drinking too much moonshine), Tony and I decided to cross the continental divide in search of gold. We need to rustle up enough money to pay for this here trip to Dallas.

Your Organization’s Gold Rush

The end of your fiscal year is near and all department heads flock to the board rooms to present their case for next year’s budget. Who wins? Who loses? The mental picture I see is like the Gold Rush of 1849. Who leaves with the real gold and whose left holding the fool’s gold?

Enough Gold to Go Around?

Chances are, there is never enough money in our organization’s continuing education budget to do everything you want. By the end of the fiscal year, you may even find your budget a bit smaller than what you were originally promised. This leaves you feeling that the money in your budget was a bit like fools gold.

Protect your real gold by spending it wisely all year long. Make choices about your CE materials that help avoid over spending and straining your budget.

How to Protect Your Gold:

Here are a few simple guidelines that will help you make good choices and ultimately avoid a disaster that could have serious consequences for your organization’s budget.

  1. LISTEN – Consider what your learners need. Carefully listen to your audience and ask detailed questions. Learners, for example, indicate they want CE content online. “Online content” can mean a million things. Not asking a set of detailed follow-up questions could result in a poor decision that ends up wasting your budget.
  2. DO – Try a new idea or delivery method on a small subset of your CE content. For example, start by offering online content to only one topic category. To minimize risk and potentially cost, pick a topic that generates enough sales so that you can quickly measure the results. For many reasons, you may want to avoid experimenting with your most popular topic.
  3. CHANGE –Your organization needs to be agile during the early stages of implementing a new strategy. Solicit feedback from your learners to see which changes worked (and should be adopted) and which changes are best left as experiments.

Protect your gold — LISTEN, DO, CHANGE, repeat.

Money doesn’t grow on trees, and panning for gold might not, well, pan out. Protecting your organization’s budget is easier when you take things slow and understand that providing continuing education materials is not an all-or-nothing proposition.


Time is running out for Tony and me to get to Dallas. Now that we’ve found our gold, it’s time to get this wagon train back on track!

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About Dan Loomis

When Dan Loomis took over as a Product Director, he aspired to be like his new role model… Santa Claus. “There’s no one more skilled in fulfillment than Kris Kringle,” Dan more

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