8 Considerations for Your 2016 Continuing Education Training Budget

Published by Gina Wentling | Topics: Associations, Fulfillment, Online Publishing, Print, Training

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Budget Concept Budget text on calculatorThough it’s still summertime, now is the time to get your 2016 budget for continuing education squared away. If you haven’t given it much thought since about this time last year, you’re not alone. It’s easy to chug along and go through the motions until it comes time to look and plan ahead.

Now that budget is a high priority, keep these considerations in mind as you start crunching numbers. Think about how you will …

  1. Manage print runs: Does your association’s content need to be updated regularly? Then print on demand is the best choice; depending on your quantities, you may still be able to receive price breaks. If course books are likely to remain relevant and accurate for months or years without changes, a larger print run makes more sense and could save you thousands.
  2. Use internal staff: Many members of your internal staff are qualified for—and ready to take on the challenge of—more mission-centric work. If someone else were to pack and ship boxes, for example, and internal staff could focus on marketing, it’s entirely possible that the extra registrants could offset the cost of outsourcing fulfillment.
  3. Create custom kits: If you or your staff is spending valuable time shopping for office supplies to send along with course books and instructors manuals, consider working with a fulfillment partner that can take on the role of custom kitting. Think about how much your time is worth and work custom kitting into your 2016 budget.
  4. Ship internationally: Once courses go international, many associations hit a wall, as far as using internal staff for fulfillment goes. International shipping is complicated! Work with experienced professionals and keep your staff free to focus on fulfilling your association’s mission.
  5. Implement online training materials: Have your learners been asking for online access to training materials? Some classes require learners to come to class having already reviewed the content, in order to more fully participate in discussions. Perhaps 2016 is the right time to add online training materials to your budget.
  6. Sell books and digital files: It should be easy for learners to find your association’s course books, both physical and digital. A single-source storefront streamlines the process and generates non-dues revenue.
  7. Present your brand: How long has it been since you took a good, hard look at your brand? Does it represent the organization and its mission? Or does it look a little tired? Maybe 2016 is the right time to invest some budget dollars in rebranding.
  8. Improve print quality: Look at your course books with fresh eyes. If you were a learner new to the training program, would you be impressed with the quality? Or have you fallen into a pattern of “good enough”? The quality of your printed materials, like your brand, represents your association, whether or not you’re paying attention to it. Give it some thought, and maybe some budget allocation.

Keep a long perspective on your training program. Even if many of these updates to your budget would be useful for your association, it would be overwhelming to take on more than a few of them in a single year. What’s most important: Streamlining your print and fulfillment process by enlisting some outside help? Adding online training materials? Pick one or two and start 2016 with innovation and forward motion.

If you overdo it, you risk the repercussions of changes that don’t take learner experience into full consideration. Some associations decide to switch to digital—all at once, without transition or surveying association members—only to experience severe backlash.

We have found, in our 2014 survey, that millennials prefer reading printed materials when they learning new material. Don’t deny them this opportunity, just to save some money on printed materials. You’ll compromise your mission and frustrate learners.

Your budget reflects what you value in your organization and the program you manage. There’s a hidden value in taking a second look at what you’ve always done. Maybe there are good reasons to stay the course, but more often than not, reluctance to change comes from fear of the unknown, not from careful consideration. If you’re not uncomfortable, as they say, you’re not growing.

That doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch, though. Take small steps from the structure you have and the one you want to cultivate and in a few years, your budget will do an even better job of reflecting your mission to learners.

Learn more about the suite of services Omnipress provides to association training programs like yours! Download our white paper, Print & Fulfillment Made Easy, now.



About Gina Wentling

During her time as Marketing Communications Coordinator (2013-16), Gina wrote hundreds of blog posts for Omnipress. Her work has also been published in association publications. Read More.

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