December 31 may seem far away, but many continuing education providers already have this date on their minds.

Associations across the country are entering their crunch time as end-of-year reporting deadlines approach. And, while some members get their continuing education requirements completed early, there are always those who wait until the last minute and find themselves spending New Year’s Eve in front of the computer, instead of with friends and family. Members like these can help make for a busy and overwhelming December for you and your team.

So, what can CE providers do to help these procrastinators along? Here are six tips on how to encourage your members to get their credit submitted early and often.

  1. Use your data. The systems you use to track your members’ activities, like your association management system (AMS) and learning management system (LMS), are chock full of useful data that you can use to target those customers who are putting off getting their CE. Run a report to find out who’s still in need of hours, and contact them about upcoming learning opportunities.
  2. Do the work for them. Create bundles of content so your learners can register for topics of interest and get all the credit they need with one purchase. Does your state have an ethics or professionalism requirement? Put together a bundle with all the ethics hours they need for the year to make it super easy for your members to get exactly what they need to be in compliance.
  3. Give them a discount. Have a fall sale during the month of October so your members are tempted to buy their programs earlier in the busy season. If customers spread their purchases out over the last few months of the year, it can help your staff to not feel so overwhelmed, come December.
  4. Take advantage of hot topics. Keep an eye out for any opportunity to host an event around a hot topic. These sessions are a surefire way to draw big crowds and attract those procrastinators.
  5. Repurpose that content. Many associations have different requirements about what can be considered live credit versus self study, and how many hours of each a member is required to have in a given year. This means you need to consider how you can mix up your content offering and use one program in numerous ways. One day-long, in-person event can be webcast live, offered as one large on-demand package, and broken up into smaller on-demand sessions rebroadcasted multiple times. These rebroadcasts are a great way to offer live credit without the work of creating additional programming.
  6. Entice them early. It’s never too soon to start thinking about next year, so make a plan to reach out to your early birds. In January offer a discounted subscription which allows your members to pick and choose their content and create their own bundle of programming. You can place a deadline on when they need to make their selections to ensure they get their hours in during the first half of the year.