Free Education for Association Professionals Is Out There, If You Know Where to Look

Are you determined to invest more in your professional development this year? Good for you. Your decision could be a life-changing one. The best way to achieve a goal like this is to anticipate obstacles and make a plan for overcoming them. 

The two biggest obstacles to professional development are time and money. You must be disciplined enough to block out time every week. That’s in your control. But money? If your employer doesn’t provide a sufficient budget for professional development, that’s a problem—and a bad-boss red flag. You’ll have to be disciplined enough to also set aside education funds out of every paycheck. 

But here’s the good news: you need time for professional development but you don’t always need money. Free education is out there for everyone in the association community, if you know where to look.   

Where to find free education for association professionals 

You’d be surprised by all the free education offered in our community. I’m an expert on this topic, so I know where to look—and that’s what you’ll find below. 

I’m also sharing a few membership and event options that require a budget. The investment is worth it, not just for the knowledge, but for the acquaintances and friends you’ll gain. If your employer won’t cover the entire cost, perhaps they’ll match your investment.  

Membership organizations for association professionals

You probably already know about ASAE and state societies of association executives (SAEs), but many other membership organizations also serve the association community. Some charge dues, some don’t.

.orgCommunity: online and in-person educational events, including specialized meetups by position, for members and non-members, plus their in-person Innovation Summit and Solutions Day

Association Women Technology Champions: online educational events, plus meetups around the country

Fridays@4: weekly online educational meetups

Product Community: monthly facilitated online sessions plus workshops

Professionals for Association Revenue: online educational events for members and non-members, plus their annual in-person RevUp Summit

Prometheus Consortium: online community and in-person retreat for senior executives

Sidecar: online community plus their in-person digitalNow conference

Educational events hosted by association industry partners and others

These in-person and online events attract a smaller crowd than ASAE conferences, which is why so many love them. Also, check out user conferences hosted by your technology partners. 

AMS Fest by Association Trends

Association Charette by Vista Cova 

CME Palooza by Derek Warnick and Scott Kober

Learning Business Summit by Tagoras/Leading Learning

Non-Due$-A-Palooza by Teri Carden

smiling woman at laptop thankful for free education for association professionals

Webinars and educational meetups hosted by association industry partners and others

If you want to stay informed about free webinars and educational events for the association community, check out Association Brain Food published by Deirdre Reid, CAE, every Friday morning. Here’s a list of webinar hosts who appear frequently in Association Brain Food. 

iMIS by ASI: our parent company hosts frequent webinars for association executives and staff along with in-person events

501Works: monthly webinars

Association Analytics: monthly webinars

Association Insights in Old Town (AIOT): monthly webinars

Association Xchange (formerly DC Idea Swap): monthly online educational sessions

Billhighway and Mariner Management: webinars and other educational events for chapter relations professionals, like meetups and their CEX (association component exchange) conference

Certification Network Group: online and in-person educational events

Data Analytics Network: monthly online educational sessions

HighRoad Solutions: monthly webinars

Impexium: webinars and other educational events, like their online Member Engagement Labs and in-person MemberSips

Qiqo: online educational meetups in their Association Marketplace

US Transactions Corporation: lots of webinars every month on all aspects of association management

If you’re an ASAE member, many of the Collaborate communities host regular online and in-person events and meetups. 

Podcasts hosted by association industry partners and others

You’d be amazed at the brilliant ideas that occur to you when hearing fellow association professionals in your ear while working out, vacuuming, or chopping vegetables. Search your favorite listening platform for these shows.

6 Degrees of Association by Core Adventures

Association 4.0 by Sherry Budziak of .orgSource

Association Chat Podcast by KiKi L’Italien of Big Red M

Association Hub Podcast by Angela Shelton (Answers for Associations) and Olena Lima (MemberBoat)

Association Rock Stars by Lowell Aplebaum of Vista Cova

Association Station by Melanie Padgett Powers of MelEdits

Association Strong! by Tom Morrison (Metal Treating Institute) and Dave Will (PropFuel)

Association Tech Insider by ASAE Technology Professionals Advisory Council

Association Transformation by Elisa Pratt, CAE (Brewer Pratt Solutions) and Andrew Chamberlain (Elevated)

Associations Thrive by Joanna Pineda of Matrix Group

Chamber Chat Podcast by Brandon Burton of Community Matters

Engaging in the Next by Colby Horton and Frank Humada of Association Briefings

Leading Learning Podcast by Jeff Cobb and Celisa Steele of Tagoras

Radio Free 501c by Cecila Sepp, CAE, CNP of Rogue Tulips Consulting

Reboot IT: 501c Technology Stuff by Dave Coriale, CAE (DelCor)

Sidecar Sync: Your Weekly Dose of Innovation for Associations by Amith Nagarajan and Mallory Mejias of Sidecar

The Association Mashup by Maddie Grant (Propel), Rick Bawcum (Cimatri), and Jamie Notter (Propel)

The Association Podcast by Jake Toohey (Adage Technologies) and Ben Muscolino (Breezio, Data Sangria)

That’s quite a list of free (and not-so-free) education and networking resources. Add a few podcast episodes to your queue, register for a webinar, subscribe to a blog, and check out a new organization or event. If you commit to pursuing knowledge and expanding your network, get ready for your life to change.

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