Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians
MC | LMS and Oasis AMS
With its spring conference being a huge source of revenue and member connections, CACTV needed an alternative to its on-site event when COVID-19 prevented gathering in person.
MC | LMS allowed CACVT to host a virtual version of its spring conference, making continuing education tracking simple, attracting a record number of attendees and increasing sponsor revenue by 25 percent.
For those with pets, the people who devote their lives to taking the best care of them hold a special place in an owner’s heart. The Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians (CACVT) is devoted to educating and empowering those who’ve committed to providing top quality care to our animals in every stage of their lives.
“The CACVT is both a credentialing entity and a professional association for the vet tech community here in Colorado,” said CACVT Executive Director, Erin Henninger, CACVT. “Most of our members are either students who are in the process of becoming a certified veterinary technician or current practitioners.”
CACVT manages 2,800 members — 2,300 of which currently hold their vet tech certification — with two staff members and an eight-person board of directors. A big part of the group’s mission is to position vet techs to embrace a long-term sustainable career path in veterinary medicine.
The Truth About Vet Techs
Being a vet tech is a highly rigorous course of study and an even more rigorous job. Burnout is common. The attrition rate for the industry is high, with career life spans averaging seven years in Colorado and only five years nationally.
“This is a degree-holding profession,” said Henninger. “Most people don’t even finish paying off their student loans before they leave the industry, so one of our main focuses is exposing technicians to all the different things you can do in this career field beyond working in clinical practice.”
This problem creates a unique opportunity for CACVT to amplify membership value through the participation in events and continuing education, which is where the organization finds its value proposition.
...One of our main focuses is exposing technicians to all the different things you can do in this career field beyond working in clinical practice.
When they came to MemberClicks nearly one year ago, CACVT was limping through data sovereignty via spreadsheets. It was less than ideal. Although onboarding was difficult, the group experienced some gains when it came to profile data accuracy, simple event management, a professional website, access to financials, and the convenience of having forms and related data readily available.
The One Where Ross Says, “PIVOT!”
Then, in March 2020, our lives came to a collective halt. While this was inconvenient for most people, it was especially problematic for CACVT, given their spring conference was planned for April. Not only is their conference an important revenue source, it is also a popular option for members seeking certification renewal. Without the ability to gain education credits through attending the annual conference, many CACVT members would have been in a tight spot. Moving the event online was a must, and the association had to adjust quickly.
Henninger sprang into action, assessing several potential vendor partners that could help bring their virtual event to life...within six weeks time. After demoing various tools including Higher Logic, Henninger fell in love with MC | LMS.
“We were really just looking for some sort of professional platform to support our event,” Henninger said. “I thought, ‘If we can give it a more professional look and feel for our members, I would love that. And to be able to not have to build it all myself would be amazing.’”
Also amazing? Integration. As an existing MemberClicks customer using the Oasis AMS solution, CACVT felt energized by the seamless connection between the Oasis registration process and the end-user experience within the LMS, including single-sign-on and customized content access.
We had those two pieces in mind: the live event, and then the easy conversion to on-demand. Having the on-demand education transfer right back into the CE log (in Oasis) automatically was the best thing ever! It just made it so easy for our members.
“I love the fact that (the LMS) has the prerequisite to get the actual credit for (participation),” Henninger said. “Because as a part of offering online CEs, there’s all of these different requirements. Watching so much of the video and taking a quiz is an industry requirement for getting CEs for virtual events. So all of that was super appealing because that wasn’t something the Higher Logic platform could offer.”
Plus, in line with education management best practices, repurposing live content to be repackaged and consumed after the event is completed provides learners with additional opportunities for retention. Not to mention additional education units needed to renew certifications. CACVT jumped at this chance.
“We had those two pieces in mind: the live event, and then the easy conversion to on-demand,” said Henninger. “Having the on-demand education transfer right back into the CE log (in Oasis) automatically was the best thing ever! It just made it so easy for our members.”
Big Goals for Big Numbers
With MC | LMS, CACVT was able to quickly spin up a virtual event version of its in-person spring conference. They had four tracks per time slot, all of which they organized through MC | LMS, using Zoom for the live webinar platform.
Not only that, they were able to post some serious record-breaking numbers.
It was a record breaking event. Moving it virtually was huge. All the sponsors wanted to come and present to the crowd.
Henninger reported that attendance was up to 750 registrants over the 500-attendee average from the two previous years. Also, they generated additional sponsorship interest after announcing the event would be virtual, resulting in a 25 percent increase in sponsorship revenue.
“It was a record breaking event,” she said. “Moving it virtually was huge. All the sponsors wanted to come and present to the crowd,” Henninger said.
But Wait...There's Life Beyond Virtual Events?
We are all likely thinking (or hoping) that within the next year or so, our in-person events will be back to normal. No one wishes that more than CACVT.
“We have generally three to four events per year,” Henninger said. “We like to have in-person events. In our mission and strategic goals, our initiatives include member engagement and communication. So as soon as we can, we want to get back to in-person events because it’s such a great way for people to connect.”
When that day happens, CACVT recognizes that there will be additional opportunities to tap into and generate membership interest, value, and benefits. They feel so strongly about this that they converted from a month-to-month LMS contract to an annual contract because of the possibilities related to consistent usage of MC | LMS.
In our mission and strategic goals, one of our things is engagement and communications with our members. So as soon as we can, we want to get back to in-person events because it’s such a great way for people to connect.
Henninger said that online education is generally easy to find in Colorado for vet techs. CACVT offers plenty of CE credits, but other entities and organizations also offer their fair share. So where CACVT can set itself apart is offering unique resources to members on a consistent basis.
“Something that is on my radar is (using the LMS for) member onboarding,” Henninger said. “And having some pre-recorded videos about how to navigate the website — here are the most important things for you — would be a great member benefit.”
Henninger also has plans to create a library of interviews with leaders in the industry, showing their rise into the field. Showcasing these career opportunities will teach vet techs the many avenues they can travel beyond the clinical service route. Finally, Henninger would like to use their LMS to do grassroots advocacy training, which is a growing need in the field.
Spreading the Benefits
Henninger said that while their road to where they are hasn’t been easy, she is encouraged by the future because of CACVT’s relationship with MemberClicks.
“I definitely do recommend MemberClicks' LMS because it is just so easy to use, it integrates well, and we’ve really been impressed with that platform," she said. “And I think the resources that MemberClicks has put into the LMS have made it a better product.”
CACVT is also using its technology tools collaboratively with other state-level CVT associations. They will be partnering with the Utah and Kansas state associations to present education in November. Henninger was able to offer registration capabilities through Oasis, and content delivery through MC | LMS thanks to the flexibility and customization allowed by both connected software solutions.
I definitely do recommend MemberClicks LMS because it is just so easy to use, it integrates well, and we’ve really been impressed with that platform.
“I was really happy to be able to offer that as our contribution to this event, “ Henninger said.
MemberClicks is following along as super enthusiastic fans, and can’t wait to see all that’s in store for the future of CACVT’s education and certification plans. Keep up the great work; we really “ruff” what you’re doing (too far?).