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The Activity Director's Office
The NCCAP Page
The National Certification Council
for Activity Professionals
Our Mission:  The
National Certification Council
for Activity Professionals is a
credentialing body, which sets
standards and criteria to
ensure that those we serve
have optimal life experiences
Why Become
NCCAP Certified?

1. Federal Law, OBRA, states
that an activity department
must be directed by a
"qualified professional." One
of the ways to become
qualified is to become a
Certified Activity Professional.

2. NCCAP certification is
recognized by HCFA (Health
Care Financing
Administration) as an
organization that certifies
activity professionals who
work specifically with the

3. NCCAP certification
assures administrators and
surveyors that you have met
certain professional
standards to become certified.

4. Many administrators will
only hire activity professionals
who are already certified.

5. Some administrators offer
a higher salary to a certified

6. Become NCCAP certified
so others will know that you
are nationally qualified and
giving quality activity service to


May derive from a wide variety
of curricula: Social Work,
Recreation, Education, and
Business degrees. These are
a few of the educational
backgrounds that represent
our certified members.

Activity work experience with
elderly populations, where at
least 50% are 55+ years of
age. Some volunteer work
with elderly clients may be

Current education (within past
5 years): workshops,
seminars, college courses
that keep the activity
professional abreast of
present trends. NCCAP's
Body of Knowledge contains
27 areas of education with
many subheadings that are

May include: advising a group,
working one to one, teaching
a class, conducting
workshops, publishing
professional articles,
supervising students and/or
managing 5 or more activity
staff persons.

The cost of being certified
initially ranges from $45 to
$65 depending upon the level.
Renewal is required every two
years with 20-40 hours of
continuing education and a
fee of $40.

For further information
for Activity Professionals
in Long Term Care Settings

Copyright 2004-Present
The Activity Director's Office
All Rights Reserved

State Association Management
Kathy Hughes, ADC
NCCAP President


The key to any association is membership. Local, state and national associations are
always looking for people to join their associations. All too often the members are
looking for the benefits to joining and the officers cannot give them concrete answers
as to their benefits, which in turn lowers the amount of people in the association. This
segment will address membership building, retaining members and what those
allusive benefits are.

Membership Building

The first challenge to the Membership Committee is to find those people who are
passionate about your association and recruit them to help with a strategy on
building a good membership base. These are the members that have been in the
association the longest and have a vested interest in making sure that the
association lasts. They are the people that bring in the new members and the people
who should welcome the new members at any association function. Make them the
“Welcoming Committee” at your next conference or workshop. Make sure that they
are recognized at every event and honored in a way that makes them part of the
membership team. One of the ways to do this is to give them a professional nametag
that has their name, work title (certification title or work title) and the name of the
association. Encourage everyone to wear these “golden name tags” at all of your

The second challenge is your marketing tool. Is your association brochure
professional looking? Does it have all of the benefits written out and/or all of your
association accomplishments? Do the members have enough of the brochures to
take with them to meetings, workshops or conferences? Does it have the person’s
name, address and work number so that potential members can call with questions?
Is the brochure sent to activity educators in your state so that they can display them
at their session? Making sure that the brochure reaches as many potential members
as possible is key to getting new members. Don’t forget the activity assistants with a
lower rate or special offer for them. They are the Activity Directors of the future!

The Membership Drive is one of the most feared ways to bring in new members.
Many state and national association shy away from sending their brochures out
“cold”. Although on a state/province level this is one of the best ways to assure that
the word has reached all of your potential members. The brochure should be easy to
read, fill out and return with in a reasonable deadline. Perhaps even a special one-
time rate for new members, or a discount to your next conference for new members
joining within a specified time frame. You could try a two for one rate incorporating
two memberships for a lower rate if they both come from one facility. A letter written
from the association president that encourages people to join would also be a good
insert for the mailing. Long standing members should also be encouraged to write a
welcoming letter. State your accomplishments and your obvious benefits like your
newsletters, your discounts and the ability for your members to earn free NCCAP
credit for newsletter articles.

Membership Marketing

Why should I join your organization? WIFM? (What's In it For Me?) Interestingly there
is an untapped resource available for activity professionals that they take little
advantage of. Perhaps we figure that activity professionals don't have the tools to
use it. Perhaps we think that many people are unaware of it's potential. That
resource is the Internet. Few State/Province Associations can be found on the
Internet, yet those that are available have seen an increase in their membership and
their conference participation. Most of the websites that are available will gladly let
you post-upcoming conferences and meetings for FREE! Why should you take
advantage of this? Because the Internet offers the ability to market to hundreds of
Activity Professionals who don't know about you’re association, but are searching for
information. Just check the various “Bulletin Boards” available for Activity

NCCAP's Bulletin Board receives about 300 visitors a day with 100 of them looking
for educational opportunities. SeniorAct also has listings of upcoming conferences
that allow individuals to look for an educational session near them. The various
websites offer their associations the ability to track and record visitors to their sites
and they know who is looking for what type of information.

Then revisit your association to discuss what you can do to market your association
to those looking for information. Interesting programs that meet the needs of your
members will have others talking about how great it is to access your association.
Marketing is not exclusive to mailings, newsletters or your website. Having all three
tools does allow your association to cover the needs of your potential members.
Having your state code available in all three types of marketing will educate those
looking that information. Having a State Surveyor speak at your next meeting or
conference will encourage people to attend and just might peek the interest of

Marketing not only includes investing in the future of your association but also says
that your association is a professional entity that supports the long-term care
industry. You may want to take out an ad in an Administrators Convention Booklet or
sponsor an educational event at a Dietary conference. Both would bring the activities
side to other professions and encourage participation in your association.
Membership Retention

Making sure that your association meets the needs and interests of its membership is
just like a “Quality Assurance” study for your association. A team from the
membership committee should be surveying the membership on a regular basis.
Finding out what the members want and what the association can do for them is an
important element in membership retention. Making members feel good about their
investment and their careers is crucial to a good association. Empowering members
to take an active role also leads to members sticking around.

The first impression is always the lasting impression, “you never get a second
chance to make a first impression”. What does the new member receive upon joining
your association? The mailing of a packet of information to a new member can
include by-laws, committee descriptions, a listing of officers, a listing of committee
chair people, the state and/or federal regulations concerning activities and a
welcoming letter from the President. Some associations include another membership
brochure and ask the new member to sign up some one else within thirty days and
they will receive an additional discount to the annual conference. Information about
other associations or opportunities can also be included in the new member packet.

Survey your members through direct mailings.

The newsletter could work but if someone gets a personal letter with a stamped
return envelope you are more likely to get a larger return. Find out what they would
like for their membership, what topics they would like for continuing education, what
information is valuable for them, what they would like to see in the newsletter or how
they feel about upcoming legislation. Keep the questions simple and the responses
simple, as activity professionals don’t think that they have a lot of time to answer a lot
of questions.

Recognize your members every chance that you get. Make sure that at all of your
events there is time set aside to reward your members. Include recognitions in your
newsletters; celebrate milestones such as the 100th member, or 25 years in the field.
Make sure that the members are given the opportunity to be proud of what they do at
your annual meeting. Send a card to everyone during National Activity Professionals
Week that is positive and can be displayed.

Member Benefits

So many times the officers of associations are challenged with the question, “What’s
in it for me?” Besides the obvious benefits of the discounts to conferences,
workshops and seminars, the newsletter and the opportunity to run for an office and
work more, this can turn anyone’s hair gray. The benefits can be hard to pinpoint for
any association.

The members will get out of an association as much as they put into it. Teaching
members that there is strength in numbers for legislative issues could be stated in
the newsletter. Telling members that they have opportunities to network with other
professionals and to gain state of the art activity programming can be done through
the Presidential welcome at the annual conference. Giving the members an
opportunity to earn six free continuing education credits for their NCCAP certification
through your newsletter is worth the cost of most memberships and deserves an
article in your newsletter.

The ability to meet people from other parts of the state/province or country through
attending your conferences and workshops is also a “hidden” benefit. The
opportunity to bring information back to their facilities can be a benefit. Encouraging
members to utilize these benefits and to seek out opportunities through your
association can be very beneficial.

Your membership committee is the key to your success. Make sure that they have a
task to do and the means to do it. Your Membership Chairperson should be able to
empower his/her committee to run a membership drive, survey the members and
encourage the existing members to take an active role in your association.

Membership Committee Ideas

  • Develop a “New Member Packet” to include information about your association

  • Target a section of your state/province for a membership drive at least six
    months prior to you annual conference.

  • Offer a new member discount for your next even

  • Target Activity Assistants for a membership drive offering a reduced rate to
    your association

  • Have committee members survey existing members to see what else you can

  • Recognize new members in each newsletter as well as the members who have
    renewed their membership

  • Offer a discount coupon in your newsletter for any upcoming event or ask a
    vendor to recognize your membership with a specific discount
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