Evaluating if Paper Certificates are the Right Option for Your Association

Should you continue to use paper certificates to honor achievements, or should you embrace the technology and go for digitized certificates? If you aren’t sure which option to choose, or if you need help convincing other stakeholders in the viability of digital certifications, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of digital certificates, starting with the drawbacks.

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The Argument Against Digital Certificates

Although it’s obvious that we support digital certificates here at Accredible, we do recognize the most valid argument for paper certificates and against digital certificates. It’s this:

Paper certificates are easy to hang on walls. Frame it up. Hang it up. Beam with delight whenever someone comes in your office and recognizes your accomplishments.

This tangible form of recognition has its merits. Not only does it serve as a visual reminder for one’s skillset, it’s also a handsome decoration for any office.

The problem is that only the people who come to your office will be able to see such distinctions. More and more professionals meet and network with others online and not in an office. For the modern professional, a paper certificate is a nostalgic throwback but isn’t very useful for making connections. In addition to having that certificate, the professional will then need to take the extra step to list his or her professional certifications online.

The Benefits of Digital Certificates

Although digital certificates don’t carry the same sentimental attachment as paper certificates, they are much more effective. Let’s discuss several key benefits you’ll gain by implementing a digital certification strategy for your association.

Digital Certificates are Socially Shareable

As soon as an individual becomes certified through your association, they can start spreading the news to their social circles, current employers, and potential employers, too. Instead of simply “talking” about their certification in abstract terms, they can share proof of their certification in the form of the digital certificate. The proud and newly certified can post a verifiable digital certificate to their various social media pages, including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

It’s human nature to want to share one’s achievements with others. Our digital certificates have built-in social share options that gently encourage your students to celebrate their accomplishments on social media.

Digital Certificates Link Back to Your Association

An incredible benefit of digital certificates is that your association gets promoted, too. Whenever your students share their credentials with others, they’re also marketing for your association (for free). Imagine all of the word-of-mouth marketing you’ll get by issuing digital certificates to your graduating students.

[bctt tweet=”Your organization gets a boost whenever someone shares their credentials with others.” username=”accredible”]

Digital certificates expand your reach exponentially. Your marketing dollars can only take you so far. However, you’ll go a lot further when your students are sharing your branded digital certificates to their social circle. Let’s say 100 students complete your course, earn certification, and share the news on social media. Even if each of their social circles only contain 100 people, you could potentially reach 10,000 people that may not have heard of you otherwise.

Digital Certificates are More Secure

To protect your association’s reputation, you must control your entire certification process.

The certification process starts by creating a rigorous course and then effectively managing that course. When the student graduates, you’ll remain in complete control over their certification. While it’s true that the student earns the certification, it’s your association that issues and stands behind the certification. This means that you should control who receives it and also how they may use it.

It falls on your shoulders to ensure that no one can duplicate or mimic your certification for their own unscrupulous purposes. Anyone with beginner PhotoShop skills can re-create a paper certificate. Paper certification fraud is incredibly easy these days.

However, the secure, digital credentials that we provide cannot be faked. They’re immediately verifiable through a third party (that’s us). You need this extra level of security because you can’t afford for certification fraud to undermine trust in your association.

Digital Certificates are Easy to Create

You don’t have to spend hours poring over various certificate templates online. Accredible makes it fast and easy to design and customize a professional template. We’ll help you whether you’d like to choose from a standard design or create a new branded design virtually from scratch.

By the way, our templates include typo detection and auto-correction to help you avoid glaring misspellings. You can also turn off this feature at any time.

Digital Certificates are Easy to Renew or Revoke

Some certificates are one and done. Other certifications require renewal.

If your certification is only good for a designated amount of time, you need the ability to revoke existing certificates or cause to expire at a specific time. Paper certificates can’t be taken back, but digital certificates can be.

With digital certifications, you control and revoke access with the click of a button. Former students who are still profiting off of your association’s good name with old or invalid certifications? There’s no need to worry about it– simply revoke their access to the certification.

Digital certificates are always up to date and immediately verifiable.

Digital Certificates are Cheaper to Produce

Another drawback to paper certificates is cost. You can’t use copy paper to print a professional certification– not without tarnishing your own brand. To issue paper certifications, it’s necessary to splurge on premium card stock paper. Of course, you’ll also spend money on ink and labor. Additionally, if you can’t give certificates to students in person, you’ll need to pay for postage.

Added up, you’ll spend considerably more for the impractical distribution of paper certificates than you would for their digital counterpart.

We estimate that you’ll save up to 85% less with digital certificates than you would with paper. Plus, you’re saving trees, so there’s an additional reason to consider digital.

Digital Certificates are Delivered Instantly

Paper certificates are not immediately available for delivery. Not only do you need to design your certificates, you’ll also need to print and mail them. In some cases, the process may take weeks.

With Accredible, you can have your digital certificates ready in a matter of minutes. Once it arrives to the intended student, your digital certificate is immediately shareable on social media. Digital certificates don’t get “lost in transit,” adding even more time to delivery. Students get access to a secure link that hosts their certificate. From this page, they have several options for sharing, including posting to LinkedIn, adding to their email signature, and downloading as a PDF.

Digital Certificates Can Become Paper Certificates

Even though you’re issuing digital certificates, your students still have the option to download and print the certificate, too. This feature appeals to students who want to proudly display their certification on their office wall.

Digital certificates offers the best of both worlds.

Final Thoughts

As you’ve learned, digital certificates provide a way to reward your members while growing brand recognition at the same time. The added ability to market yourself through digital certification is one of the biggest reasons why you should embrace this new technology. Because paper certificates are steadily declining in value, it’s time to shift toward a more secure, controllable, and cost-effective strategy. Get started with digital certificates now.

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