SimpleCert Recipient Portals

SimpleCert Recipient Portals – Distributing certificates via individual portals

One of the most popular features  among SimpleCert Monthly Subscribers is the Recipient Portal.  In this Blog we’ll describe what it is, how it works, and why it’s such a valuable feature to users with frequent certificate distribution needs.

If you are reading this blog, you are probably familiar with how SimpleCert works:  SimpleCert is a Certificate Management System.  It allows you to create a free certificate template, and then use that template design to distribute customized certificates to your recipients via a notification email.  Each recipients’ certificate is automatically customized by data that you upload into the system (first and last name, company, title of the class they have completed, for example) prior to sending your notification emails out.  Recipients simply click on a link that’s included in the notification email to access their certificate, and from there they can save or print their certificate out.

Pretty cool, huh?  Not so fast though – here’s where things get even cooler with the Recipient Portal.

The Recipient Portal feature is included in a monthly subscription to SimpleCert.  As a monthly subscriber, you can brand Recipient Portals with your logo for an added marketing plug.   Then when you use SimpleCert to distribute certificates, each recipient who you send a certificate to will have a Recipient Portal created for them in addition to the traditional certificate download link.  Every certificate that you send to that person in the future will also be placed into their portal and is available for them to access.

Let’s say for example you are an instructor for Continuing Education classes, and your students take your classes to earn credits that count towards their Continuing Education requirements.  Over several years you can expect your students to take multiple, if not dozens, of classes from you.  If you are a monthly subscriber to SimpleCert, each of your students will have their own individual portal where all certificates they receive from you will be stored. They no longer have to track and store the certificates that you send out, and all of their certificates are accessible at any time from within their portal.  There’s no cost to them since it’s automatically included in your subscription to SimpleCert.  You gain some valuable brand recognition with a branded Recipient Portal, and you provide a fantastic bonus to your recipients at the same time!

It’s pretty easy to see why for those in the know, the Recipient Portal feature is perhaps the greatest feature of SimpleCert.  We invite you to log on and see for yourself today!



SimpleCert saves you TIME

Isn't your time worth it?
SimpleCert saves you TIME

Have a beautiful certificate template you’ve already designed? Great! Just login into SimpleCert’s builder, choose the blank – custom certificate template and import that great certificate as a background. (HINT: Click on change background instead of add image, it will automatically resize full certificate page size.)


We hope that SimpleCert then extends and improves the certificate process even further by allowing you, after importing a great template, to then email it to your recipients. No more updating each certificate and saving individually!


SimpleCert improves the Certificate process by saving you TIME:

  1. Automagically creating each individual Certificate for you (aren’t merge fields great!)
  2. Emailing all recipients at once (using secure SMTP servers or even your own-coming soon!)
  3. Easily searching certificates by project, recipient name, or email (no more where is that email?!)
  4. Updating Certificate names on the fly (seriously, update name and email again in seconds!)


Other features that go beyond the certificate builder are really in the sending and storing. Email features include allowing you to customize each email for every project/certificate with recipient’s name, the award/reward title, and the ability to add your logo and attachments. However, we think the magic is actually being able store and resend certificates. There are requirements for CPE providers, for example, to keep certificates for 5 years (auditing does happen!) And what better service as a CPE provider to be able to easily send those certificates out again (for free!) for those recipients trying to get all their credits aggregated and tallied for the annual renewal or the dreading individual audit!


So what’s stopping you from improving your Certificate Process?! Use SimpleCert today and sign up for a free account. And for those of you that have signed up but haven’t got passed creating your first Cert Set, take the plunge. Isn’t your time worth it?

IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider – Check out SimpleCert!

According to, “The Annual Filing Season Program is intended to recognize and encourage unenrolled tax return preparers who voluntarily increase their knowledge and improve their filing season competency through continuing education (CE).”  As an IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider, that’s where you come in…to provide those 16 hours of continued education per year! The content is your bailiwick, but we can help you create the certificate of completion. You are required to give tax preparers who attend your program a certificate of completion. To help you with this process, we have a NEW updated template that meets all the requirements listed on the IRS Sample Certificate.

SimpleCert IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider Certificate Template
The beauty of SimpleCert is that once you update the IRS template with your CE Provider Name and Address, as well as add your Designated Officer Name and signature, all you need is an excel file with the data merge fields that will change for each program. You can even use the same IRS Provider Excel Template that you use to submit your participants’ information through your online CE provider account! The parts that change: Program Name, IRS Issued Program Number, CE Hours Awarded, Program Completion Date, Location, and Email are all merge fields that SimpleCert uses to create your participants’ certificates.

Once set up, it takes seconds to create and email your certificates. It’s that simple! SimpleCert stores all your certificates for your program as a single project for your records. This includes the master certificate of completion and all records of who completed programs and when. Did you know you need to keep these records for a period of four years? See Standard No.13 for a complete list of records to be kept in the event you ever get audited!

Now that SimpleCert is here to help with your certificate management, you can sleep soundly at night! If you wish to apply to become an IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider, please visit IRS CE Provider. Are you a NASBA CPE Sponsor? If so, you may become a CE provider recognized for continuing education purposes by an IRS CE accrediting organization.


An Experiment Shows that Certificates Encourage Students to Attend After-School Tutoring Sessions

“We found that the students in the certificate group attended 42.5 percent more of their allocated tutoring hours than students in the control group.”

We found the following article that quantitatively shows that certificates of recognition encourage Students, read below:

Matthew G. Springer, Vanderbilt University

Many parts of the federal education law called No Child Left Behind were highly visible, but one of the less known provisions, the Supplemental Educational Services provision set aside funds to allow low-income students in poorly performing schools to get free access to after-school tutoring. Research has found that the benefits of this provision vary, depending on location and the types of providers offering tutoring services. But regardless of benefits, low attendance has been a consistent problem. Using a randomized experiment, my colleagues and I set out to test whether students eligible for tutoring would attend sessions more regularly if they got either certificates of praise or money for doing so.

How the Study Worked

We randomly selected 300 5th to 8th grade students in a large southern urban school district who were eligible to receive supplemental educational services. Prior studies found tutoring services in this district to be relatively high quality. To see whether use of those services could be improved, we randomly assigned students in our study to one of three subgroups:

  • Students in one group got a reward of $100 (distributed via an online platform) for consistent attendance at tutoring sessions.
  • Students in a second group got certificates of recognition for consistent attendance, signed by the school’s district superintendent and mailed to their homes.
  • Students in the third group were a control group, whose members received no experimental incentives.

Praise Matters More Than Money

Our results were striking. The students who were offered up to $100 for regular attendance were no more likely to attend tutoring sessions than if students were offered nothing at all. However, when we offered students and their parents a certificate, attendance went dramatically up. Students in the certificate group attended about 40 percent more of their tutoring hours than students in the control group who got no rewards or praise.

Our results parallel those from prior studies, where paying students and teachers for higher test scores proved ineffective. However, those earlier studies were not a definitive test of monetary rewards, because teachers and students might have lacked the knowledge or support they needed to improve test scores. In other words, you can offer a man more money to catch more fish, but he will not be able to claim the money if you don’t help him improve his fishing skills.

In our study of attendance at tutoring sessions, the situation was different. We offered money to students who attended regularly – and when they got to their tutoring sessions, there was someone to help them improve their skills in reading and math. The ambiguity that plagued interpretation of the experiments where teachers and students were offered money to improve test scores does not hold for our experiment.

Although the benefits of the monetary incentives were negligible, we found that the students in the certificate group attended 42.5 percent more of their allocated tutoring hours than students in the control group. This is a very strong effect – and the impact of offering the certificate for good attendance was especially strong for female students, who attended significantly more of their allocated tutoring hours than male students who were also offered certificates.

Policy Implications

Policymakers and practitioners seeking to increase attendance of tutoring sessions and other underutilized student supports should note how cost effective it is to offer certificates. In our study, providing the certificates cost about $9 for each student who completed all of the tutoring sessions. The cost for monetary rewards was obviously much more – more than $100 for each student who completed all the allocated hours. In short, the certificate intervention is more than 6,000 times more cost-effective than the monetary incentive. Our estimates are rough and paint an extreme picture. But they illustrate an important conclusion: non-monetary incentives can both work better than doling out money and can be a lot cheaper way to nudge students toward educational success.

Even so, the results of our experiment do not offer a comprehensive answer to an ongoing puzzle: Would it work to offer certificates of recognition to try to motivate many kinds of desirable student behavior?  Using certificates might not work as well if they were more widely used, because economic theory suggests that the value ascribed to a certificate of recognition would likely have diminishing marginal utility – that is, students would care less about earning these certificates if they were awarded all the time to reward all kinds of things teachers and parents want students to do.

Even in our own study, it might be that a second certificate of recognition would not have the same impact as the first. Furthermore, earning a certificate of recognition might not matter as much to a student who consistently brings home excellent report cards as it would to a student who earns lower grades. In real world applications, educators using non-monetary incentives may need to take such possible diminishing returns into account.

Even so, our results should inspire measured enthusiasm. Many other experiments with student incentives have registered disappointing results, but we found something that works well at very low cost. Educators should try incentives of this sort to boost participation in underutilized programs. And our study should also inspire researchers to do more nuanced and imaginative research on student incentives.

Read more in Matthew Springer, “Monetary vs. Non-Monetary Student Incentives for Tutoring Services: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” (with Brooks Rosenquist and Walker Swain). Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness 8 (2015):453-474.                                                                                                                      April 2016

This article was originally published on Scholars Strategy Network. Read the original article.

Are you a NSCA® CEU Provider?

Create your certificates with SimpleCert!

Now that we understand some of the benefits of why becoming a provider is beneficial (see last post), let’s look more closely as CEU providers, for example we wrote about NASBA.

We believe that continuous education allows individuals to improve their craft and stay present as there will always be improvements, advancements, skills, and changes. For example, we came across NSCA® – National Strength and Conditioning Association.

They provide certification for the following programs:

• The Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®)
• The Certified Special Population Specialist® (CSPS®)
• The NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer® (NSCA-CPT®)
• The Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator® (TSAC-F®)

To stay compliant and be able to re-certify every 3 years, trainers/facilitators/specialist have the option to take an exam or complete and report continuing education units (CEUs) . Depending on when your original certification date is, you may have to earn up to 6.0 CEUs. In their world of strength and conditioning, scientific knowledge, techniques in training, and new equipment are ever changing. Certification is a way to testify that these individuals are competent.

As a NSCA® CEU provider you have enough on your plate to seek CEU approval of your activity and meet the requirements of the application process. Let SimpleCert help with easily creating the certificate you need to provide once individuals have demonstrated completion of your approved activity. Once you create this certificate in SimpleCert, adding your logo and own design, you may reuse the certificate template for all your activities. Just have participant’s name, activity name, and date all be merge fields in your template.

And although each participant has to report activity directly to NSCA and maintain their own records. Using SimpleCert is an easy way to have them log into your account and keep their documentation on file through our attendee portal and administrative STORE module.

Thank you, NSCA® and its providers for dedicating your organizations to improving, helping, and researching ways to advance the strength and conditioning professional’s knowledge that in-turn helps others find ways to improve their health.

How Award Certificate Templates Can Help Motivate Students

A certificate of recognition for a job well done is a great way to stimulate follow-through and reinforce participation. To reward a student with something tangible like a certificate allows the student to display his or her accomplishments. They can show their parents, siblings, peers and most importantly themselves, by hanging it up on their wall. It is also a great way motivate students to set higher expectations for themselves and their peers. Implementing a reward program is beneficial not only for the student but for those around them.

  • The student is acknowledged for a specific behavior. This makes the student feel connected and valued, which is a basic human need.
  • When a student is positively reinforced (by receiving a reward), this motivates others around them to want to succeed as well.
  • The achieving student realizes what he or she can accomplish and this motivates them to continue to want to succeed.

SimpleCert makes it easy to create student award certificates such as: Math Wonder, Rocket Scientist Award, Best Handwriting Award, Grammar Master, Reading Rockstar, Perfect Attendance Award, Best Citizenship Award, Most Improved Award, Most Valuable Player, Student of the Month Award to name a few.

Certificates can also reward the giver…..

Are you a NASBA CPE Sponsor? SimpleCert is the solution to your CPE submission requirements.

CPE Certificate of Completion

The idea and concept of SimpleCert was born from the need to find a simple solution to creating certificates of completion for Group Internet Based programs. While many of the webinar platforms now have a way to create certificates, they don’t have the ability to store them or have them conveniently located in one place. As a NASBA CPE Sponsor, you can use, create, and access SimpleCert for each of your CPE program certificates. SimpleCert automatically keeps required records of participation, dates, and number of CPE credits earned, all within a single management system.

However, the best part of SimpleCert might actually be how it supports you and your certificate recipients after credits have been awarded. With SimpleCert’ s flexible subscription plans, you can choose how to manage your CPE Program. Our monthly subscription plans provide you with a custom branded portal for your participants to log in and access all their certificates in one place at any time (even after the event). This plan also allows you to export your program certificates and recipient lists together to keep for your five-year retention requirement.  Or you may want to select SimpleCert’ s Pay-As-You-Go plan, which still allows you to access to re-send past certificates and track distribution, but does not require a monthly commitment from you.

Don’t want to commit to a SimpleCert subscription until NASBA approves your program? No problem! Use your monthly free credits to create the certificate that needs to be submitted with your application. Just follow their guidelines here: We even have a free certificate template with the necessary required elements listed available for you to use.

Certificate of the Month Program

Hello to the SimpleCert Community!  Frequent readers of this blog will know that we go to great effort here  to provide you with tips, tricks and updates on how to make SimpleCert work even harder for you.  For today’s blog, we have exciting news!  Instead of another blog on upcoming feature enhancements, It’s time for us to highlight and showcase you. 

Today we are pleased to announce the creation of a new program that is designed to showcase you, the regular weekly users of SimpleCert, and the various and creative ways that you have utilized SimpleCert to work for you.  We’re calling it the “Certificate of the Month” program, and each month we will recognize one of you as our official Certificate of the Month.

Our goal in launching this program is simple:  We’ve been continually impressed and amazed at the creativity, and professionalism that some of you have utilized to create your certificate templates.  Some that we have seen are flat out awesome in their design and effectiveness.  We feel that by showcasing some of the best uses of SimpleCert, we can inspire and help others out there with ideas of how to make their own unique certificate masterpiece.

Our criteria for selecting a Certificate of the Month is fairly straight forward.  Entrants will be reviewed by our (ahem) esteemed panel of judges, with attention paid to creativity, use of graphics and design, and the effective use of elements of SimpleCert to achieve the greatest levels of automation  Also, to be considered for the certificate of the Month, the CertSet must have been used in at least one Project.  If you’d like your certificate to be considered for the Certificate of the Month program, or you know of someone who you want to nominate, send an email to .  Be sure to include the company URL and title of the CertSet that you are nominating.  Lucky winners of the Certificate of the Month program will receive 250 credits to their account!

So be sure to check out the new Certificate of the Month page on our website, here.  We’ll add winners to this page as they are announced.  We’d also like to add a special congratulations to our inaugural winner to this program, Kris Cerone, from Escondido Adult School!  Great job Kris!

As always, our thanks go out to all of you in the SimpleCert community, for your trust, advice and help.   And be sure to enter the Certificate of the Month program!  It’s a great way to earn some recognition and respect from your peers, plus a few free credits.  And who knows?  Maybe we’ll even create and send you a certificate if you win!

The SimpleCert Crew

Understanding how credits are used, updating to your Certificate Templates, and more exciting items around the corner!

Hello to the SimpleCert Community! As is normal for the spring season, we’ve been busy with updates and fixes to allow SimpleCert to work even better for you. In addition to that, several of you have contacted us with questions regarding how credits are charged to your account, and we felt it would be a good idea to fully explain how that process works so you have a clear understanding how credits are used in your SimpleCert account. Also in this blog is some information on how you can ensure your SimpleCert subscription is up to date, and then to wrap up we’ll leave you with some exciting announcements of things to come.

As you are all probably aware, a free subscription to SimpleCert gives you the ability to create one certificate template. Remember a certificate template (what we call a “Cert Set”) is a certificate design, and a corresponding notification email that you send to your recipients to distribute that certificate. With a free subscription to SimpleCert, you can use that Certificate template up to 10 times per month.

Let’s say for example you teach a yoga class, and you have 10 students per month in that class. You could use SimpleCert to design a yoga class certificate template (Cert Set), and then at the end of each month, you could email each of your 10 students a customized certificate from SimpleCert – all for free. Brilliant! NOW – let’s say business is good, and you decide to increase the size of your yoga class up to 20 students per month. As part of the class completion, you will need to create a total of 20 certificates per month – one for each student. SimpleCert’s free subscription will cover the first 10 certificates as you know, but then you will need to purchase the ability to create 10 more certificates to cover your full class size. When you purchase credits, you are purchasing the ability to create additional certificates above what’s provided in the free subscription. Once credit allows you to create one certificate.

Notice that I’ve taken care to describe a credit as the ability to create a single certificate, and not to distribute – or email – that certificate. That’s an important distinction, and one that several of you have been asking about. The reason for this is clear when you think about it. SimpleCert is designed to allow you to distribute certificates however and whenever it works best for you. If a recipient has lost the notification email you previously sent for example, you can re-send that notification email to that person without additional cost. Some people prefer to print out certificates to distribute to people in person, versus distributing certificates via email. A system that tracked usage by email blasts would obviously not work for them.

In fact, once you have created a certificate for someone, you can send it out multiple ways, and multiple times:  You can print it out, you can email it, and re-email it…. as much as you need and you will never use more than one credit for that certificate.  This is also why credits are deducted from your account when you create certificates by saving a project, and not when you actually send them out.  So remember the rule:  one credit equals one certificate – not the ability to send that certificate – and you will be good to go.

Next up – here’s another topic worth talking through, as a few of you have also asked how bug fixes and feature enhancements are rolled into your certificate templates and accounts. I’ll try not to get too far down into the details here!  When you use SimpleCert to create Diplomas, Award Certificates, etc, you are utilizing software that resides in the cloud – but like all browser-based software SimpleCert also leverages elements that are cached (stored) within your internet browser.  When new updates and bug fixes are released, we must deliver those enhancements not only to the cloud, but we also have to tell your computer browser to clear its cache and pull down fresh updates and code.  There’s a handy feature within your account that will allow YOU to perform this action, whenever needed.  In the account settings area of your account, note there is a section titled “Updates.”Simplecert Updates

By clicking in there and clicking “Update System” you are automatically telling your browser to pull down any new and updated code.  When there is a new update release we will notify you, but it’s also a great idea to periodically go in and update your system just to make sure everything is current.  If you contact our support with an issue, chances are the first thing they will ask you to do is to update your system.  So when in doubt, update your system! You will then know you are on the up and up.

Lastly, we are always working here to improve SimpleCert.  Keep the comments, suggestions and questions coming – a good portion of our feature upgrades come from you!  Keep them coming.  We have some exciting enhancements to release, as well as improved ways to get information out to you.  So stay tuned to this blog, use the FAQ page on our website, and leverage the world class support team here to help.  Thanks again to each of you!

The SimpleCert Team

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