You know that your new association management system will improve your productivity, make your association events better and improve member engagement. But software only helps if it is actually used and used properly.
Many times, association staff members feel like they already have a process that works and learning a new AMS takes precious time. It’s not only a new financial commitment but an added responsibility for staffers. To help adopt your new software successfully, follow these 7 tips to ensure a smooth rollout.
If it’s your goal to have all your association staff and members use the software, be sure and choose an approachable, intuitive system. There’s a steep learning curve for some association management systems and lack of training can result in a painful adoption and high abandonment rate. If it’s possible, encourage your team to trial the systems you’re thinking about and ask for feedback. Giving team members the opportunity to weigh-in on the decision process can make them feel empowered and an important member of the team.
2. Tell your staff what problems the new association management system will help solve
Identify 2-3 immediate needs that the AMS will help improve right away. Consider your audience. If you’re trying to convince staff from accounting, member engagement and operations why they need a new AMS, use real examples that matter and resonate with each of them. Highlight the benefits of the association management software solution, not the features.
3. Set aside time and pay for training
When you see that “training” line item on the proposal, make sure you select it. Too often, associations opt for skipping the training because they want to save a little money. Training may seem like something that’s not required but in the long run will save you loads of time, help you adhere to best practices and get you up and running much quicker than DIY.
4. Customize training for your team
Learning new software varies depending on the person, skill level, and their attitude. Some team members may master software with ease while others may find the whole process draining and frustrating. Recognize that people learn in different ways and make sure you offer a variety of training options. Clearly communicate training options so your team can choose what works best for them.
5. Enlist the help of influencers
Getting influencers onboard right away will encourage the snowball effect. It’s best to include influencers from a variety of roles or departments too.
6. Start small, celebrate and evolve
Take an agile approach to your AMS that continually evolves. If you wait until everything is perfect, you’ll never start. As you get more processes automated, build on what’s working and improve what’s not. Keep morale strong by celebrating small wins along the way.
7. Plan collaborative work sessions
While you’re getting things rolled out, it’s crucial to regularly check in to see how things are working. Make sure you have plenty of coffee, water or Red Bull and go over what you did that month and how/if it had any impact on your business. Team work sessions will help ensure that objectives and goals are clear to everyone on the team.
Ready to get started with a new AMS but the board has brought the project to a stand still? See these tips to convince your stakeholder its the right move >>> 5 Tips to Presenting Software to the Board