Is your association still using Excel to manage your members? Is a majority of your day spent clicking copy and paste? If you spend more time organizing and updating your spreadsheet than you do creating great member experiences, it may be time for a priority check. Not convinced yet? Read through the scenarios below.
When it’s Time to Move Member Data from Excel to an AMS
Scenario #1 (Excel Hell):
A prospective member you’ve had your eye on for a few months has finally converted – hooray! They’ve filled out your membership application and submitted their payment. As a result, you get two emails with said information and now have to copy paste each item into a separate field in your Excel spreadsheet. Their information also needs to be manually added to the association email contact list and you have to generate a one-off invoice. From there, you need to give them access to the online member portal by setting them up with a username and password. All in all, this process could take more than 25 minutes.
Scenario #2 (AMS solution):
A prospective member you’ve had your eye on for a few months has finally converted – hooray! With your integrated membership application, they are automatically added to the database. They’re also sent an invoice and are immediately able to log in to the member portal with the username and password they set up in the application process. A notification with their submission is sent to you and with 2-3 clicks, you send them a pre-written welcome email. Time? 5 minutes.
Does the first scenario sound like you? If your responsibilities revolve around processing new members rather than acquiring or retaining members, it’s crucial you find an association management system. Think about the amount of work it takes to recruit, sign, and retain one member. If you could decrease the amount of time it takes to officially sign that member, you could spend more time cultivating a great member experience.
Not convinced yet? Check out these 4 compelling reasons you need to move from Excel to an AMS.
1. Organization and Automation
It takes a lot of work to keep your database clean, organized and up-to-date, whether you’re using Excel or an AMS. However, while Excel is a static form of member data, an AMS database is updated dynamically and across the board – meaning when a member logs in and updates their address in the member profile, that data is simultaneously changed in your database. Or, if you need to void an event registration in the event module, that financial data will be tracked in the member profile as well. This relationship between action and result in an AMS will save you time and keep your database organized and up-to-date.
2. User Power
An AMS allows a member to log into the system and make updates on their profile without you lifting a finger. By giving them the power to change and edit their own information, not only will you have more accurate records, but you’ll have more time for important tasks.
3. Membership Expiration / Renewal
An AMS can automatically terminate an individual’s or company’s membership based on their paid-thru date. This information will also be reflected in your database and in reports. Same can be said with membership renewals. If a member pays their dues on time, their account will automatically be renewed for the next year. And while a member may automatically lose access to your member portal even if you aren’t using an AMS, the tedious effort of updating your spreadsheet can be very time-consuming, especially around dues renewal season.
4. Admin Collaboration
While Excel does a great job at tracking numbers and analyzing metrics, it’s not the best place for collaboration between staff members. By using an AMS, you can see all the edits and updates in one place. As the “super” admin, you can also set limits on what tools your staff members can see.
While moving from an excel to an AMS can be challenging and scary, it will save you so much time and money. The benefits outweigh the risks. If you’re convinced but don’t know where to start, reference the posts below we have on evaluating systems that will work for you.