Searching for an association management software (AMS) can be tricky; there are so many platforms out there with different tools, prices, set-up and more. They can be expensive and confusing.
Whether you’re an established association in need of a new association management software or are a new organization starting from square one, finding an AMS that fits your needs, data and size is essential to running a successful association.
What are your goals?
Before we dive into the specific tools included in most systems, let’s think in broad terms. What are your association’s goals? What are your goals as an administrator?
- Automate admin tasks to save time and money
- Cultivate your association’s community to increase member engagement and retention
- Generate a consistent stream of non-dues revenue to support your association’s growth
- Integrate a functional website to inform members and engage prospects
Considering these overarching themes, let’s break down the specifics of what is typically included in an association management software.
The Nitty Gritty
- Member Profiles – Track member’s contact information, demographics, member type, organization/company, paid-thru date, and join-date.
- Organizations Profiles – Track organization’s demographics, member type, affiliated orgs, paid-thru date, and join-date. Also, note the primary contact and dues contact for each organization and their active and past sponsorships.
- Committees and Groups – Create communities within your database for members to connect and share. Use this information to segment email lists and filter reports.
- Categories and Custom Fields – Track additional data about members that are not included by default on the main member profile (ex: proof of certification, voting permissions, years of experience, field of practice, etc.). Use data to segment email lists and filter reports.
- Engagement – Automatically track email communications, event registration history, and financial data to see engagement rates.
- Reports – Pull detailed reports on individuals and organizations on their finances, educational history, donation records, sponsorship levels, volunteering data and more. Export all data or pull a transaction download of all payments processed through your system within a specific time frame.
- Messaging – Send broadcast messages to members. Segment email lists using filters like organization, member type, paid-thru date, committee, category, custom field and more.
- Dues Types – Configure different dues types to match with your membership offerings. Set up dues types as flat rate or ranged based (ex: fees based on variables like company revenue or number of employees). Charge membership fees yearly or monthly.
- Automate Notification Campaign – Create a workflow of messages that automatically reminds your members to pay their membership dues based on their paid-thru date.
- Grace Period – Allow members to pay past their paid-thru date by setting a grace period.
- Invoices – Generate invoices to be emailed to all members when it comes time to renew.
- Events – Create simple to complex events like monthly meetings, webinars, luncheons and two-day trade shows. Note details like location, date, billing options, and an event description.
- Online Registration – Configure your online registration to accommodate early bird prices, member vs. non-member pricing, priority codes, and capacity limits. Allow members to pay via CC, check or be invoiced. Attach custom questions to the registration form to collect important data.
- Certificate Generator – Offer courses to members and generate certificates that verify their C.E.s.
- Attendee List – See a live attendee list to know how many members are registered for your event.
- Event Communication – Communicate important messages to attendees. Filter lists by registration options and member vs. non-member attendees.
- Check-in / Onsite registration – Allow members to check-in to your event or register onsite using a check-in dashboard.
- Reporting – Pull reports on attendees, activity details, unpaid registrants, and financial data.
- Content Editor – Create a navigation menu and internal pages on your website to host important information about membership, events, and resources.
- Dynamic Buttons / Lists – Using shortcodes, display your integrated membership application, a live list of events, association-wide announcements, new member spotlight, sponsorship options, a member directory, job board and photo gallery
- Design Tools – Organize your data using grids, collapsable charts, tabs, and more.
- Design Elements – Insert icons, images, and videos to further communicate what your association does.
- Website Style – Apply your colors, font, banner, logo choice across the entire site.
- Forms – Collect additional data from members by displaying forms on your website.
- Documents – Store important documents in your database to share with members in the member portal and front-end website.
- Member Portal – Customize your member portal with your association’s colors and logo. Display dynamic modules for members to interact, register for events, update their account, track historical data, and access a member directory.
Polls and Surveys
- Surveys – Send out member surveys to collect event feedback or conduct association voting.
- Polls – For more informal data collection, use polls in the member center to gain feedback on specific ideas.
- Billing Types – Allow payment with credit card, cash, check or invoice for dues, event registration or your online store.
- Accounting Integration – Keep a close eye on association finances by tracking information through an accounting system like QuickBooks.
- Payment Processing – Add your processing company to start taking payments from members.
Associations have a lot of needs. They’re not only responsible for creating unique member experiences through events, resources, and an online community but also, maintaining an organized, updated database
So now that you know what to expect, how do you choose? What AMS is right for you? For a quick dicussion and review of your needs, give us a call today! 612-381-9951.