It’s a New Year! You probably have a new board, new members, new recent grads hitting the job market, and big plans. The last thing you need is a technology headache. Here are some key warning signs so that you may be able to cut it off at the pass.
1) Your technology doesn’t do what you want it to do
What’s the point of spending time and money on technology if it’s not going to do what you need it to do? For our purposes (because it’s our passion) we’ll talk about Association Management Software; review the list of features you were promised when you were still in the buying stage, or simply visit the AMS’ website and see what features they are offering now and make sure you’re getting them all. For example, outside of a database event registration is a huge deal with many small staff associations. Are you able to handle event registration with ease? Do you have to pay for a second piece of software to handle what one should take care of? You may be able to find a workaround for now, but it’ll eventually become a big problem.
2) It’s difficult to access, update, or control
Associations are cooperative, and that’s the beauty of them. Not to mention the fact that you can’t do everything (although it sure feels like you try some days, right?) and from time to time you need to delegate or other people need to step in. How easy is it for other people to access your AMS? If you answer that question with anything other than “it’s super easy!” then you might want to reconsider your technology solution.
3) People don’t like it
When it comes to technology headaches they come 50/50 from the technology itself and other people complaining about it. Find out how your members and board feel about your software then decide if it’s just grumblings from adjustment to new technology or serious, ongoing concerns. If it’s the former, give them a little time and maybe an extra training or two and see if it works out. If it’s the latter you may have bigger problems.
4) You’re noticing your needs changing big time
Your association is growing. That’s great! That also means your needs are changing. If you are having a big boom then it’s definitely worth it to at least consider your technology needs now, while big changes are happening rather than get stuck in a bad position in a few months.
5) You’re seriously questioning what you’re paying for
If you or any of your close coworkers have ever looked at your AMS and said, “So what does this do, exactly? You’re not getting your money’s worth. Technology solutions can be a significant cost commitment, so you want to be sure you’re getting the maximum value for your money.
A special note to emerging associations:
You may have started off with a simple spreadsheet of your members, their contact information, and other needs but as your association grows and changes your needs will change too. Your spreadsheet, while a valuable tool when starting off, will get obsolete quickly. But when should you upgrade?