Are you considering purchasing an association management system (AMS) for your organization? Maybe you’re looking for your organization’s first-EVER AMS. (How exciting!) Or, maybe your organization has an AMS, but you’re looking to switch providers.
Either way, you want to make sure the membership software solution you decide on is the perfect fit for your organization. (Remember, every organization is different!)
So how do you “shop smart” to find that right association management system? Below are several key questions to ask when going through the AMS shopping process.
Association management system features:
- Does the software have all of the primary features your organization needs to be successful? Think about your must-haves. Does the system offer the capabilities that matter to you most?
- Is the software a good fit for your business model? Organizations have unique needs. What works great for one doesn’t always work for another. Be sure the member software solution meets the needs of your organization based on your business model.
- Will the software pay for itself? The system should ultimately add to your bottom line. How does the vendor help you get a return on your investment?
- Is the system flexible and configurable? Invest in a membership system that’s flexible and that can grow as your organization grows.
Association management system efficiencies:
- Is the software “all-in-one”? Are additional systems still required? Will you be able to get away from keeping data in multiple places?
- If the software is all-in-one, how well do the components work together? Automation is key! Components should talk to each other and update automatically so you don’t have to constantly import and export data. This will save time and ensure your data is accurate.
- Will you be able to save time with the new system? Your member software should help you reduce the time it takes to complete your regular tasks.
- Can the software be used outside the office? It’s critical to have the flexibility to work with data anywhere in today’s mobile-centric world.
Technology provider experience and reliability:
- Does the software provider work with other organizations in your industry? Make sure the company understands your business and unique needs.
- Has the company been in business for more than 5 years? Being around for a few years is a good indication that they are healthy, stable, and satisfying the needs of their clients. Recently formed companies may lack the experience, standard operating procedures, or staff to provide the level of service your company requires.
- Does the company have a high customer retention rate? Find out if the company is keeping their clients satisfied. Start by searching for online reviews to see the kind of service levels they provide.
- Will you continue to own all of your own data? Ensure that you have complete control over and access to your data.
Future association management system developments:
- Does the vendor offer additional product packages with more advanced features? It’s important to consider if you might quickly outgrow the system, or if the solution has additional offerings designed to grow with your organization.
- Does the vendor offer other membership software solutions? Think about other software solutions you need (or will need) to manage your organization’s membership and/or add member value. For example, an association job board or a learning management system.
- Does the software offer frequent updates at no additional cost to you? In a world that’s always evolving, picking a provider that is forward-thinking and evolving themselves is important.
- Does the company regularly update the program in response to customer feedback? Without constant feedback and upgrades, even the best software can become stagnant. Make sure your membership software provider has a clear process for customer feedback and regularly acts on that feedback with frequent software updates.
Ready to start looking at an association management system now? Take a look at MemberClicks. We provide membership software for organizations of all kinds, shapes, and sizes.
And for more AMS shopping tips, take a look at our free Buyer’s Guide below!
Note: This post was originally published on 2/5/18, but updated on 9/28/20 for added value.