Handling the affairs of an association can be difficult. It gets even tougher when dealing with large numbers. You need all the help you can get to organize, manage, store information, and communicate with members.
All these functionalities and more come with the right association management software (AMS). Such software provides an all-in-one solution via the comprehensive suite of tools available to administrators. Further, integrating them into existing systems is easy resulting in higher efficiency.
The challenge in finding the best association management software is the number of options available. It is critical to start your search by having basic knowledge of some of the must-have features.
The best way is to determine the needs of your association. Who will use the software? What functionalities would you like it to help with? What kind of data do you want to collect, record and store? And so much more. Once you have clarity on these, focus on AMS with the following features.
1. The Association Management Software Should Allow For Scalability
Every association aims to grow at some point in the future. It is therefore important that when choosing any software, it should allow for expansion. It helps save the organization money by not having to invest in new technology every time numbers increase.
Your membership management software should be customizable. Admins should be able to collect unlimited data using the available tools.
2. AMS Should Allow For Third-Party Integrations
A typical organization will have many other software solutions to help in the day-to-day running of processes. These include marketing, accounting, relationship management, and even human resources.
The ability to integrate such with the AMS will help streamline workflow. Users access information or data in one central location. Avoiding multiple entries can help keep errors to a minimal level.
3. Excellent Customer Service Is a Must-Have Feature
You are in the middle of organizing a major event. You need to contact the association members to give them the relevant information. However, there seems to be a problem with the software.
You try to reach customer service and cannot get through to anyone. The inconvenience is immense, as you spend hours in the office trying to manage everything. Technology is all good but it can sometimes be a major letdown.
That is why, when shopping for software, check the availability of the customer support team. It helps if you can reach them on multiple platforms. These include telephone, support ticket, and email. You want to be sure that in time of need, there is someone available to help you out.
4. The Software Should Be Easy To Use
Technology should make life simple. There is no need of investing in software that is difficult to use. Look for an interface that is friendly and easy to use even for beginners.
The learning curve should not be steep. If it is, there may be some resistance to the adoption of the software.
Top association management software vendors avail training opportunities for the admins. They also include plenty of tutorials that users can consume at their own pace.
5. CRM and Report Generation Features
At the very basic your Association management software should have a CRM platform. You collect a lot of member information that requires careful handling and management. It also helps with the customization or automation of the processes.
Member engagement, list generation, and updating are a breeze with the CRM. Imagine trying to do all these on spreadsheets. It would be time-consuming, tedious, and error-prone.
Talk to any admin, and they will tell you that writing and presenting reports can be a nightmare. Compiling the data, analyzing it, and collating it into digestible bits is time-consuming and tedious. Simplify the process by choosing an AMS that can help with such tasks.
6. Mobile Optimization is Critical
Modern association members use their mobile phones a lot. It is convenient, and information is readily available at their fingertips. Mobile phones provide an easy way to engage and connect with members.
Some of the software can claim to be mobile-friendly. Yet, the developers have not taken the time to ensure optimization. It means the experience for the members using such devices will not be the best.
Yet, many rely on such for quick access to information. The association loses out on a fantastic way to keep in touch with members. When shopping, look for an AMS platform that has placed a lot of emphasis on mobile optimization.
It should, for example, have a mobile app, as part of the product offering. The app can take care of some of the compatibility issues that may come from using browser setups.
7. Automated Reminders Will Make Work Easy
Admins have the task of sending reminders to members about, well, everything. It could be membership payment or renewal. They may need to notify members of upcoming events, and so much more.
Automated reminders help take care of such tasks. All the admins need to do is schedule the notification to a specific date and time. The automation then takes over, thus relieving the teams from the onerous tasks.
There is greater efficiency in managing workload. Members stay up-to-date with the relevant information leading to less confusion and frustration. The teams get time to concentrate on other responsibilities that require their attention.
8. Payment Processing Functionality For Convenience
Associations collect payments from members for different purposes. It could be the renewal of memberships, events, or event training fees. Integrating their AMS with the accounting software will make the task easy.
Digital payments make the process simple for members. Integrating multiple payment options provides further convenience. The accounts department or admins avoid having to deal with members face to face.
Any payments immediately reflect making it easy to generate current reports. Anyone who needs to access the information can get it in one central location.
Finding the best association management system can be a life and game-changer. Automation brings efficiency to the work processes. The result is higher productivity and smooth running of the Association.
When shopping, start by understanding what the association’s needs are. Look at the basic functionalities you will expect from the AMS. At a minimum, it should help with membership management.
The software should allow for scalability and must be easy to use. Look for those that allow for third-party integrations. You centralize all your processes on one easy-to-access dashboard.
Dan has hands-on experience in digital marketing since 2007. He has been building teams and coaching others to foster innovation and solve real-time problems. Dan also enjoys photography and traveling.