There’s no doubt – a comprehensive and customized membership management system is one of, if not the most empowering and substantial tools your association can employ. It’s undeniable how much ease an AMS can introduce into your association (both for administrators and members). However, powerful though it may be, your association management system will not be optimized if your membership isn’t continually growing. And, in order for it to grow, prospective members need to be able to find your community. So, how best to draw in those potential additions to your association?
The Development of Your AMS Should Never End
If a piece of software is advertised “you get what you see, nothing more and nothing less”, that should raise suspicions. Certainly, the AMS you choose should meet your current needs – that’s the bare minimum. However, your organization should also benefit from future add-ons and improvements. Your AMS provider should never stop optimizing their offering.
If You’re Managing Your Association Online – It’s Gotta Be Secure
Your AMS houses a large amount of sensitive member information. Ask your provider how your information, and the system as a whole, is protected against breaches. Part of creating a reliable experience and growing your membership is assuring security.
Easy Member Interactions with an AMS
Nothing is more important to the health of an association than an open line of communication between administrators and members (and vice versa). Your association needs to reduce the barriers to application, provide value, orchestrate meaningful initiatives and events, and implement an AMS that provides a great user experience. However, while these efforts are absolutely imperative, they will all be for not if they are not supported by thorough and ongoing communication.
Tips for Starting an Association (and Attracting Members)
You could fill a telephone book sized manual on how best to found and position a fledgling association, chamber, society, council, foundation or what have you. This is not that. However, it is a quick hit of key tips and tricks to keep in mind when you are attempting to build a community.
Your AMS Can Be Cumbersome Without Support
The provider of your AMS should be part of the package. That is, once the association management software is implemented, your provider should be available as a safety net. If your provider isn’t filling you with confidence that they won’t cut and run, you may want to consider other options.
Save Untold Hours with the Right AMS
An association management software should free up time for both administrators and members. Much of the time-saving will come from the fact that many processes, which used to be manual, will now be automated. However, another feature your AMS should provide, which will eliminate duplication of effort, is API functionality. API stands for “Application Programming Interfaces” and is just a fancy way of saying that one system can speak with another seamlessly. If your membership management software can share information with the other programs you use to manage your operations, it will prevent the need to dip in and out of different systems to enter the same data.
Track Members’ Professional Development Via Your AMS
Knowing your members’ credentials at a moment’s notice can be extremely advantageous from an association’s perspective. It goes without saying that association administrators must understand a prospective member’s competencies and expertise, to evaluate whether they meet prerequisites for acceptance into the association (should your organization have acceptance criteria in place). However, to continue strengthening a member’s relationship with the association (so they see the value in maintaining their membership), administrators need to be able to follow their professional development progress. With a membership management system, your association can stay up to date on each member’s training and certifications.
When Investing in an AMS, Transparency is Everything
There should be no surprises regarding the product you are investing in, nor hidden costs. An AMS can only be as good as its provider. Gauge whether the provider is being forthwith. If you’re finding it difficult to confirm details or the answers you are getting from the provider aren’t clear, tread carefully. You have to know what you’re getting.
One of the greatest features of a comprehensive AMS, is its ability to put administrators in the driver’s seat of their membership. As your association grows, the number of members can become too much for administrators to manage in a meaningful way. Or, at the very least, they may not be able to manage members efficiently.