Doing Things Your Way

You want to do things your way. Wait, scratch that – you need to do things your way. Your association shouldn’t be expected to adapt its efforts to accommodate the inflexibility of a particular solution. If you’re made to settle for anything less than what you need your AMS to do, it becomes much more difficult to accomplish the outcomes you set out to realize. The value you are able to offer your members will dwindle as you’ll be made to spend more time focusing on how you can get things done in spite of a system that isn’t empowering you to execute on your efforts. Your AMS should do the exact opposite. It should not only allow your association to execute tasks in the way you prefer. It should also allow you to improve how you complete those tasks over time – by adapting to your improvement.

The following points specifically describe why having a tailored AMS solution is an absolute must if you are going to achieve meaningful return on investment.

Your Association is Unique
There’s an endless amount of associations out there – each one completely different from the next. Of course, there will be similarities between associations. However, there’s enough difference from association to association that some “out of the box” solution just isn’t going to offer the detail needed to complement the variety of intended outcomes. How can one unchanging, inadaptable AMS solution efficiently meet the needs of so many associations – each unique in their own way? Well, it can’t. Not unless each of those associations chooses to bend to the will of the solution – thereby forfeiting their own strategies for improvement and success. However, that’s not a reasonable expectation and frankly, it’s a very backward approach as it should be the provider accommodating the customer and not the other way around. Your association’s uniqueness should be reflected in the solution you use and augmented by its functionality and features. In order for this to occur, there has to be the ability for some level of customization. You should identify an AMS provider that has created a solution with a great foundation, that has also allowed for some tweaks and adaptations. Your association prefers to do things the way you do for a reason. Far be it for anyone outside your organization (AMS providers included) to tell you otherwise. No one knows how things should be accomplished better than those within your association. So, their insight should be treated with the reverence it deserves by implementing their knowledge directly into the solution, through customization.
Your Users Are Different
It’s far too presumptuous for an AMS provider to come in and suggest that their solution, out of the box, will be the perfect asset for both your administrators and members. Your administrators have their own way of approaching the management of your community, and your members have a particular appetite for what they find valuable. In order to accommodate the preferences of all your association users, there’s going to need to be some level of customization particular to your community. Whether it’s a bespoke workflow for communication, based on how administrators like to interact with members, or it’s a particular method for accessing e-learning courses that members are most comfortable with – the elements that will make your association more efficient and successful in delivering value should all be considered and factored in when implementing your AMS solution. The more of your association’s eccentricities that can be built into the member management platform you choose, the more streamlined it will seem for your users.
Your Association is Evolving
Even though it’s important to know what you need today, you don’t necessarily know what tomorrow will bring. Things change and you need to stay agile and adaptable to the times. So, you need a solution that is capable of evolving with you. There’s nothing worse than investing in a solution, only for it to become completely obsolete a couple of months later. That shouldn’t happen. The AMS you choose should be customizable, as well as configurable. That is to say, when you first implement it, it should come fashioned with the bells and whistles you need currently, but should be built in such a way that the system can be reworked or revised should circumstances change. Like any organization, you most likely have plans to improve and grow over time. More often than not, growth requires adaptation. As your community evolves, you don’t want to be hampered or anchored down by a solution that won’t budge. Invest in an AMS built with the intention of being future-proof. Your association strategizes and plans to be valuable in the future – why should it be any different for your AMS provider and the solution they prescribe?
Your Interaction Needs Are Unique
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times – engagement is everything when it comes to community building. And, without question, you want a strong community within your association. In order to execute on a comprehensive and meaningful engagement plan, you need a solution that empowers your administrators to encourage interaction in a manner that makes sense for your association. Each association prefers to engage in a slightly different way – and it matters that those slight differences are represented. How administrators and members communicate back and forth is one of the elements that gives your association its identity. If every association were forced to operate under the regime of one uncompromising solution, there wouldn’t be any differentiation from one association to the next. Much of the time, the uniqueness of the experience your association provides to its membership is a large part of its value proposition. Being a carbon-copy of everyone else will make engagement predictable, boring and uninspiring. Fortunately, we don’t live in a world where your engagement approach needs to be dictated by your AMS solution. Your association, in collaboration with your provider, can make sure your AMS bolsters your communication efforts so you can execute them as you would prefer and with great efficiency.

Your AMS should let you do things your way – and easier at that. Don’t settle for a solution that forces your association to change its methods. Remember this – your association is the client. If the provider wants your business, they need to show it by offering you a system that will empower your community. Don’t be fooled, you are not courting the provider. They need to close the gap between their solution and your needs to earn your commitment and trust. An AMS is a tool that should help your association do what it does better – accept nothing less.

Customizability is one of the things we pride ourselves on at Guild. Put bluntly, we simply won’t implement a solution that doesn’t fit your association’s needs. To learn how Guild can complement all of your efforts in sustaining a healthy community, click here.