Why an AMS?
Using an AMS allows both administrators and members to interact in a more comprehensive and efficient manner. Each AMS provider offers different feature sets. However, most will help you accomplish the following:
Start an association
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.
Define your strategic direction
Clarifying your strategic direction to your membership depends greatly on the quality and frequency of communication between administrators (or association representatives) and members. There is no better way to stimulate conversation and engagement within your association than to create a definable and easily accessible community (preferably online). Implementing a comprehensive association management system will allow you to establish and grow your community.
Grow existing membership / attract new members
Every association’s goal is to continually grow their membership. At times, it may feel like growth has slowed down or stagnated. There are many reasons that may have caused the decrease in registration. Your association may need to spend some time reflecting and reviewing to understand what specifically may have caused the insufficient or lack of uptake.
Track members’ credentials
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.
Manage organization content
An AMS is the best platform for inventorying content and resources specific to your association. Through a member management system, both administrators and members can easily upload manuals, practices, policies, schematics, or any type of documentation resource. Once on the system, they can then be accessed, downloaded, shared and / or referenced with just a couple of clicks.
Accept online payment of member fees
Nothing seems more archaic in the business world than unnecessary paper processes. This digital age is not something new. It wasn’t just yesterday that almost every paper process could be replaced and made more efficient with computer software or online.
Connect to other process software
To run our organizations, we need to implement a bevy of solutions. Unfortunately, when it comes to process software, there is no “one size fits all” or “one-stop shop”. To add insult to injury, associations can have a large amount of data and information coming into their association management system – all of it needing to be divvied into the proper standalone software to be processed in a variety of ways (whether it be for accounting, operations, or resource management purposes).
Send mass messages
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.
Build an online community for your association membership via an AMS is critical to the success of your organization. We can’t always get association members together in person. So, building an identity for your association online that members feel a connection to is required. However, every so often, your association will get the opportunity to offer an in-person event to its membership. These events are critical opportunities to create deeper more significant relationships with members and to stimulate further buy-in to the association. These moments must be seized to ensure the continual growth and well-being of the association.
Your AMS can’t be a universal solution for your membership. It cannot be their be-all end-all – nothing can. Sometimes, members will have to go somewhere else to find answers to their questions. However, your association management system can address many of your members’ needs.
Building a community through orchestration of an association is a great thing. Bringing people of similar interests and like backgrounds together provides a great benefit to them and can only support the improvement of the particular industry sector your association is meant to service. The next step is figuring out a method to positively influence your target market, because after all, we don’t start an association just to occupy space. We start an association with the intention to have a positive impact on a particular professional community.
Give Your Members the Power
The administration of an association is no small task. Doing it well requires diligence, commitment, patience and sharply focused attention to detail. However, even with a hall of fame roster of administrators, as your membership grows, even they will become overwhelmed by the incredible volume of effort required to effectively service members.
Expanding Reach with Your AMS
Keeping existing members and drawing in new ones is very important in maintaining a healthy and thriving association community. You’ll need to routinely provide current members with valuable content and resources, while connecting with prospective members to endear your association’s value proposition to them. Managing these interactions can be confusing to track, cumbersome to action and time consuming. Not to mention, ineffective. That is, if they are being conducted manually.
With an AMS, Your Membership is at Your Fingertips
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.