NOTE: The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence. Association management software (AMS) is a crucial aid in managing workflow. The technology serves so many functionalities. Such include communication, sales, marketing, member database management, and event organization. So, what do you look for when shopping for technological solutions? Some critical points of consideration include functionality and ease of use.
It comes from understanding your association’s needs first. You then choose the software that best optimizes your operations for higher efficiency.
The reality is there are tons of AMS options available. So how do you find the best? The sure way to go about it is to know what features to check out for. We will provide relevant pointers in our article below.
It is important to understand that there is no one fits all association management system. You also find that the available AMS solutions have so many exciting features.
Developers are constantly working on improving their product offerings. It may sound good to have the latest innovations. But ask yourself, do we need some of the functionalities?
Bring all the stakeholders together to gather insights. Getting the right AMS is a team decision rather than an individual effort. Next, prioritize the needs to help find the right solution.
Let’s say you have a challenge with virtual event management. The AMS should streamline all the processes that go into planning for an event. You will need to have all your data in one central location.
A key feature to look for would be easy event registration. Mobile optimization is also crucial. It helps if you can reach your members wherever they are. A mobile-friendly platform ensures information is readily accessible at all times. You may also need email and phone support to enhance communication.
The size of the Association and the number of people who will use the software are also critical considerations. You will, for example, need an AMS that allows for multiple user accounts if the team is big. It should also let you create tiers, depending on access privileges.
As we have pointed out, there are so many AMS options in the market. All the brands will be shouting about the fantastic features of their products. It is easy to get lost in the flowery marketing language.
Take a step back and allow yourself sufficient time for due diligence research. There is a lot of information available both online and offline.
Association management software reviews will also yield tons of information. And don’t be shy to ask for references that you can call up for more information.
Reputable AMS vendors have no problem conducting demos. It is a fantastic opportunity because you get to see how the tool works. Further, you can ask for customized options to better fit your requirements.
Also, pay attention to crucial factors like the user-friendliness of the software? How steep is the learning curve? Some users tend to shy away from technologies that are too complex. Do the vendors offer training facilities? How does their pricing compare to other vendors, and so on?
Let’s go back to the example of virtual event management. The date of the event is looming and there is still so much work to complete. Up until that point, the AMS has been working well. But Murphy’s Law comes into play.
Do you know the phrase “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong?” Your system starts to act like a child having a tantrum. Nothing you do seems to be working. At this point, you are quite sure you’re about to explode.
But it only gets worse. When you try to get in touch with after-sales customer support, you get no help. We don’t need to emphasize how frustrating such scenarios can be. And yet they happen.
The AMS provider must assure you of good customer support. They should have a provision for multiple contact points. That means you should have their number on speed-dial. You should also be able to reach them on tickets, live chats, or email.
Do read customer reviews to get a clear picture of how they handle their customers, once they sell their products.
You may have started with 50 members in the Association. But over time, due to the good work, you start to expand. Now your membership has reached 500, but you’re still using antiquated systems.
You find that technology is no longer working in your favor because it cannot handle the workload. The management software should allow for scalability. Consider it an investment because you do not need to keep replacing the system, the more you grow.
Also, check that the AMS supports system integration. That means compatibility with other core systems like the CMS, learning management systems, and financial systems.
Does the AMS for example allow for bank integrations? Can you process online payments on the platform? It frees up the finance team from following up on payments from members. They also do not need to make trips to the bank for reports or other transactions.
Look at the computer requirements of the AMS system. Some will require dedicated servers which could drive up the overall cost. There is the option of cloud-based systems as well.
Such integrations allow for centralization, rather than isolation of data points. Teams can access critical data easily, thus higher efficiency and productivity.
Finding the right Association management system is critical. The teams get a lot of support with the day-to-day tasks. The software helps with communication and better member management. System integrations allow for the centralization of processes for higher efficiency.
Take the time to understand the association’s needs first. There is no point in investing in some features if you will not use them. It only drives up the cost of the AMS. Do not ignore the critical role of proper due diligence.
Only purchase the software from reputable vendors who will give you value for money. Read customer reviews because they’re the best source of honest feedback and information.
Other critical factors to check include customer support, flexibility, and scalability of the system. Follow the tips above when shopping for an AMS, and see efficiency and productivity increase.
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