Association Management Software in Focus: Members, Fundraising & More
As readers discovered in the September 2016 issue of Website Magazine, membership does/can have its privileges.
Operating a trade group or industry association (or even a non-profit) is much different than in years past and the emphasis of the online experience a vital component of success. With that in mind, let's take a deeper look at the features of today's top association solution and which are consistently top of mind within the industry.
In many ways, association management solutions (at least the best ones) tend to focus on three distinct areas - membership, fundraising and management.
MEMBERSHIP: One of the reasons that people join groups or associations online is because of the sense of community that is obtained. The smartest enterprises are those that provide some meaningful reward - be it promotion of a member's personal brand, opportunities to network and connect with others, or even gain some additional knowledge. For this reason, it's quite common today to see association management software solutions provider online community forums, directories and even courses for their users. Some, such as WildApricot, even make it possible to set up and run events through their system.
FUNDRAISING: Perhaps the true measure of association management software solution is what it brings in relation to the ability to raise operational funds. For this reason, the best tools on the market today prioritize their financial capabilities - from collecting dues to accepting donations. Systems that don't make this vital capability available won't be in operation for long, and those that do provide it are quickly differentiating their offerings. MemberPlanet, for example, offers fundraising features including recurring donations, giving levels, donor tickets, supporter pagers and goal meters. .
MANAGEMENT: While recruiting members and raising funds is a central part of association management software solutions, so is the ability to manage the entire experience and for all key audiences. Solutions which make it possible to manage individual chapters, establish and participate in commitees, and analyze the experience of their members will be those positioned for the greatest level of success. Solutions like MemberLeap and StarChapter, for example, offer several features to optimize management, from being able to interface with QuickBooks, to accessing member data and custom reports.
Choosing an association management solution is no easy task, but by focusing on the aforementioned three areas, the path to success (and profit) will be dramatically shortened.