How to know when your association is ready for new membership software
As your organization grows, you need technology that grows with you. Here are sure signs that signal it’s time to move onto a new membership management system.
Is your organization experiencing growing pains? If so, congratulations are in order. But, you also deserve a little sympathy if you contend with manual spreadsheets or an entry-level membership management system.
As your growth brings size and complexity, it becomes clear a more sophisticated membership management system is needed. Otherwise, your efforts to grow your membership won’t produce your hoped-for results or an enhanced flow of revenue.
Sign #1: You’re at max capacity.
Membership applications have picked up pace. Maybe it’s the result of a recent membership drive or word of mouth from happy members. Either way, these scenarios start to sound all too familiar:
- You’re handling more member data than ever before. You may find that your spreadsheet is becoming unwieldy. You may have even moved to using a combination of multiple spreadsheets and other systems to manage all aspects of your membership. It’s becoming more difficult to pull together a complete view of your membership because data is in too many different places.
You need a single system that can handle your growing member data.
- Your membership processes are more complex. Over time, your membership management processes have evolved and matured. At the same time, they’ve become time-consuming. Your team is spending time on manual processes that could be better spent developing member programs and benefits.
You need a system that can automate manual processes so your team can focus on serving members.
- The demand for member reports has grown. As your association has grown, so have the executive staff and board member demands for information. You’re being asked for increasingly detailed reports on things like member acquisition and retention. You’re finding it increasingly difficult and time-consuming to pull those reports.
You need a system that allows you to set up dashboards and reports for quick access to key metrics and details.
Sign #2: Your revenue growth has started to flatten out.
Revenue growth has been strong, but it’s starting to slow. Raising the cost of dues is one option, but it may turn away prospective members and cause memberships to lapse. It’s time to diversify your association’s revenue sources beyond membership dues.
You need a system that supports activities that boost non-dues revenue, including:
Setting up an online store. For example, offer everything from branded merchandise and event registrations to donations and other non-dues items. Merchandise can be everyday items. Branded water bottles, pins with your logo, or something practical, such as a flash drive or a physical notebook emblazoned with your motto. At the same time, you need to promote and manage membership dues within the convenience of the online store.
Beefing up your job board. In the Member Loyalty Study, the Community Brands team found that job opportunities top the list as one of the most valued member benefits. You need to enhance your job board software so you can not only attract more members and improve member retention, but also increase non-dues revenue. For example:
- Offer employers more sophisticated options that maximize exposure of their job postings to improve their return on investment and, in turn, your revenue.
- Increase engagement and job views by recommending opportunities to job seekers based on their prior searches.
- Automatically send jobs to interested, relevant job seekers via email.
Delivering the offline learning experience online. You need to take the great content you already have pulled together for in-person events and extend it online. This provides a convenient, affordable option that many of your members may be seeking. In turn, offering online learning experiences – whether they’re one-day seminars or multi-day conferences – will provide your organization with perks. For example:
- Bring in revenue that you otherwise would not capture from members who are unable to attend your in-person events.
- Stretch your on-site content further by repurposing it online – through live-streaming your on-site event or offering it on-demand after the event.
- Meet the needs of more of your members, offering an alternative to on-site events for those whose schedule, budget, learning preferences or other factors would prevent them from attending an in-person event.
Sign #3: You need new ways to reach members.
One of your organization’s most important responsibilities is to engage members. But sometimes it’s difficult to manage the timing and method of how you reach out.
At the same time, your members have started asking for more benefits. They want modern perks such as an online social community and a mobile app to interact with your organization and other members.
You need a system that helps you leverage a social mobile app as an extension of your communication and marketing efforts. Through feeds and push notifications, you can send information to members instantly – all with a single click.
A mobile app for your membership management system enhances the member experience in many ways. For example, members can use the app to access the latest news and updates from your organization within a single feed.
Part of your organization’s mission includes connecting members with like-minded individuals. And, an online social community tied to your mobile app accelerates the process, building a new network of connections. More ties between members means increased member engagement and deepened member loyalty.
Taking the next step
If one or more of these signs sounds familiar, it’s time to move to an association management software (AMS) that’s built for associations at your stage of growth. Taking this step can help your team operate more efficiently while improving member engagement and enhancing member value.
YourMembership is built for small-and-growing associations like yours. It offers a single platform for membership management and includes features such as automated workflows to simplify and streamline your association’s day-to-day processes. It also offers online community capabilities and a mobile app for a modern member experience, and configurable dashboards and reports for insights on the health of your organization.