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Associations and their AMS/MMS Relationships. The Truth and the Fiction

by | Oct 24, 2014 | Membership & Marketing

My experience working with people over the years has reaffirmed my belief that many fear, mistrust, or sometimes patently reject things they don’t understand.

No one likes to openly admit what he or she don’t know or understand, especially when it’s something that is related to their job. Technology seems to fit nicely into that area.

Recently you may have seen some industry articles, and there have been a few, with the underlying message that association staff members, in particular membership professionals, are somewhat unenthusiastic about the AMS platform they use in their daily work.

One such article went so far as to relate finding the right membership management technology for your association to finding the perfect spouse – emphasizing that they’re just not out there and don’t exist.

We would like to believe that the process of selecting any technology solution to help an association advance its mission and better serve its members can be a more rewarding experience than something akin to choosing a mail order bride or being in an arranged marriage.

I do understand some of the points made in the articles, especially considering the dynamic changes that have occurred in the AMS/MMS marketplace the past couple of years. Options have increased, as has the challenge of selecting technology that not only meets an association’s immediate needs, but one that will grow with the organization.

What I have found through 15 years of working with an AMS provider, is that the pre-selection process is often where many associations come up short, and potentially end up choosing a solution that is not the right fit for their organization’s needs. This goes beyond flashy demos and endless feature lists. It’s digging into the details to accurately identify current and future needs, and finding the right match through research, conversations, and careful analysis of the data collected during the vetting process.

A good analogy would be looking at the smartphone market dominated by Apple and Samsung. Their products look almost identical, to the point that a number of lawsuits have been filed. But in reality they are quite different in how they do what they do for the end user. Whether you prefer the iOS or Android operating system and the unique features each offers, has a lot to do with the phone you end up buying. And then there are those folks who swear by Blackberry to this very day. Which is the best? It all comes down to meeting customer’s needs.

Echoing the earlier referenced articles, the relationship between the association and the AMS/MMS provider is crucial. I sincerely believe it’s not a vendor/customer relationship, but rather a true partnership where both work together to take care of the most important customers – the association’s members.

We believe that education and open dialog is the best avenue to determine an organization’s needs, and the best solution to meet those needs. To that end, YourMembership offers a number of free resources to anyone who is embarking on the quest to find the AMS/MMS that best meet their organization’s needs, whether they’re searching for the first time, or ready to move to a new solution.

We would like you to be a part of that ongoing dialog, and so we will be hosting a webinar next Wednesday, October 29th, at Noon EST, entitled Make the Right Choice: Evaluating Technology for Your Association. It is a free, no obligation webinar where we will share ideas and best practices on not just selecting an AMS/MMS, but we also look at other offerings your association might be considering as a part of your technology plan.

We hope you can attend.


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