How to pay for a new AMS system with non-dues revenue

Looking to fund new member management software?

Here are three tips to help you generate revenue to pay for the new technology you need to keep your small organization moving forward.

Michelle Schweitz, YourMembership Marketing Manager

By Michelle Schweitz, YourMembership Marketing Manager


Maybe your small association has been handling member data with messy spreadsheets and multiple outdated systems. Or, maybe you have a membership management system that isn’t keeping up as your organization grows. Either way, you know it’s time for a new association management software (AMS) system to help your organization work more efficiently and deliver a better member experience.

But how can your organization pay for it?

Here are three tips to help you fund a new association management software system using non-dues revenue:

1. Know how much an AMS costs.
One of the first questions you need to answer when thinking about how to pay for your new membership management software is simple: “How much does it cost?” The answer is a bit more complex: It depends.

Multiple factors go into the cost of an association management software. These include:

    • How you will select it
    • How you will pay for it
    • What you want it to do
    • How you will implement it
    • Who will be using it
    • How long you plan on using it

Together, these factors can help you determine the total cost of ownership (TCO). TCO is a financial estimate intended to help buyers and owners determine the direct and indirect costs of owning a product or system. It includes the costs of owning an asset, beyond just the purchase price. For example, when you buy a car, total cost of ownership includes the purchase price of the car as well as costs for insurance, maintenance, repairs, and fuel.

Gaining a better understanding of what your new AMS will cost helps you determine how much revenue you will need to pay for it. For tips and insights on understanding what an AMS costs, read the guide, The Ultimate AMS Pricing Guide for Small Staff Associations.

2. Identify potential non-dues revenue streams.
Non-dues revenue (revenue from any source other than membership fees) can be a great way to offset the cost of (or pay for) a new association management software. There are multiple ways to drive non-dues revenue, including:

    • Advertising – Offer ads on your website, in email communications, in print and online publications, and in your online community.
    • Sponsorships – Allow companies to sponsor things like content, meetings, and events.
    • Merchandise – Allow members to purchase branded merchandise, such as coffee mugs, t-shirts, and baseball caps.

Learn more about ways your small association can drive non-dues revenue. Read The Small Association’s Guide to Generating Non-Dues Revenue and Building a Sponsorship Program to Increase Non-Dues Revenue.

3. Justify the purchase.
While you might understand the need for a new AMS system for your association, you still need to convince your board. One of the best ways to persuade them that it’s time for new technology is to help them understand the value of new association technology for your organization.

A good first step is to tally your current cost of membership management. Using multiple disparate systems and spreadsheets to manage your organization can be costly and time consuming. Use this ROI calculator to show how much membership management is costing your organization today and to justify the costs of purchasing a new AMS.

The next step is to build a business case. Your business case should include a review of the goals and challenges of your organization, the potential benefits a new AMS system can provide, and how you can pay for the new software with non-dues revenue.

Learn how to convince your board it’s time to make a tech change. Read Gaining Board Approval for Technology Budget.

Your association needs the right technology to support goals, address challenges, and ultimately provide a member experience that attracts new members and keeps them around for the long haul. Using the tips in this article, you’ll be well on your way to securing and paying for the new technology you need to keep your organization moving forward.

Ready for the next step? Schedule a 1 on 1 demo with a membership management expert or join a no pressure group demo.

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