Traditional vs. Modern Approaches
Many Associations are still managing their stakeholders (including members, committees and other groups) through multiple siloed systems, such as separate CRM, events, website, mailing and other systems. Often these systems are intended for broad applications (such as using 'generic' open-source website Content Management Systems) and sometimes for non-related applications (such as using a sales orientated CRM when more specific membership management may be required). This approach can be very much akin to putting odd-shaped objects in rounds holes.
In many ways, the traditional approach may seem fine in getting the job done. However, this is very comparable to using faxes as an appropriate method of communication or visiting your local video store to rent a movie. It can "get the job done", but with recent developments in technology there are far more convenient, efficient and cost effective ways of undertaking these activities.
In much the same way, recent developments in software and hardware infrastructure such as Cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS), has opened up much more efficient and cost effective methods now available to Small to Medium Sized Associations.
- Separate or siloed systems
- Inefficient - offered a lot of manual process between systems
- Where integration exists, it is often "fixed" - making changes in data sharing difficult
Association Management Software (AMS)
- Single database – "single point of truth"
- Well connected data - reducing manual processes and duplication
- Increased efficiency through autonomy
- Improved data insights
What is Association Management Software (AMS)?
Association Management Software (AMS) is software that has been specifically developed to run Associations and Member-based organisations. The advantages of an AMS comes through automation of many manual tasks, tighter integration of data and activities within the organisation, and improved communications between its various stakeholders.
Most organisations still have dedicated membership, events or other staff just to process memberships, events, payments, newsletters, or collating of information into reports for various stakeholders (e.g. to committees, executives or board members). The administrative load when compared to traditional or legacy systems usually becomes more apparent on the lead up to major events, conferences, or membership renewal periods as the manual processing around these activities can spike.
- Increase productivity - focus your attention back on the things that matter!
- Well connected data - allowing you to make more informed decisions
- Make resources more accessible and create targeted communication - for increasd member and stakeholder engagement
- Save money through increased efficiency and increased membership retention
Why Software as a Service (SaaS) works
One of the challenges with the advent of Association Management Software has been the increased cost over more manual or traditional systems. The benefits and time savings can be huge but often there has been a rather substantial initial capital expenditure (sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars). The cost to benefit for many small and medium Associations can be prohibitive even with the overall long term benefits.
With the arrival of newer technologies and modern architecture this model has been turned on its head with (true) Multi Tenanted Software as a Service (SaaS). SaaS embraces a subscription model approach in much the same way as Microsoft with Office 365, Adobe with its Creative Cloud, or Rocket Science Group's MailChimp.
When you subscribe to Office 365, or Mailchimp, the providers of this software do not create a copy of the code just for you. All users are leveraging the same code base. This approach creates economies of scale delivering huge benefits such as lower costs, greater stability and a continually evolving platform that never becomes obsolete, removing the need for major and costly upgrade cycles. It makes Enterprise grade software available without the Enterprise level prices.
Increased Complexity for Bespoke Solutions
SaaS delivers lower development costs
Future Proof your Association with current best practice in technologies and standards.