When the time comes to update your association management software (AMS) and adopt a more cutting-edge solution, the biggest challenge is often where to begin.
The first step to making an informed purchasing decision is understanding what various vendors offer. Determining what is available, the cost, and the deliverables are key.
To make an accurate comparison, gather the following information:
- Get referrals and input from other associations like yours.
- Ask what system they use, what they like, and what features are lacking in their software.
- Research whether the vendor is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau.
- How long has the vendor been in the business of providing membership management solutions to associations?
- Verify how many times the product has been updated in the last 12 months (monthly is ideal).
- Ask how many customers the vendor currently serves (free trial users shouldn’t be counted as customers).
- Ask about contract terms.
- Narrow down your selection to 3-4 vendors to further research.
After you’ve completed the initial research, create a list of features you need vs. what you’d like to have. This helps to determine which system will best meet your needs. For a list of all of the steps, see the AMS Buyers Workbook with easy-to-use checklists for vendor selection, features/functionality, ease-of-use, setup/integration, and much more.
Editor’s note: This article was originally posted August 31, 2017. It was updated in April 2022.
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