How to Justify an AMS Purchase to the Association Board

So, your association management system is very out-of-date, and you know it is time for a change. Or, maybe you’re starting from scratch and it’s time to push your organization forward with membership, engagement, and retention strategies that you can’t accomplish on your own.

Get your copy of the AMS Buyer’s Workbook for a
step-by-step plan for choosing the right software.

You know there are huge benefits to utilizing technology and implanting an all-in-one management tool but convincing the Board of Directors (or the decision-makers) to approve such a big purchase is a challenge.

Here is what every decision-maker will want to know:

  • What is our return on investment?
  • Will it give us a competitive advantage?

Convincing decision makers is truly about the numbers and creating a compelling rationale, so doing all of your homework ahead of time is crucial.  Be sure to address these points when making your case:

    • Need: Explain why it is necessary (g., time savings, such as the benefits of automating manual tasks, reporting capabilities, member engagement, etc.).
    • Quantify need-statements with numbers – not adjectives. Use number of employees, number of hours, amount of up-time, etc. 
  • Cost: Provide a cost/benefit analysis that includes the next 3 -5 years for:
    • Acquisition
    • Training
    • Implementation
    • Maintenance
  • Options: Include a high-level view of software or companies you have identified as a possible partner.
    • Consider whether a cloud-based package or boxed software is a good fit.
    • Include the pros and cons of each option.
  • Documentation: An executive’s time is precious. You may not have all of the time you would like to present your case, so provide several types of documents for the board to review outside of the meeting.
    • Long form written documentation that could be up to 20 pages long.
    • Prepare a concise Executive Summary with highlights to accompany the long form.
    • Present a slide deck that is no more than six pages to make your case. (Consider using storytelling to get the board engaged instead of slides with a bunch of charts and graphs).

When it comes time to present in person, make sure you have practiced, practiced, and practiced. Be confident and engaging to make an impactful presentation.  Last, but not least, do not hand out the documents until you are done with your presentation.  You want all eyes on you, not the paper.

Good luck!

Download the AMS Buyer’s Workbook for a
checklist of the questions you need to ask when choosing an AMS.

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