It’s critical for associations to make an “apples to apples” comparison of association management systems when researching new software.
Not sure what criteria to consider? In Part 2 of the blog series, “Where to Begin Your Association’s AMS Search” we address how to research ease of use, setup and integration, and training and support.
Here are some issues to discuss with potential providers:
Ease of Use
A membership management system will only provide value if its features are easy to use and your information is easy to access.
- Ask for a product demonstration to help you determine how quickly you’ll be able to get up and running with the new system. Then see if you walk away with a good feeling about whether the relationship will work.
- Find out what kind of training is available and the cost (e.g. webinars, on-site training options, videos, searchable FAQs, forums, etc.).
- Ask how frequently system updates are released, how they are communicated to users, and how they are implemented (i.e. automatically or by the users).
Setup & Integration
While some associations are large enough to employ an IT team, most are not. Find out if the system integrates with your existing:
- Accounting software
- Social media channels
- Outlook or other email programs
Be sure to verify if someone is assigned to support you through the entire transition process.
Also ask how long it typically takes before an association of your size can be up and running with the new system.
Training & Support
You’ll want good training and support options when you’re learning the new system and on an ongoing basis.
- Verify if there is a limit to or additional cost for support.
- Find out if support is provided by in-house account representatives or outsourced to a third-party call center.
- Ask about typical customer support response times, hours of availability, after-hours emergency availability, and communication options (i.e. online chat, phone, email, online FAQs, etc.).