Indirect costs are costs that are not directly accountable to something (e.g., a particular project, facility, or product). A robust membership management software system can result in great long-term ROI for associations.
On the other hand, sub-par association membership software can be inefficient. Associations depending on outdated AMS software are often saddled with unanticipated indirect costs.
In a recent blog post, Wes Trochlil of Effective Database Management addressed direct costs vs. indirect costs regarding association management software. Trochlil is an expert on association member database management.
The direct costs are clear—the amount spent on the association software itself. The indirect costs, however, can quickly add up. A subpar AMS can result in wasted time, missed opportunities, staff headaches, etc.
Indirect costs are seldom taken into consideration when calculating expenses; they are difficult to quantify, so they are ignored or unnoticed. When shopping for member management options, reading online reviews about the best association software can be helpful.
A client told me she was having trouble with staff turnover, especially with younger staff. When I asked her about her technology, her eyes got big, and she said: “The last staffer who left me told me in her exit interview that she was leaving in part because the technology we had made her job so hard to do.”
His client’s experience is the very definition of indirect costs with association management software.
An AMS that appears as less expensive often costs more than a robust, fully functional product. Cheaper isn’t always better.
Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on April 16, 2019. It has been updated.