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3 Things Associated Management Software Can’t Do

AMS (association management software) can be a powerful tool for managing your association’s day-to-day operations. There’s a lot of legwork involved in overseeing your members’ professional development, and staff only have so much time and energy to dedicate to administration.

But as many association staff will know, an AMS tool isn’t a Swiss Army knife; it doesn’t provide a solution to every function and expecting it to do so is likely hurting your association’s ability to scale your development opportunities and membership.

Your AMS Tool Can’t Do Everything You Need

Though many AMS tools position themselves as catch-alls for maintaining and scaling your association, there are some glaring holes that most fail to cover. That’s because most AMS tools are built to serve an older model of association management—one that addresses membership management and little else.

But in the 21st century, many associations are learning that streamlined member management is only one piece of the puzzle. 

Associations across the U.S. are struggling to grow and retain their membership. Many associations are unsure of how to approach and engage new audiences, making it harder to establish strong prospects. 

Your Association’s Engagement Needs to Reflect Modern Expectations

Professional associations have a lot to offer their members, but their technical infrastructures prevent them from delivering on modern professionals’ expectations.

If you’re finding it difficult to connect with new audiences and grow your membership, it might be time to consider how your website—the first point of contact for modern professionals—may be affecting how and if professionals engage with your organization.

Here’s what an AMS tool can’t do for you.

Offer an eCommerce-Driven Experience

Your prospective member is as much a consumer as they are an expert in their field. They value seamlessness in their online experience—the same kind they receive from Amazon or Uber. In a world where every step of your professional’s experience is calibrated to optimize engagement and simplify transactions, anything short of streamlined can be an immediate turn-off. 

Unfortunately, there is where the typical AMS tool falls short. Web experiences aren’t reflective of modern eCommerce and, as such, don’t generate professional interest as much as they should. 

When browsing your association’s site, everything the prospect needs to know about the benefits of membership should be immediately apparent. Detailed descriptions, related opportunities, the option to “add items” to a virtual shopping cart and the option to “check out” should all be highlighted and easy to find. These are the hallmarks of a modern eCommerce experience, and they’re necessities for membership growth.

Your professionals already work for a living; making them work to find your association’s value is a step too far. 

Deliver Seamless Conference and Event Management

Offering development opportunities and fostering a sense of community are paramount to your organization’s mission and success. Conferences and other events are your bread and butter in this regard. It’s a shame, then, that so many AMS tools don’t hone the experience of building and hosting these events with ease. Many complicate event management with lengthy, tedious processes that require conference planners to focus on manual administration rather than on delivering a successful event.

Many AMS tools promise streamline event management but few follow through. Rather, best-in-class association conference management software is designed with your organization’s unique needs and requirements in mind. Such tools automate or simplify every aspect of your association’s event to reduce—or often enough eliminate—the need for manual administration. 

This works best when conference management software is tailored to your association, with the ability to: 

  • Fast-track conference setup of participant packages
  • Quickly build event streams and schedules
  • Automate accreditation
  • Automate collection of participant information, distribution of published papers and presentation assets

These are only a few of the necessities for effective association conference and event management - read our education center to learn more!

Bring Members Back for Ongoing Development

Professional development is a lifelong process, but not all AMS tools to reflect this. Many associations operate on the assumption that professionals are aware of the development opportunities available to them and presume they’ll seek them out without provocation. 

This isn’t always the case. Your average professional has a multitude of responsibilities that draw their attention in different directions every day and, without a clear trajectory for career success, your association’s offerings can easily fall by the wayside.

The top reason why many of your professionals join your association is to advance their careers. Robust association management supports individual course offerings and sequences that lead to certification, making the career benefits of each step clear as day. When executed well, you can use tools to segment your learners and identify those who are eligible for new educational or development opportunities. By tailoring personalized messages, you can “call back” professionals who’ve completed one or more steps in achieving a new certification, thereby unlocking pathways they didn’t know were available to them.

Digital credentials are increasingly necessary for your professionals to articulate and market the skills they’ve earned. so be sure to make allowance for them with software that integrates and issues them hassle-free.

Add to Your Association’s Toolbox

An AMS tool can do a lot to help you manage your association’s daily operations, but it can’t do everything.

Simply “managing” isn’t enough anymore. If associations want to not only survive but thrive in an increasingly digital landscape, they’ll need to update their playbook to include tools that turn their online presence into a membership generating machine. They’ll need to provide online experiences that attract new members and strengthen   connections with current ones.

Learn how your professional engagement strategy is affecting your memberships.


Last updated: November 4, 2021

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