Your association thrives as a direct result of its membership program. Your members make up the foundation of your organization and its fundraising endeavors, which is why it’s important to sustain association membership as much as possible.

Keeping your members engaged with your association isn’t always easy, but if you leverage the right management software, you’ll make the process a lot simpler.

Our recommendation? Invest in association management software (AMS). An AMS is a software solution that gathers, stores, and organizes information on your members.

An AMS offers a library of features that you can take advantage of to further engage your members and retain them as a result. In this article, we’ve outlined 4 key features in particular that you should look out for:

  1. Content Management System
  2. Member Database
  3. Event Management
  4. Integrations

With these features, you can sustain your association membership and maintain a solid foundation for your organization. Let’s get started.

1. Content Management System

When your members are looking to interact with your association, look for news updates, or find programming information, the first place they’ll likely stop is your website. In order to keep them current on important events and updates regarding your association, your website should be professional in appearance and easy to navigate.

But what does this have to do with your AMS?

Your AMS should offer a built-in content management system (CMS) that you can use to design your website and remain engaged with your members.

More specifically, the CMS within your management software should:

  • Offer a responsive design. Many of your members will access your website on a mobile device. Meet them where they are by designing a website that is easily viewable on a desktop, mobile device, and tablet. This way, members can easily access links, such as their login to their member portal, from any device, as well as register for events and more.
  • Be easy to edit and update. Choose a functional CMS that is easy to update, even if your team has little to no coding experience. With features like click-to-edit, your team can edit the front-end of your site without having to access the source code. You should also look for mobile editing capabilities so you can edit your site on-the-go.
  • Offer member portals and directories. Your site should connect your members to their member portals, where they can access communications and update their contact information. You’ll also want to ensure your CMS offers a member directory so members can promote their services and products to other member companies.
  • Feature Google Analytics tracking. Google Analytics allows you to view your site’s performance and understand where the traffic is coming from. Leverage a CMS that has embedded Google Analytics functionality so you can track metrics like site visits, bounce rates, and more.
  • Provide SEO tools. If you want your website to rank on search engines for specific keywords, be sure to use a CMS that offers SEO tools like optimized page titles and meta descriptions for each page of your site.

In addition to the above, you can engage your members and sustain membership by telling your association’s story through your website. Be sure to include strong calls-to-action and prioritize your online presence.

2. Member Database

Part of sustaining your association’s membership means organizing your member data. When your AMS helps keep your member data clean and organized, you’ll be able to provide the appropriate members with relevant information.

In order to keep your member database organized, your AMS should:

  • Offer deduplication and data merge tools. Keep your data clean with deduplication and data merge tools that remove or merge duplicate entries so that you end up with an accessible and organized database. These tools will also save your team time since they won’t have to manually clean out your database.
  • Accommodate all membership types. Your association management software should be built to accommodate all membership types, including trade associations, societies, and hybrids.

If your member data is organized and easy to navigate, you’ll be able to streamline your communications with members using accurate and up-to-date contact information. When your members receive valuable and relevant materials from your association, they’ll continue to see the value in remaining a member year after year.

3. Event Management

A great way to keep your members engaged with your association is by hosting events. Conferences and other events are great educational and networking opportunities for your members and add a level of value to their membership. 

However, in order to leverage events to sustain your membership, your AMS should offer event management features that allow your members to learn about upcoming events on your website and easily register for them.

For example, your AMS should allow you to manage your events with:

  • Easy registration. Members should be able to easily register for your events through your website in just a few clicks.
  • Reporting features. Reporting features can help your team provide a better experience for your members with each subsequent event, as you’ll be able to pinpoint areas that need improvement.
  • Marketing outreach. Your AMS should integrate with email automation software so you can elevate your outreach. Send communications to select groups of members about the events they’ve registered for or events they may be interested in. 
  • Complex tickets structures. Ticket sales should be easy to set up, but able to accommodate complex events. You should be able to assign member and non-member pricing, limit visibility to certain groups, customize registration forms by ticket type, and more. 
  • Event comparison. Compare the reports and key metrics from any two events to evaluate the pace of registration.

When your event management process is streamlined, you’ll successfully engage your members and provide a positive experience that they can value for the duration of their careers. If you’re interested in learning more about how an AMS can help your team, check out Novi AMS’s guide to trade association management software.

4. Integrations

You may already use other software solutions to keep your association’s records organized. Some of these solutions may include communication tools, accounting software, and others. This shouldn’t be a problem, however, as your AMS should offer integrations with the tools that you’re already using.

When your AMS integrates with these other solutions, you’ll be able to stay on top of your data and keep your members happy as a result. Look out for the following key integrations that can help you do this:

  • Email automation software. As mentioned before, your AMS should offer integrations with email automation software like Mailchimp and Constant Contact. This integration will help you segment your members into specific groups so you can send out the appropriate information to the right people.
  • Accounting software. Integrating your AMS and your accounting software will ensure the transfer of your financial transaction data is more secure. It can also save your accounting team a lot of time. Your AMS should integrate with solutions like Quickbooks to keep sensitive financial information safe and allow for faster financial processes.
  • Social media. Beyond your email outreach, social media integrations can help you meet your members on platforms they’re already using. Choose an AMS that allows you to link to your association’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts so you can stay connected to your members. You should also be able to embed a social feed on your website and allow members to add their social media information to their profiles. Make the most of your social media presence!

AMS integrations are essential for your association so you can continue using the tools that already work for you, while maintaining all of your information in a centralized location. Leveraging your AMS alongside your accounting, communication, and social media tools will allow you to further connect with your members, keep their information safe, and send them the relevant updates they need.

To sustain your membership base, you’ll want to leverage your AMS to its full extent. That’s why you should look for an AMS with these key features to ensure that you make the most of your website, member database, events, and other solutions you use.
Not sure where to start in your search? Check out this list of association management software.