5 Reasons You Need Trade Association Management Software

Published on 5 Dec 2019 by Auctria

5 Reasons You Need Trade Association Management Software

As an association, you have a lot of information to sift through. There’s member data, event registrations, and other components that need to remain organized, especially as your association grows.

But if your association has grown significantly and you’re still using spreadsheets to keep your data organized, this is a sign you need trade association management software.

Spreadsheets must be updated manually, leaving room for human error. However, investing in association management software, or an AMS, can streamline your data management process and keep your members happy.

In this article, we’ll share 5 reasons you need trade association management software to stay on top of your member data. These elements allow you to:

  1. Maintain a clean membership database.
  2. Easily manage your events.
  3. Design a great website.
  4. Streamline your communication with members.
  5. Pull detailed reports.

Leveraging an AMS to track and maintain all of your data will not only help you stay organized, but also keep your members and engaged and involved with your association. Let’s get started.

1. Maintain a clean membership database.

The reason you have a membership database is to keep your members connected and their contact information readily available. However, if your database is not clean and well-maintained, this defeats the purpose.

If your membership base is growing, spreadsheets won’t be a sufficient solution to organizing your membership data. The same applies to when your association’s offerings are expanding. As you offer more courses, events, fundraisers, programming, and other opportunities, you’ll need an AMS that facilitates the administrative processes associated with each one.

Your AMS should help you:

  • Track parent-child relationships. Parent-child (or company-employer) relationships should be easy to identify within your AMS. This helps organize your data in a way that is consistent with trade association-specific practices and is simpler for your team to use.
  • Merge data and deduplicate member entries. Accurate and up-to-date member information is essential so you can provide your members with relevant information and opportunities. An AMS with built-in deduplication and data merge tools will help keep your member data organized and accessible.
  • Integrate with your other existing software solutions. If you have data stored in several places without a way to integrate your AMS with your other solutions, you’ll lose track of where your data is correct and where it may be outdated. Instead, maintaining your data in a centralized database that integrates with your other software choices will keep the data clean and consistent.

By keeping your member database clean and updated, you’ll meet your members’ needs with the information they seek and demonstrate the value your database brings. Learn even more about how an AMS can help your team with Novi AMS’s guide to trade association management software.

2. Easily manage your events.

One of the most impactful features of an AMS is the ability to manage your events. Whether you’re running a conference or planning an auction, your AMS should help you manage your event planning process.

For example, if you’re hosting a conference, your AMS should help you track and organize several different aspects of the event. For example, it should make it easy to:

  • Track attendance for the conference using a master registration list.
  • Sell tickets using complex structures and member versus non-member pricing.
  • Solicit suggested donations.
  • Limit visibility to certain groups or sell to the public at large.
  • Compare event performance between conferences.

When your association management software makes planning your event easy, you’ll be able to focus more on the event itself, ensuring that your attendees have a positive experience. Then, when your attendees have a great time at your event, you can encourage them to remain engaged with your association for the long-term.

3. Design a great website.

Where is the first place potential members look when they consider joining your association? It’s your website. Having a professional and up-to-date website will help you keep your members in the loop in terms of industry and association-specific news.

Your AMS should offer a content management system (CMS) that helps you engage with your members and keep them updated. When the CMS is part of your management software, you won’t have to worry about finding a way to make sure both solutions communicate effectively.

But it’s not enough to have a web design component to your AMS. It should also offer certain features to make it easy to maintain your website. These include:

  • A responsive design. When your website is responsive, it will be easy to view from any device, including tablets and mobile phones. This will improve the user experience and make it easy for members to access important links, such as the login to their member portal. Your CMS should also allow your team to edit site content from mobile devices in addition to desktop devices. This way, you can keep your content up-to-date from anywhere.

  • Easy editing capabilities. Look for a platform that offers click-to-edit capabilities, which means your staff can easily edit the front end of your website without having to access the source code. However, source code options should still be available for staff members who have some coding experience.

  • Member portals. Members who visit your website should be able to log into their portal, access communications, and update their information. This will ensure they know when to pay their dues and keep them connected to your association. Even more, it ensures your association will have the most up-to-date information saved about each member.

  • Member directories. Your CMS should offer a way to search a member directory, which members can use to reach out to fellow professionals in their fields.

  • Google Analytics tracking. Google Analytics is a great way to track your site’s performance. When your CMS has this tool embedded into your association website, you’ll be able to track where your traffic is coming from and which of your outreach efforts are driving the most traffic to your website.

  • SEO tools. If you want your association's website to rank on search engines, it’s important to keep search engine optimization (SEO) best practices in mind. This means your CMS should offer the ability to optimize your page titles, edit meta descriptions, and leverage other SEO tools to make your site rank.

  • Your website should be easy to maintain and serve as a source of information for your members. By leveraging an AMS-CMS package deal, you’ll encourage members to use your site to update their information and keep everyone connected.

4. Streamline your communication with members.

Maintaining your member data using an AMS can also help with your outreach. Your AMS can help you streamline your communication to all of your members, allowing you to personalize your outreach and send only relevant information to the appropriate members.

Look for an AMS that integrates with the communication tools you already use so it’s easy to keep your members updated.

Your AMS should offer:

  • Integrations with email marketing tools. If your AMS integrates with email tools you already use, like Constant Contact and Mailchimp, you can leverage these tools to reach out to a lot of members at once and do so efficiently.
  • Automatic updates. When members log into their member portals, they can update their contact information and it should automatically sync to your member database.

- Segmented email lists. Use segmented email lists to direct certain communications toward different groups of members. You can segment the emails based on similar association interests, classes completed, or events attended.

- Member group creation. You can also create member groups within your AMS and use your email marketing platform to communicate with these groups.

  • Social media integrations. Stay connected to your members by embedding a social feed on your website that automatically updates so your members can stay current with news in your association. Your AMS should also allow members to embed their own social media feeds into their profiles in the member directory.

Your AMS can help you streamline all sorts of communications and channels to keep your members engaged with what’s happening in your association. Be sure to leverage a platform that offers integrations like the above and email marketing tools to ensure your members receive relevant communications.

If you’re looking for more information on these integrations, check out Novi AMS’s guide to AMS integrations.

5. Pull detailed reports.

Staying on top of your member data means leveraging effective reports. Your AMS should offer robust reporting features that help you track your membership metrics, events, and more.

For example, with your AMS, you can:

  • Format your reports the way you need them.
  • Use integrations with accounting software like QuickBooks to keep your financial data organized and secure.
  • Monitor your revenue and attendance goals for events, such as auctions or conferences that you host.

When you leverage AMS reporting tools, you can monitor a variety of metrics to ensure your events are performing the way you want them to, your financial data is organized, and your reports are customized the way you need them to be. Choose an AMS that provides all of these features and you’ll boost engagement with your members and instill trust in them.

Your association is growing. This means your system for tracking memberships, events, communications, and other elements should evolve, too. Find an AMS that meets your association’s needs so you can engage even further with your members, keeping your team and member base happy.

If you’re looking for some of the top AMS platforms, check out this list.