21 Sep

For membership organisations, a management system is a vital tool for tracking memberships, managing newsletter subscriptions, issuing special offers, co-ordinating events and offering discounts on services, products and more. But what sort of system will be right for you?


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Varied systems on offer

You’ll find that these systems are sometimes called association management systems or membership systems. There are a range of these, offering varied features and options for customisation, depending on your preferred price range.

Some organisations will need to deliver fundraising as part of their membership, and these bodies may need systems that can track renewal and ‘due’ dates for payments, discounts and special offers. The system required for this is likely to be more sophisticated.

To find out your options and check prices on membership management systems, you could also speak to http://www.ofec.co.uk/Membership-Management-Systems.aspx..

Considering budget

Membership management systems tend to be more cost effective, and Association Management Software systems are typically more costly. Both will become more expensive if you need additional features added in. The trick is knowing what it is you want from your system and whether you require things such as systems integration.

Bear in mind that systems can be simple and low cost or complex, expensive to maintain, and time-consuming to learn. This is why it is really important to define the features that you truly need before being swept away by a sales pitch! Make a list of the things that really matter to your organisation.

Good things to consider are:

What Are Your objectives?

Think about the offer that your members get, and the processes they need to follow to access them. What is the costing system and pricing strategy?

Events – and whether these are key to your organisation. Do you want members to be able to book online? What features do you need to offer, and are your events simple or multi-layered and varied in format, location and booking process?

Communications – how do you want to communicate with your members and how do you want them to communicate with each other?

A custom build database might be a good option if you have an unlimited budget. However, for the vast majority of non-profit membership organisations, an off the shelf tool is likely to be the best course of action.

Larry Wilson