By Joe Ball – Business Development Representative
The association management software (AMS) industry has shifted drastically within the last few years. We’re entering a new decade, and with it comes an updated roadmap for membership database systems.
Capabilities that were once viewed as innovative are no longer enough to grow enterprise nonprofits. Now there are thousands of applications and services that can be directly integrated into a CRM database, enabling association professionals to create a user-friendly experience that their members expect.
So what should be included in your AMS in 2020 and beyond? Below are three must-have features to look for.
3 Must-have AMS Features
As we’ve previously discussed, business intelligence is what makes data actionable, allowing executive management to improve overall strategies and day-to-day operations. With business intelligence technology, your staff can take information from your CRM – demographics, psychographics, e-commerce transactions and event registrations – and create advanced analytic reports and data visualization dashboards (our customers take advantage of these capabilities through LX 365, utilizing Microsoft Power BI). Research and evaluation projects that used to take weeks and months can now be handled in a day or two.
Going forward, business intelligence capacities will become the foundation for your association’s digital transformation.
Integrated Financial Applications
Nonprofit CFOs have various finances to track – membership and chapter dues, event registration fees, sponsorship sales, e-commerce transactions and magazine subscriptions all fall under their purview. Some use applications like QuickBooks, while others might utilize Sage Intacct or Microsoft Great Plains.
You may have been able to get away with it in the 2010s, but if your AMS can not integrate your accounting system, it’s just not worth considering for your association. You’ll be too busy crunching numbers to have any time to focus on your members’ inquiries.
User-driven Event Management
Whether you’re an association veteran or a recent college graduate just entering the nonprofit workforce, events are excellent opportunities to not only connect and grow your network, but a place where you can sharpen your industry expertise to keep you ahead of the competition.
Where is event management technology headed? Don’t be surprised to see more event applications that can be integrated and centralized within your AMS.
Depending on factors like staff size, strategic goals and budget, certain AMS features will obviously have higher priority than others. Some other functionalities that nonprofits commonly ask for that weren’t highlighted here are fundraising, volunteer administration and professional development.
If you’re an enterprise association, business intelligence, integrated finance applications and user-driven event management are simply must-haves in your AMS. This is true whether you are looking to grow your membership or sustain current processes. You and your colleagues risk falling behind otherwise.
Now that you know the AMS features to look for in 2020, check out our webinar with CommPartners, OpenWater and Higher Logic on other technology trends to know – Technology Trends for 2020: Lessons Learned at ASAE TEC.