There is a lot already written about the importance of AMS software and how to go about choosing a committee to oversee selection and AMS implementation. There is also a lot of information written about developing a strategy for ensuring that the software meets the right goals within your association and that staff members buy into the process. But selecting and implementing membership software isn’t simply a matter of attending a trade show and talking with a few vendors. Before that process even begins, there are some things you need to do to assure that the implementation process goes smoothly and ends with a happy success story. Where do you even start?
1. What Will Your Membership Experience Inevitably Look Like?
Most of what you read about this process involves how to find data sources within your association’s existing solutions and software, how to choose software that fits your internal processes, and how to assure buy-in across your association. But for membership software to be successful, you have to create a picture of what the software will do for member engagement. How will it affect their experiences with your association? How will it address their needs and help them become more involved?
Instead of merely drawing a picture of what the software will do in-house, develop a concept of how it will look from the outside. How does it drive member engagement? Does it support all of your plans for email newsletters, social media engagement, and building solid community forums? Can it support planning and execution of your live events? Step outside of your own processes and look at solutions from the outside in.
2. What Metrics Will You Use to Define Success?
There is no one-size-fits-all AMS software solution. You need to know what metrics you will collect to determine how much you’ve improved so that you can identify when you have been successful at meeting the goals you specify for the project.
What does success with your membership software mean? You can’t boost member engagement or improve internal processes until you have a way to identify and collect the metrics that will define inevitable success. Will the project be successful if it shaves off 20 minutes of time a day for the workers? Will it be a success if it improves member engagement by 10 percent? How will you define that 10 percent?
You could measure the number of events a member attends during a calendar year, or the number of comments made to your social media pages, or even the number of new threads created in your member forums on your website. But you must know what metrics you need and how you will collect and assess those metrics before choosing a system that will allow you to do so effectively.
3. What Does Your Current System Lack?
Finally, you need to know exactly why the current system needs to be replaced to begin with. Are members dropping out because your current AMS software doesn’t allow you to provide them with the educational tools they need? Are they dissatisfied with your website experience, or perhaps your email newsletter leaves something to be desired? Your internal processes can also affect member engagement. For instance, you could be taking too long to answer their questions or address their concerns. The right software will speed up internal processes, allowing your association to deliver faster service and a more meaningful experience for your members.
With these steps taken, you’re ready to delve into the selection and implementation process with every reason to expect success. To dig further into what to expect during implementation, check our the eBook.