Managing an association takes a great deal of scheduling, organization, and coordination within your leadership team. Emailing members, recruiting prospects, and ensuring payments are received on time can be daunting tasks, especially as your membership base expands. That’s where association management software (AMS) comes in.
Whether you’re looking to invest in an AMS for the first time or you need to upgrade your solution, it’s worth it to take the time to explore which choices best suit your current size and needs as well as your long-term goals. This list of providers spans a variety of niches and comprehension levels to give you a clear sense of the particular balance of specificity, utility, and ease of use that will best suit your needs.
Here’s what you can expect from this guide:
- Top AMS Software FAQs
- The Best Association Management Software Platform
- Other Top Association Software Solutions
Before we explore these top picks, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions concerning association management platforms.
Top AMS Software FAQs
Association management software is used to automate membership management, fundraising, event management, chapter management, and financial processing. Your organization should choose an AMS with features that align with its size and goals.
The best AMS solutions are designed to meet the unique needs of individual associations. They can help you organize and record the data of your organization based on the information collected from members over time, such as their contact information or their level of engagement with your organization. Depending on your organization’s goals, AMS solutions can also assist with event planning and communication with members.
Oftentimes, the terms “AMS” and “CRM” are used interchangeably—however, they have two distinct purposes. This graphic from Protech illustrates the key differences and similarities between the two:
Customer relationship management software (CRM) is defined as a software solution that tracks and manages all of an organization’s interactions with its customers (in this case, your members). While an AMS is used to manage association-specific tasks, CRMs are used more widely by many other industries. The primary purpose of a CRM is to organize data about these interactions to help your association deepen relationships and increase renewals.
Your AMS has a broader scope of features than a CRM, but ideally, the two tools should work together with the ultimate goal of providing valuable, positive member experiences. To get the best parts of each software, look for a CRM-based AMS.
Each AMS provider includes different features, and some even offer various tiers of complexity for associations of different sizes. Here are some of the most common and useful association management software features to look for when choosing your software:
Membership management. Membership management software gives you a full view of member activities, members’ depth of engagement, and potential for growth. This solution can include a member directory and CRM to keep your membership data organized.
Member portal. This feature allows your members to login in to view their payment records and customized membership resources. You can often tailor member profiles to provide differing levels of access for various membership packages.
Event management. This feature makes it easier to host in-person or virtual events with tools like live streaming, panel platforms, event registration, and event promotion.
Financial management. Financial management features allow associations to record and process payments. The system can also be used to remind members about late dues.
Communication management. With this capacity, your association can stay connected with members through text messages, email updates, and newsletters. Associations can also create online discussions to stimulate dialogue among members.
With these key features, your association will be able to track and visualize data more accurately. This convenient access to data gives you real-time snapshots of the state of your membership, progress toward goals, and financial health. With this information, your association can adjust its strategies to operate more efficiently and effectively.
The Best Association Management Software Platform
1. Fonteva: Best for Salesforce Users
With comprehensive features and an intuitive structure that can get your team up and running in a timely manner, Fonteva is one of the best AMS solutions out there.
Focused on offering your team both big-picture planning capabilities and more specific tools to fine-tune your strategies, events, and communications, Fonteva is a powerful partner for any membership-based organization. Retain more members and grow like never before with one of the most agile and intuitive AMS solutions on the market.
Association management software overview: The software is built on Salesforce, the world’s leading CRM platform for businesses.
Recommended for: Fonteva is great for any size association because the software is completely scalable, so it can grow with your organization and integrate with the other systems you already use.
Favorite Feature: Member-360 provides your association with a 360-degree view of your members with insights into their engagement and interests. You can also customize membership pages for tailored experiences and seamless communication.
Pricing: Contact the Fonteva team for a demo and custom pricing.
As a fully native Salesforce app, Fonteva offers associations the power and flexibility needed to not only fit comfortably within your operations but also to streamline every aspect of them.
Additionally, there are no “growing pains” with Fonteva as it’s a completely scalable solution. As a true cloud solution, Fonteva Membership allows you to choose the functionality you need when you require it. You can easily add additional tools as your association grows and your needs change.
Other Top Association Software Solutions
2. Protech: Best for Microsoft Users
Association management software overview: Protech is built for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and is best suited for associations that currently use the Microsoft ecosystem. The system includes a variety of database, financial, e-commerce, and analytics tools. If you’re searching for a Microsoft-based platform that includes member, leadership, and staff engagement capabilities, look no further!
Recommended for: Associations who use the Microsoft suite of products and are looking for an easily-integrated AMS.
Favorite feature: Protech’s BI & Analytics empower associations with automated and shareable reports like membership reports and financial reports.
Pricing: Contact the Protech team for pricing.
3. Wild Apricot: Best for small to mid-sized organizations
Association management software review: Wild Apricot offers powerful association management tools that would otherwise be inaccessible for mid-size associations such as a member database, website builder, payment processor, event management platform, and mobile app.
Recommended for: Small to mid-size associations looking for a cost-effective association management platform.
Favorite Feature: Wild Apricot’s mobile app feature allows admins and members to access their profiles on the go. If you’re an active leader who is frequently attending regional chapter settings and conferences, this can help you keep your association organized from any location.
Pricing: Payment plans are based on total association size including staff and members. Wild Apricot services range from $60 per month for 100 people or less to $900 per month for 50,000 total people. For discounted rates, consider pre-paying for one to two years’ worth of the software.
4. MemberPlanet: Best for groups with smaller budgets
Association management software review: MemberPlanet offers a lightweight association management solution with simple payment processing, a member directory, and member messaging capabilities.
Recommended for: Smaller associations or those with multiple chapters who are looking for integrated chapter solutions.
Favorite Feature: MemberPlanet’s online payments feature includes customizable payment forms and several payout options. It accepts all credit card payments, making transactions simple for you and your members.
Pricing: All versions of MemberPlanet’s association management software plans include a payment processing fee of 3% + $0.30 per transaction. The basic plan is free with a 4% platform fee.
5. MemberClicks: Best for groups looking for an all-in-one solution
Association management software review: MemberClicks can help you recruit new members, grow your revenue, and promote your organization with their suite of member-centric tools.
Recommended for: Associations looking for a tailored, all-in-one association management solution.
Favorite Feature: MemberClicks’ MC Professional platform can evaluate membership profiles to help you understand your engagement rates and improve both retention and recruitment.
Pricing: Contact the MemberClicks team for pricing.
6. EZ SignUp: Best general cloud-based platform
Association management software review: EZ SignUp is an association management software solution focused on event management. You can customize event registration forms and email templates for optimal event promotion and member engagement.
Recommended for: Associations that frequently host in-person or online events.
Favorite Feature: EZ SignUp’s flexible event pricing makes it simple to set tiered pricing, early bird deals, and member rates.
Pricing: Contact the EZ SignUp team for pricing.
7. Novi AMS: Best for QuickBooks users
Association management software review: Novi AMS was created by association professionals as the ultimate QuickBooks-integrated association management solution. This platform has a built-in CMS and features like email marketing, member portals, and accounting.
Recommended for: Trade associations that have members join as employees of a company rather than individuals. You can track familial relationships and business affiliations when needed in this AMS.
Favorite Feature: The Novi AMS task center allows your association leadership to set and assign tasks to team members, creating more organized and efficient workflows within your association.
Pricing: Novi AMS offers scalable pricing based on your annual revenue. Prices start at $719 per month with $2,995 in onboarding fees.
8. ClubExpress: Best for clubs
Association management software review: ClubExpress is an online association management solution that is an excellent option for quickly building your website, recording membership data, and processing payments. After signing up, your association will have access to a template website, so you can dive right into managing your events.
Recommended for: Small associations and clubs that want an online association management software solution with no download or onboarding necessary.
Favorite Feature: ClubExpress’ jobs board allows association members to publish job openings for their peers to stimulate networking and communication.
Pricing: ClubExpress has a minimum fee of $42 per month that increases based on how many active members are in your organization.
9. iMIS: Best for member recruitment
Association management software review: iMIS is a platform that combines the power of AMS, CRM, and CMS to bring you an advanced engagement management platform. It is a popular, scalable solution that your association can use to streamline membership recruitment and community-building efforts.
Recommended for: Associations focused on enhancing membership experience to help with recruitment and retention.
Favorite Feature: The iMIS membership management feature enables you to customize the online experiences of your different membership tiers.
Pricing: Contact the iMIS team for pricing.
10. Raklet: Best for customer support
Association management software review: Raklet offers a wide range of services that you can customize for your organization’s needs. Their plans scale up depending on the size of your organization and the number of features you need.
Recommended for: Associations with at least 50 members and financial means to use the optimized plan or offset additional fees.
Favorite Feature: Raklet’s discussion board feature allows members to connect and communicate about topics that interest them and potential career opportunities. Raklet can connect with thousands of other online apps, giving your members the opportunity to share their experiences far and wide.
Pricing: Raklet charges a transaction processing fee between 1-4% + $0.60 per transaction. For 50 members, plan coverage starts at $0 per month and ranges to $299+ per month for 10,000 members. For unlimited contacts, admins, and storage, contact Raklet’s team for custom pricing.
11. Almabase: Best for alumni associations
Association management software review: Almabase is an alumni association management software with powerful tools to cultivate your alumni membership through events, email marketing, and an online alumni forum.
Recommended for: Alumni associations focused on maintaining a close network of members and engaging them in virtual events.
Favorite Feature: Almabase can connect with Facebook and LinkedIn to provide easy ways for members to engage with their peers and view interests. Members can also create their own affinity groups within the association platform, allowing them to facilitate their own mini-events.
Pricing: Contact the Almabase team for pricing.
12. StarChapter: Best for multi-chapter groups
Association management software review: StarChapter is an excellent solution for large associations with multiple chapters that are looking for a streamlined approach to membership management. This association management solution allows for board members and other staff roles to be customized in the backend of the platform, allowing for greater efficiency.
Recommended for: Associations with multiple chapters looking to unite their leadership and members under a larger system.
Favorite Feature: StarChapter’s email marketing enables associations to promote events, send automated newsletters, segment their member audience, track email engagement, and receive feedback from members.
Pricing: StarChapter offers pricing based on organization size with the essentials plan starting at $83 per month with a $779 setup fee for 150 members and 1,000 additional contacts. Their pro plan is $165 per month with a $1,559 setup fee for 1,200 members and an additional 8,000 contacts.
If you’re interested in finding more information about AMS features and management, look no further. Review these articles to learn more about using association management software for your organization:
- Using Salesforce for Associations | 5 Strategies for Success. If your organization already uses Salesforce technology, learn how to leverage a Salesforce-native AMS.
- AMS System: What is it? And 5+ AMS Software Solutions. Learn about the benefits of using an AMS system and the top features to look for.
- CRM for Associations: The Basics & How It Complements an AMS. Curious about the difference between a CRM and AMS? Check out this guide for CRM basics and how to select a CRM-based association management tool.