What is an AMS? And 5 Solutions.

AMS System: What is it? & 5 Solutions

The day-to-day tasks of modern association leaders are filled with emailing members about upcoming renewal dates, planning exciting events, and coming up with valuable opportunities for members to enjoy.

Juggling so many different balls isn’t easy—that’s where association management software (AMS) comes in.

You might already have tools you depend on, but not every association management solution is equal. As more associations begin offering virtual programs and online events, using a reliable and comprehensive AMS to keep your members connected is essential. Whether it’s your first time looking for a solution or you’re thinking of an upgrade, you’ve come to the right place.

This guide will walk through the following topics to prepare your team to find the right AMS for your association:

Ready to invest in an AMS that fosters a strong membership community and provides them with unforgettable programming and events? Then start your search here! 

This is an overview of what an association management system looks like.

Association Management Software: An Overview

In simplest terms, association management software (AMS) systems are comprehensive solutions aimed to help automate and digitize many of your recurring tasks. From communicating with members to managing and planning events, your AMS should do it all.

Using these capabilities, your AMS also gathers and organizes important member information. This not only ensures you create valuable courses, events, and other programming, but it also optimizes your communications, marketing, and reporting process.

1. What is association management?

Association management is a rather unique field because members pay dues in exchange for being part of the community. For those seeking guidance from colleagues in the same professional field, associations provide far-reaching networking opportunities to help further their careers and increase knowledge-sharing for community building.

Associations are usually governed through a board or an elected team to help oversee and handle all of the event planning, registration processes, and member details. As your membership increases and your association grows, management becomes an arduous process.

However, with specialized association management software, you can find solutions to help save time and let your team focus on big-picture goals, like increasing member engagement and retention.

2. What AMS System Features Should You Look For?

The features that you require in your AMS will differ depending on your association’s unique needs. If you often host online webinars, an AMS with a learning management system (LMS) integration is a no-brainer, whereas another association might not find this unnecessary.

These are the essential features of an association management system.
[These are the essential features of an association management system.]

While every association has different priorities, on matter what, your AMS should have these essential features

  • Membership management —  One of your most important jobs is managing your members. This not only involves member registration but what you do with their valuable member data. Gathering and storing accurate member information can impact almost all aspects of association management, so having a solution catered to this is essential.
  • Member portal — Not only can your AMS provide you with tools to oversee member information, but the best ones should also offer a member portal. This is where members can browse through a navigable directory and learn more about other members in the association, helping them get familiar with one another. Members can even self-edit their profiles!
  • Event management – Along with managing members, you also have to provide them with exciting opportunities and valuable experiences through association events. The right software solution makes it easy for attendees to register and participate in your programming, whether the event is a large conference or a small class or presentation. You should be able to register members, offer automatic discounts, and tiered registrations.
  • Financial management — Processing event registrations, membership registrations, and dues payments, require a financial management and payment tool. Make sure your AMS’s payment processor is secure and integrated with your other tools. Also, check that it can facilitate recurring payments to make dues payments easier.
  • Communication management – For both member and event management, you’ll need a capable communication tool, specifically one with automation features. Automated communication keeps your members in the loop and saves your team time drafting and sending each message. This way, you focus on your outreach’s contents rather than when you’ll deliver it.
  • Reporting tools – Your AMS is the perfect tool for compiling data, so make sure yours comes with robust reporting features. Your AMS should offer both customizable and pre-built reports to help you learn from past data. The best reports present data in a visually intuitive format, making it easy for anyone to understand and take action.

3. What Are The Benefits Of Association Management Systems?

Benefits of an AMS for your staff

Your staff is working hard to plan content, education, conferences, and other events for your members. Without the right AMS system, your team also has to deal with the day-to-day operations of fact-checking member profiles and keeping track of due payments. The best AMS system will streamline and add efficiencies to these tasks, providing your association with:

  • Efficient and secure flow — When your staff and team are planning your next engagement strategy, an AMS solution can make it easier to transfer and view data from multiple databases. For example, to get a full view of your members, you might need to pull data from your event management tool as well as your membership management tool. Make sure your AMS has reliable integration capabilities to make this possible— or even better, invest in a platform solution.
  • Increased security — Consolidating your association’s information in your AMS database is more secure than having it loose in an offline Excel spreadsheet. Association database management is more accessible to your staff when it is housed in an online software solution.
  • Increased recruitment and retention — With an AMS optimizing your communications and ensuring you offer the best member experience, your association can not only recruit new prospects but retain current members. Plus, automatic dues payments and pre-scheduled dues reminders can also prevent members from lapsing. 
  • Decisions backed by data — With all the data collected from emails, events, and other online engagements, you can make more informed decisions about your association’s future. For instance, use data to help you figure out which marketing outreach strategy has the highest chance of success by observing past ones. Or, pick the next online webinar topic by looking through feedback from your other learning opportunities.

Benefits of an AMS for your members

Your AMS system isn’t just there to increase efficiency for behind-the-scenes operations. The member experience reflects in your membership retention numbers. The more intuitive and engaging your AMS system is, the more likely your members will continue to contribute to your community. With an upgraded AMS system, your members will have:

  • Consistent and improved experiences. With an AMS, your association can create beautiful websites with individual pages and forms that are simple yet effective, all completely branded to your association.
  • Access to a wide variety of relevant resources. Your association members are there to connect with others like them and learn from the experiences your association curates. Make sure your members have the resources they need. Your AMS can even create a members-only portal to provide white papers, informational guides, and educational courses.
  • Community building opportunities — In addition to advancing in their career and participating in valuable learning opportunities, individuals join your association to meet other like-minded people and be a part of a community. Your AMS can promote this with online discussion boards, engaging event ideas, and more. 
Explore these association management systems.

Explore These 5 AMS Systems

As mentioned earlier, no AMS solution is built the same. Some are more comprehensive, whereas others are created to meet industry-specific needs. In order to help you find the AMS that’s best for your association and its members, we’ll walk through these different solutions:

  1. Fonteva
  2. MemberClicks
  3. MemberLeaps
  4. NoviAMS
  5. iMIS

Fonteva: All-in-One AMS System

This is a screenshot of Fonteva's association management system website.
[This is a screenshot of Fonteva’s association management system website. ]

Fonteva Membership is a dedicated association management system solution built for associations looking to streamline processes and make the day-to-day tasks of management more effective. As a true-cloud AMS, Fonteva users have the benefit of accessing updated data in real-time, no matter where they are.

With over a decade of experience partnering with associations, Fonteva knows exactly what leaders like you need to succeed when taking their associations online. Fonteva’s tools are flexible and built to grow with your association. 

And, as a Salesforce-native software solution, Fonteva has access to every app on the Salesforce AppsExchange, letting you pick and choose which capabilities to add as your association expands.

Why This Association Management Solution Stands Out

Fonteva’s AMS has functionalities to aid with any of your managerial tasks. In particular, Fonteva users can:

  • Connect members to valuable opportunities with direct access to a member directory, event calendar and sign-ups, and continuing education classes.
  • Plan and host events (both in-person and virtual), making it easy for members to sign up and engage with others in meaningful ways. 
  • Automate membership dues with its integrated payment processor. It can also apply discounts to certain members if they’re eligible when registering for an event or purchasing something from your e-commerce store. 
  • Easily create reports using compiled data to make key insights about how your association is currently performing and note areas for improvements. Fonteva offers both pre-built and customized reports that you can use. 
  • Access any of the apps on the Salesforce AppExchange as well as integrate with existing Salesforce tools with ease, something only a truly native Salesforce app can provide.

MemberClicks: AMS System Overview

This is a screenshot of MemberClicks' association management system website.
[This is a screenshot of MemberClicks’ association management system website. ]

MemberClicks is an AMS that serves all types of associations, chambers, and universities. With MemberClicks, you can simplify the way your association engages with members, while also providing them with a platform of integrated tools to take their experience to the next level. 

Why This Association Management Solution Stands Out

MemberClicks offers these capabilities: 

  • Integrated learning management system to provide members with exciting opportunities.
  • Dues management tool to make payment and reporting easy.
  • Association website building tools to stay connected with members online.

MemberLeap: AMS System Overview

This is a screenshot of MemberLeap's association management system website.
[This is a screenshot of MemberLeap’s association management system website.]

MemberLeap offers affordable and easy-to-use software that helps any association streamline its basic member-based administrative duties. Because of its flexible build, associations and organizations of all sizes can leverage MemberLeap’s platform with ease.

Why This Association Management Solution Stands Out

Check out these top features from MemberLeap:

  • Member database so that you can easily manage members, cross reference data points, and search for key metrics.
  • A mobile app that allows members to have quick and easy access to various MemberLeap tools.
  • Email tools that can set up drip campaigns, organize message boards, create and send out newsletters, and more.

NoviAMS: AMS System Overview

This is a screenshot of NoviAMS association management system website.
[This is a screenshot of NoviAMS association management system website.]

Novi AMS is an AMS solution that is both designed by and for association professionals. Specifically, they tend to cater to trade associations, aiming to help their members develop professionally and make valuable connections with each other. Additionally, NoviAMS makes it easy for your association to keep track of important accounting information through its integration with QuickBooks.

Why This Association Management Solution Stands Out

Here are some of the top features of NoviAMS:

  • 2-way, 24/7 integration with QuickBooks, making it easy to track invoices, online payments, and other important financial data.
  • Web building tools to help trade association professionals create a beautiful and engaging website without the necessary coding experience. 
  • Flexible member types, allowing associations to organize members by whether they’re company-based, individual, or a hybrid combination.

iMIS: AMS System Overview

This is a screenshot of iMIS association management system website.
[This is a screenshot of iMIS association management system website.]

iMIS association management software is a system created by ASI, Advanced Solutions International. It aims to help associations streamline member engagement and encourage growth within their membership base. 

Why This AMS Solution Stands Out

With iMIS, you have access to these features:

  • A library of features and add-on apps that you can enable/disable for a customized experience.
  • A visual dashboard that helps you turn hard data and metrics into actionable insights.
  • A modern, cloud-based solution, allowing staff members access even from their mobile phones.

From recruitment to retention, your association management system is the most efficient tool in your association’s toolbox. Engaging your members in a strong member community starts with forethought and the best software available! When it comes time to start comparing various association management software solutions, prioritize the features discussed above.

For more about association software, check out these additional resources:

Download our guide to association management software!

This is the feature image for this article about top membership management software and reviews.

Top Membership Management Software Options & Reviews

As your association grows, your requirements for your membership software grow, too — so much so that you’ve outgrown your current membership management solution!

After congratulating your members on another successful year, it’s time to get to work with your association leadership team and find your next membership management system. Your task is to find the best association management software that can handle your organization’s specific needs and scale with you as you continue to grow.

There’s no shortage of systems to choose from, and parsing through all your available options can quickly become overwhelming. In this guide, we’ll review membership management software basics and describe top options to give you a clear picture of how to proceed. We’ll cover these topics:

As you work through this post, keep in mind that the perfect membership management system looks different for every unique association. Features your organization can’t do without may not even cross the minds of another association’s executive team.

Ultimately, your members are the heart of your association, so keeping your member community and their needs at the forefront as you decide which management solution is right for your organization is essential. With that, let’s jump in!

This section will describe the basic features and purpose of membership management software.

What is Membership Management Software?

Membership management software is a specialized customer relationship management (CRM) system that association leaders use to stay on top of the administration of their association’s membership program.

These software systems store crucial information about association members, such as member profiles, continuing education history, and preferred communication methods.

In addition to storing this essential data, association management software enables association leaders to complete various administrative tasks meant to streamline management processes, improve communication with members, and boost member engagement.

For example, with the member information you gather through your software system, you can create courses, events, and other programs based on your audience’s preferences. This system can also keep track of members’ continuing education credits and event registrations, boosting personal and professional development. Additionally, communication features allow leaders to automate association-wide updates for a simplified notification process.

If your organization has yet to implement a full-fledged membership management system, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities it can reveal. You can ditch the messy spreadsheets and clunky communications systems you may have used in the past for an all-in-one solution that simplifies your management duties for maximum engagement success.

These are the seven essentials for your membership management software system.

7 Essentials for your Membership Management System

No matter what kind of membership program you operate, there are several essential features you should look for in new membership management software. Here are the top seven features to look for in a membership management system:

Robust member profiles are important features of membership management software options.

1. Robust member profiles

While all membership software should store necessary information such as contact details, more sophisticated solutions will automatically populate more specific information from other features you integrate into your membership CRM, such as:

  • Event attendance: When your members attend an event, your membership CRM should record the type of ticket they bought as well as any add-ons they opted into.
  • Connections: Your membership CRM should reflect relationships between members, like membership in the same chapter or employment at the same workplace.
  • Membership level: Your CRM should apply badges, special permissions, or discounts based on membership level when members make online purchases.

The best membership software will also allow members to modify their profiles. Encouraging members to keep their profiles up to date doesn’t just ensure that your data is current — it also fosters engagement in the greater member community. Users can explore the robust member directory to identify and connect with members for personal or professional networking opportunities.

For example, Fonteva’s member profile platform allows members to input basic information such as job titles and contact information, link their Twitter profiles to connect with other members on social media, and keep track of their subscriptions:

This is an example of the member profile page offered by Fonteva's membership management software.
Your membership management software should be able to handle automated membership renewals.

2. Automatic member renewals

One of the most significant benefits members receive from being in an association is joining a strong network of like-minded professionals. These connections are symbiotic and can help further each others’ careers through career advancement opportunities or sharing advice.

To maintain the strength of these networks as a member benefit, member retention is paramount. Membership software that can automate the renewal process will drastically increase your members’ chances of renewing by simplifying the process of renewal for both members and the staff tasked with notifying them.

Look for membership software that can identify individuals whose membership is up for renewal, then send them automated renewal reminders. These reminders should be:

  • Timely, giving your members plenty of time to pay their dues before their membership expires.
  • Recurring, to keep renewal on your members’ minds without annoying them.
  • Personalized, with your members’ name and a link directly to a renewal form.

Membership software should also send automatic welcome messages to new members and expiration notices for members who don’t renew in time.

Here’s the process of how these updates boost renewals:

  1. Your organization sends a reminder email to a member who’s up for renewal or a lapsed member with information on the benefits of staying involved. Depending on your organization, these benefits may include receiving training through an educational course or getting involved in your membership mentor program.
  2. You also describe exciting upcoming events, such as a virtual networking night or a new speaker series.
  3. Your member receives the message, personally addressed to them, and it gives them a reason to maintain their membership. They see how staying involved will benefit them personally and professionally.

On the other hand, members that don’t receive any reminders will forget about your membership program (or at the very least, take longer to rejoin).

If you want to know more ways to make your membership renewal letters more enticing, check out this guide full of tips and examples. For example, it’s good practice to use a personal greeting and friendly tone and incentivize early renewals with discounts or other perks.

Event management is an important aspect of your membership management software.

3. Event management

You might not think that event management is essential for membership software, but think again! The benefits of integrating your member database and your event planning software are practically endless. Your event planning team will be able to:

  • Eliminate manual data transfer from a third-party platform, saving time and promoting accuracy.
  • Avoid implementation and transaction costs from a second software solution.
  • Upsell memberships at registration, then apply member benefits to the same purchase.
  • Empower local chapters to plan events.

And those are just the benefits to your planning team. Think about how helpful integrated event features are for your members:

Members get automatic discounts, priority registration, and special permissions when they register, and their attendance records are automatically stored in their member profiles. They can check the member directory for others who registered for the same event to strike up a conversation about what they learned or experienced.

Not all association management software solutions offer these features! Make sure you research alternatives to popular solutions before committing.

For example, check out what Fonteva’s integrated event management platform looks like:

This is Fonteva's event builder, a critical feature in this membership management software option.

As you can see, Fonteva’s membership management software allows event organizers to manage ticketing, speakers, sponsors, and basic event information all within your membership CRM. This saves your team time and ensures everyone’s on the same page through every step of the planning process.

Your membership management software platform should also handle payment processing.

4. Payment processing

eCommerce and payment processing solutions are not only necessary to manage member dues, but they’re also crucial for driving non-dues revenue for your organization. These revenue streams, such as event tickets or online courses, are likely an important funding source for your association.

Once you find the best payment processor for your association, you need to ensure that your membership CRM will integrate seamlessly with it, tracking and managing:

  • Membership purchases.
  • Member dues, including recurring payments.
  • Registration and ticket purchases.
  • Refunds and deferred invoices.
  • Prices for online purchases.

Your membership software solution should be able to produce reports based on this data, providing your administrative team with a birds-eye view of your accounting. Top options also provide a seamless experience for your members, allowing them to easily and quickly submit online payments.

You'll want to choose a membership management software system that offers analytics and reporting features.

5. Analytics and reporting

Speaking of reports, there’s nothing more valuable to an association’s long-term goals than comprehensive analytics. There’s no way to know how to move forward if you don’t know what’s worked well — and what hasn’t — in the past.

The best membership CRM will make it easy to create custom reports for different departments, special committees, and projects with:

  • Reporting on standard as well as custom fields.
  • Simple customization interfaces (no coding required).
  • Easy export to common file types.

When every team member can customize their own reports while drawing from the same central, up-to-date database, every aspect of your strategy will benefit. Keeping track of everything from fundraising metrics to non-dues revenue and more helps your organization grow by allowing you to set data-driven goals that move the needle. Plus, you won’t have to learn how to use complicated reporting software that’s separate from your central system.

Self-service member portals are another important feature of membership management software.

6. Online self-service member portals

When you choose an association management system, you know that the solution’s focus has to be on your members. That’s why one of the most crucial features of your membership management solution is the option to offer online self-service member portals. 

Beyond the member profiles we mentioned before, you need to be able to empower your members to take charge of their engagement with options such as:

  • Full control over their membership tiers and status.
  • Easy online event registration and check-in.
  • Online networking and communication outlets.
  • Continuing education, certification, and accreditation options.

Members will want to continue or expand their engagement with your association when you offer them a smart membership CRM that improves their interactions with your organization and helps them further their careers. 

You'll want to choose a membership management software that offers full database customization.

7. Full database customization

You know that to use your database to the best of your abilities, it has to work for your organization. Your members rely on your association’s ability to meet their needs, so you need a software solution that fits yours!

When looking for membership software, make sure you choose a system that allows you to customize your database. Depending on your association, this could look like:

  • Customizable member fields, so you get all the information you need and none you don’t.
  • Member segmentation options, so you can analyze your members and conduct targeted communication efforts.
  • Customizable views, so your staffers can always see the most relevant information for their daily tasks.

Your organization will continue to grow and change, so don’t settle for a membership management system that can’t grow and change with you.

Based on these necessary features, few software options offer these requirements, but there’s one choice that stands out on top. Read on for an overview of our top software recommendation.

Learn more about membership management software with our free checklist.
Fonteva is our top membership management software recommendation.

All-In-One Membership Management Software: Fonteva

Overview of this Membership Management System

Fonteva Membership is a true-cloud association membership software native to Salesforce, the world’s foremost CRM system. Fonteva has over a decade of experience working with associations, professional societies, association management companies, and local governments. These organizations all use Fonteva to enhance management and engagement strategies with a cloud-based, scalable platform.

With Fonteva, organization leaders can complete these necessary functions with ease:

  • Empower members with easy access to the member directory, event sign-ups, and continuing education opportunities.
  • Manage ticketing, speakers, sponsors, and basic event information all within their membership CRM.
  • Integrate payment processing and automatic discounts for members who shop using their member profiles.
  • Access automatically-generated reports based on any number of metrics.
  • Give members access to a self-service member portal.
  • Create customized databases to fit specific needs.

With Fonteva Membership, organizations also receive implementation and data migration support and ongoing training on best practices for using the software. Transitioning member data to a new system can be a major undertaking, but with Fonteva, associations have a helping hand throughout the entire process. We’re with you every step of the way.

Why Fonteva Membership Stands Out

One of Fonteva Membership’s greatest assets that sets it apart from other options is that it’s built on top of Salesforce. Salesforce is the world’s leading CRM provider for a reason — it offers a highly scalable and customizable platform and employs an army of developers and partners to support customers and continuously devise new and innovative products.

With Fonteva, organizations receive updates, code-free customization, and 24/7 customer support from Salesforce. With the backing of Salesforce, users also rest assured that their membership system is protected with high-level security measures.

Fonteva has many other advantages — for one, it’s an easy-to-use system that doesn’t require an in-house IT department to get up and running. Additionally, since Fonteva is cloud-based, organizational leaders can access the system from any location, with any device.

Here’s a practical example of what Fonteva can do for associations. Check out this customized database, built for an event:

This is an example of how you can conduct event management through your membership management software.

A comprehensive dashboard provides a high-level overview of the most important reports and trends related to the event, ensuring organizers can carry out activities effectively and analyze data once the event concludes.

Fonteva offers the flexibility and extensive, yet user-friendly features to simplify management practices, save association leaders time, and strengthen communities through a personalized member experience.

Here are other options for membership management software.

Other Top Membership Management Solutions

Your choice in membership management software is a critical decision, so it’s essential to not rush into any solution too quickly. In addition to Fonteva, there are several other software options that may also be equipped to meet your organization’s needs.

Regpack is another option for member management software.

Regpack: Overview

Regpack combines association management and membership renewals into an all-in-one solution. It offers flexible and integrated payment processes, automated communications, and reporting systems.

Regpack is an option for membership management software.

In addition to expected features such as event registration, member databases and portals, and automated dues, organizations can use Regpack to:

  • Embed member application processes into their websites.
  • Offer donation opportunities through their websites.
  • Save money through optimized registration processes.

Regpack doesn’t just offer membership software — it also has systems for camps, schools and other educational programs, travel groups, and more. Therefore, a wide range of organizations turn to Regpack for management assistance.

MemberClicks is another option for membership management software.

MemberClicks: Overview

MemberClicks works with associations, chambers, universities, and association management companies to provide comprehensive software solutions that increase engagement and generate revenue.

MemberClicks is another option for membership management software.

Beyond just a membership management system, the integrated platform offers a suite of software tools, including:

  • A learning management system to store and distribute educational content and track members’ learning progress.
  • Job board software that helps connect job-seekers to new opportunities, providing additional value to members.
  • Membership website and CMS to create a modern, responsive site that engages and informs visitors.

MemberClicks also provides training resources for organization management and member retention.

GlueUp is another option for membership management software.

GlueUp: Overview

GlueUp provides a sophisticated yet easy-to-use CRM platform for associations, business networks, and chambers.

GlueUp is another option for membership management software.

GlueUp’s membership software solution contains these features:

  • An event management suite that allows organizations to set up branded event pages, ticketing, and event promotions.
  • A training management suite to create engaging, monetized webinars, manage certificates, and promote courses.
  • A community engagement suite to facilitate discussion and networking.

With GlueUp, organizations also receive access to two mobile apps: one for community members and one for association management teams.

HiveBrite is another option for membership management software.

HiveBrite: Overview

HiveBrite is a community management platform used by professional networks, school and university alumni groups, corporate alumni groups, and nonprofits.

HiveBrite is another option for membership management software.

With HiveBrite, organizations customize the platform to fit their specific needs and requirements. Associations appreciate HiveBrite for its:

  • CRM and member management tools that allow users to apply filters and conduct targeted member communications.
  • Content management to maintain an updated website.
  • Communication tools such as in-app messages and mobile notifications.

Like GlueUp, HiveBrite also offers the ability to create a customized, branded mobile app. HiveBrite’s “Who’s around me” app feature allows members to use a map to discover other members nearby.

Conclusion

From member recruitment to retention, your association management system is the most efficient tool in your association’s toolbox for completing essential tasks. Engaging your members in a strong member community starts with forethought and the best software available.

You may still have lingering concerns or questions about membership management software options or how to get the best ROI for your choice. If that’s the case, check out these additional resources before making your final decision:

Ready for a membership management software platform that can do it all? Contact Fonteva today.
Tips for Selling Online Courses to Your Association Members

Tips for Selling Online Courses to Your Association Members

A major driver for joining associations and becoming a member is the opportunity to further a skill or advance in a particular field. Depending on your association’s mission and offerings, you likely host in-person events with live speakers, or maybe even multi-day panels, all to provide ample networking and learning opportunities.

However, your regular plans were likely thrown in for a loop the past year. As we begin 2021, virtual events and online experiences have taken the reign. Included in this genre are e-learning and online courses.

Selling online courses to your association members is an effective way to provide engaging and educational experiences and opportunities. If your association is made up of professionals in a similar field, online courses can even be offered for official accreditation that members can present to their peers.

If you want to expand your own online learning opportunities for association members, this article is here to provide you with some guidance. Selling online courses is more than just pulling together educational materials and handing them off to your members. From the topics you offer to the ease of your registration process, we’ve compiled a couple of key tips to keep in mind:

  1. Offer courses that will appeal to your members
  2. Make the online registration process easy to find and complete
  3. Invest in a secure online payment processor
  4. Follow up with a course registration confirmation email

Providing members value through online courses is not only an effective recruitment tool but can also increase retention rates for your association. You just need to offer courses that appeal to your members and encourage registration. Let’s begin. 

1. Offer courses that will appeal to your members

This may seem obvious, as you wouldn’t offer online courses on the subject of business marketing to members of a professional medical association. However, there are additional steps you can take to ensure that the online courses in your catalog are driving genuine value for your members. The best way to do this is by analyzing your data. 

Your association management system should store key information that you collect from your members. This should include both personal information like names, contact details, job titles, and engagement metrics like what types of events they usually sign up for, and more. Make sure this information is easily accessible within your management solution.

This data can give you a clue into what online courses and events will garner the most registrations and meet the needs of your members. For instance:

  • Consider past courses or conference workshops that have been popular and pivot them to take place online
  • Make note of common job roles and levels and create online courses that target them

Along with looking at your existing data, you can also research similar associations in the same field and explore the online courses they offer.

Or, be more proactive and send out a survey to your entire member base. Ask them if they have a particular skill they want to develop or a course they want to take for accreditation. From there, you can begin planning how you can take this learning experience entirely online. Using live streaming software and other e-learning platforms will be your best bet. 

2. Make the online registration process easy to find and complete

Once you have a worthy catalog of online courses for your members, it’s time to start encouraging your members to register. No matter what, your online registration process should be easy to find and complete. 

Within your association’s website, have a dedicated space for your online courses built into your main navigation or include a prominent link on your homepage. Include calls-to-action within your event calendar or other association offerings. 

Send out an email to your members letting them know about the online learning opportunities. Ensure that you place a clearly displayed link to your registration page so that users know exactly how to sign up if they want to. From there, it’s critical that your online course registration process is as streamlined and convenient as possible. Often, a registration form that takes too long or asks too many questions can even be what causes the potential attendee to simply click away.

Creating an intuitive and quick sign up process is where a dependable online registration tool will come in handy. Let’s take some insight from this scenario featuring the Northwest Hydroelectric Association. They needed a solution that not only automates the registration process but also centralizes data for helpful reporting. After investing in a solution, they said “It frees up time from having to manually input every entry,” ultimately streamlining the sign up process and setting them up for increased registrations.

Make sure your own registration solution has the following capabilities:

  • Customization to ensure the form is branded to the association. This not only improves user experience but also helps build the relationship between the registrant and your association. 
  • Embedding options for your organization’s website. Sending users to a third-party site not only interrupts the registration process but can also confuse the registrant and even make them suspicious of legitimacy. 
  • Personalization to cater the registration process to each individual. Look for tools with conditional logic abilities that react to the registrant’s answers by changing the form and the questions. If a member marks that they’re interested in a follow-up course the form might change to include additional information regarding that. If they say they’re not interested, the form does not change at all. 
  • Integrated payment abilities. This way members can checkout during the registration process, meaning you don’t have to charge them with another tool or bill them later. We’ll talk more about your payment processor in the next section!

Along with the above capabilities, make sure that your signup page has all of the necessary information that attendees will need before they sign up for the opportunity. After all, online courses aren’t the traditional form of learning but have been rising in popularity due to its cost convenience and wide accessibility. If specific online software is required or the course you offer takes multiple sessions, these details should be prominently displayed before individuals register.

3. Invest in a secure online payment processor

The final step of the registration process for your online courses is payment. You don’t want to mar your member’s registration experience with an insecure and unsafe online payment process. One data breach can ruin your association’s reputation and make the selling of online courses (and acceptance of membership dues or event tickets) much more difficult in the future.

Make sure that you invest in a dependable and integrated payment tool, ensuring that course signups get finalized and that everyone’s data is protected. Your payment tool should

  • Be PCI Compliant. According to iATS Payments, “The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) was created by major credit card companies to set high technical standards to safeguard customer information. PCI Compliance is mandatory for all merchants, regardless of size.”
  • Automate payment invoices breaking down the transaction and registration. 
  • Offer payment plans and auto-billing to ease costs. This is especially important in tough times like these.
  • Provide comprehensive payment reporting using a centralized system that both registration coordinators and accountants can access

To jump-start your online course registration offer discounts or early-bird signups to your most active association members. Some tools can even automatically trigger and apply discounts depending on the applicant. 

Consider creating different discount codes for member tiers. Taking insight from this Fonteva article, segment your members based on different discounts, like who took previous online courses or who has been a member for the longest.

4. Follow up with a course registration confirmation email

As the online course registration wraps up and payment is completed, it’s time to send out a course registration confirmation email. 

Registration confirmation emails have a couple of key uses. For one thing, they prevent confusion down the line about whether the registration was accepted. This verifies to the registrant that they have successfully signed up and that their payment is received.

This type of email also opens up a communication channel between your association and online course takers. If there are any questions that attendees need answered, members can simply hit reply or use preferred contact details provided in the email. 

This is also the place to relay all pertinent course information and target actions in the email. For instance, if a particular form needs to be completed before the course, make sure you have a bright button indicating that. Or, if the course requires a Zoom profile, the email should make this the focus action. If there are any urgent deadlines or other dates make sure to bold them so that readers don’t accidentally gloss over it.

If you are having some trouble figuring out exactly what to say in your online course registration emails, Regpack has a handy guide along with three templates. Use the templates as inspiration and then tweak them to fit your association’s exact needs. 

Conclusion

Selling courses to your association members is a socially distant and safe way to provide an engaging experience and exciting learning opportunities. From making sure you offer the right courses to streamlining the registration process, the above tips and strategies will help you take your own member engagement to the next level in this new year. Good luck!

Strengthening Member Engagement: Tips From an HR Consultant

Strengthening Member Engagement: Tips From an HR Consultant

Why do members join associations? For the professional value they provide. As an association leader yourself, you already know that this value often revolves around the experiences you offer, the people members will meet, and the abundance of opportunities you provide. These engagement methods aren’t just used to recruit new members, but are also essential elements needed to actively retain those members.

However, as time goes on, the same old engagement tactics won’t hold out. Whether more engaging alternatives are popping up or you’ve simply run out of fresh ideas, it’s worth it to explore how you can strengthen your association member engagement strategy. 

We at Astron Solutions are not association leaders ourselves, but we are experts in HR consulting. Not only do we have an array of association clients, but some of our staff have also held leadership roles themselves in associations, like President or VP of Finance. One of our main areas of expertise is internal employee engagement and productivity. The same best practices used to engage staff internally can and should teach you a thing or two about boosting external engagement with your members.

As we begin this new year, refreshing and revitalizing your member engagement strategies might be just what you need to ensure success for 2021. After all, no one could have predicted the impact of last year, and it’s likely that your own association needs an engagement boost. Here are our top tips from an HR consultant:

  1. Invest in a comprehensive management solution
  2. Communicate consistently and valuably 
  3. Offer ample learning opportunities
  4. Provide tools for members to engage with each other 

With most large in-person gatherings and face-to-face meetings on pause, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of digital tools and online platforms for member engagement. That’s why our first tip will be investing in a key management solution. Read on to learn more.

1. Invest in a comprehensive management solution

If you haven’t invested in a management solution for your association, then right now is a great time to start. With many of your member engagements now happening virtually (thanks, 2020), having a comprehensive management solution is even more crucial, especially if you want your members to have the tools they need to engage with your offerings and each other. It’s also incredibly useful to track all of those key engagements, which your software can do. 

For internal HR leaders, the solution we turn to will likely be some sort of talent or performance management software. For associations, membership management tools will be your best bet. Depending on the opportunities your association offers, try to look for membership solutions that can integrate with or also have event management capabilities.

Here are some of the top features your own solution should have:

  • Member database. Every piece of data and information you have on your members should live in your member database, also known as a constituent relationship management (CRM) system. Not only does this help keep your association organized, but you can use these data points to personalize member communication and build more meaningful relationships. Make sure to actively track engagement (like event attendance, online activity, etc.) as it’s essential if you want to strategically improve over time.
  • Online member profiles. Along with the data in your member database, provide a public member directory for members to browse through online. Encourage users to add photos so that your members can get familiar with one another even if they can only do it virtually. Members should be able to self-edit their profiles to avoid inaccuracies.
  • Email marketing and communication. In order to actively engage your members, you’re going to need a way to talk to them. With most of your interactions confined to the digital space, a management system with highly capable email and communication tools is key. We touch more on this in the next section. 
  • Event planning and management. As mentioned briefly before, finding an association management solution with event planning capabilities is key. For one thing, your association is already likely hosting a number of events, whether they’re smaller meetings, larger conferences, or a virtual experience. With your event tools integrated into your core management system, you have the ability to easily create event pages and streamline the registration process. Then, all of that data can be centralized in your member database to further help you engage your members. 

It’s worth it to invest in a comprehensive association management system whenever possible, instead of piecing together separate tools as your organization grows. With an integrated solution, you can pull all of your data together to create in-depth and meaningful reports. These help you and your team visualize past data and ensure that you’re always moving forward and improving. 

2. Communicate consistently and valuably 

One of the key ways to recruit members is to meaningfully communicate with high-quality prospects. This means sending content that aligns with their values, preferences, and so on. When a member joins your association, that doesn’t mean your communication with them should stop. In fact, as soon as they officially become a member, this should be the start to a long lasting and two-way communication channel. 

As an association leader, your role is to offer exciting and valuable opportunities and content, while your members’ jobs are to engage back and ask questions or offer feedback when prompted.

However, it isn’t enough just to send a couple of emails per month. The average email open rate is only around 15-25%, so taking steps to optimize your communication strategy is worth it. One essential strategy that many growing organizations often neglect is email segmentation.

According to DNL OmniMedia, segmentation is “the act of organizing the [contacts] in your database into groups— segments— based on their shared characteristics.” This could range from how long members have been active, what skills they have, and any other relevant qualifiers. This will depend on your unique association and the data points you value. 

Then, you’ll create targeted communication content for each segment and use your membership management solution to send emails out to the relevant recipients. This way, each of your members is getting outreach content specifically tailored for them. 

Creating targeted communication content is a must for developing more engaging relationships with members. If you want to take this to the next level, consider data automation to personalize your email communications. In fact, the Aberdeen group found that personalized email messages can improve click-through rates by as much as 14% and conversions by 10%.

In order to automate data personalization, it’s crucial that your membership database and email tool are integrated and work together seamlessly. Your tools should pull the relevant data points from your CRM and populate it into email communications. Implement these personal data points:

  • Name
  • Role
  • Event status
  • Past accomplishments

These little tidbits of personal information ensure that members know that the email they get is made for them. After all, no one enjoys receiving and scrolling through hundreds of spam emails that don’t even pertain to them. Set up the expectation early on that each email you send to members is actively valuable and targeted for them.

3. Offer ample learning opportunities

Many times, members join associations to further their career or expand on a certain skill. That’s why professional associations are so popular. This means that one of the most engaging ways you can continue building your relationships with members is to offer ample learning opportunities.

Because of the nature of current circumstances, your learning courses have likely pivoted to online. But don’t fret, as this approach actually opens up many more new opportunities than you might think. For instance, you can pre-record content instead of having to staff a live presenter, or ask an experienced staff member to step in for each session. 

Offering online learning also enables you to expand the number of people who can experience it. Members (or non-members) can sign up and participate in the course no matter where they are, and no matter what time it is.

To get a better sense of the types of learning opportunities your members would most likely be interested in, consider the following:

  • Take a look at your membership database and make note of common goals
  • Review what other professional associations are teaching and offering to their members
  • Research the industry and jot down different skills for different levels
  • Take a look at public e-learning online platforms and select a few that you think might benefit your members
  • Create and send a survey to your members asking them to rank their top choices for new educational content

Partnering with an e-learning content development company might also be a tactic to explore. If you’re thinking of taking your association learning to the next level, this article explains how custom e-learning development can help. 

4. Provide opportunities for members to engage with each other 

Along with the engagement opportunities you offer to your members, consider how you can encourage members to engage with each other. After all, a huge draw to becoming a part of an association is meeting others in your sector and taking advantage of networking opportunities.

Traditionally, your association likely hosted live events that brought your members together with professional speakers or a multi-day conference with a variety of different panels. However, due to the nature of current social distancing guidelines, we might not be able to host these types of gatherings until later in 2021. So, what other opportunities can you provide members to ensure they engage with each other in the meantime and going forward?

  • Dedicated online member portal where members can explore other profiles, get familiar with the other members, access discussion boards, and more.
  • Virtual association events where members can take advantage of live streaming tools and other online solutions to engage with others entirely online.
  • Association member committees made up of some of your most active members. Invite prospects to be a part of the committee, let them know of the role requirements, and encourage them to chat and discuss topics via text, audio, or video.

Ensuring that your members are engaging with each other is crucial for your recruitment and retention strategies. The same goes for employers trying to increase employee productivity. Without the ability to talk and interact with other team members, it’s harder for employees to feel a sense of belonging and loyalty to the organization. 

Conclusion

As an HR consultant, we are faced with numerous challenges when it comes to engaging employees and other constituents. Recruitment and retention are critically important for any organization that relies on people power, but it must all be backed up with solid engagement strategies. 

These tips are sure to help you with your own members and how you engage with them. Throughout it all, a solid foundation with a comprehensive management solution will be your best long-term bet. Start the new year with confidence and start strengthening your member engagement!

Check out our top picks to help you choose the best association management software to suit your members' needs.

Best Association Management Software | Our Top Picks

Learn about the future of association software in this whitepaper!

The day to day essential tasks of managing an association can be draining. From emailing members, recruiting prospects, ensuring that due payments are on time, it’s a lot to juggle, especially as your membership base grows. That’s where association management software, or AMS, solutions comes in.

The best AMS solutions are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of associations just like yours. With features spanning database capabilities, messaging and email tools, accounting and payment systems, and event planning solutions, a top AMS is a smart move for any association.

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 beyond the first dominant choices you come across.

That’s why we’ve created this comparison of all the biggest names on the market – and provided our own reviews! This list spans a variety of niches and levels of comprehensiveness, so be sure to read through each section. That way you’ll get a clearer sense of the particular balance of specificity, utility, and ease-of-use that will best suit your association’s needs.

Before we explore these top picks, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions on association management software. Here’s what you can expect:

Comprehensive AMS systems usually span a vast array of management tools and capabilities. If a more lightweight, membership-oriented solution is more appropriate for your software needs, be sure to check out our membership software comparison and buying guide.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive into the FAQ first.

This section answers some association management software frequently asked questions.

 Association Management Software FAQ

What is association management software?

Association management software is a specialized solution that helps association leaders stay on top of their administrative duties, effectively organize memberships, and facilitate exciting engagement opportunities.

The software you choose should store essential information on your members and support organizational tasks through reporting and accounting features. The best solution should also integrate with or have event management capabilities, online stores, and more.

What can you do with association management software?

Specifically, association software can help you gather and organize member information so that you can create courses, events, and other programming. It should also track your members’ continuing education credits, register individuals for events, automate communications, and provide member-only portals and directories.

What should I look for in my association management system?

Not all AMS solutions are created equal. To ensure that your own system can effectively meet all your needs, your AMS should have comprehensive member profiles using the data input from registrations. These should auto-update as new information gets accumulated and let members self-edit.

Additionally, you should have access to dashboards and reports to make key insights. Ensure your event management tools integrate with your association membership database and that you have revenue accounting capabilities. The former centralizes your attendee and member data while the latter tracks member dues, donations, event registration fees, online store purchases, and more.

This section will go through our top picks for association software.

Our Top Picks for Association Software

Now that you have an overview of what an AMS is, what it can do for your leadership management, and the features that can take your association to the next level, let’s begin reviewing some of our favorite solutions.

Fonteva for Associations is our top pick for the best association management software.

1. Fonteva Membership – Best for Salesforce Users

Overview of this Association Management Software

With comprehensive features that fit within a lean and intuitive structure that can get your team up and running in no time, Fonteva Membership is among the best AMS solutions out there for good reason.

Focused on offering your team both big-picture planning capabilities and more specific tools to fine-tune your strategies, events, and communications, Fonteva Membership is a powerful partner for any membership-based organization.

Plus, the software is built on Salesforce, the world’s leading CRM platform for businesses. Retain more members and grow like never before with one of the most agile and intuitive AMS solutions on the market!

Top Features of This Software

Fonteva Membership includes a wide variety of intuitive features and tools, all designed to take your association’s digital operations to the next level. Some of its top features include:

  • Comprehensive member profiles and database reporting capabilities. Automated and custom data reporting into your member CRM makes it easier than ever to track your members, identify areas for growth, and get a firm grasp on your own data. Built on the Salesforce platform, Fonteva can help your wealth of data start working for you.
  • Powerful event management features. Fonteva Membership includes enterprise-level event management and planning tools with no extra integrations necessary. Draw directly from your own data reports, contact databases, and member CRM to plan your best event yet, all in a single platform.
  • Member communities and tools. Fonteva Membership allows you to create and customize communities and committees for your members. Plus, members have the ability to form and manage their own groups! Organized collaboration is easier than ever with a platform designed to truly facilitate it.
Fonteva's comprehensive and intuitive features make it the best association management software available.
[This is a screenshot of Fonteva’s website listing out top AMS features.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

As a fully native Salesforce app, Fonteva offers associations the power and the flexibility needed to not only fit comfortably within your operations, but also to streamline every aspect of them.

There are no growing pains with Fonteva – it’s a completely scalable solution.

As a true cloud solution, Fonteva Membership allows you to choose the functionality you need when you need it. You can easily add additional tools as your association grows and your needs change.

Doubleknot is a powerful niche association management software solution.

2. Doubleknot – Best for a Niche Sector

Overview of this Association Software

Doubleknot is the strongest contender in our association software comparison for “best platform for the needs of a niche sector.” Their core clientele? Cultural associations, nature centers, museums, zoos, and aquariums.

For organizations with completely unique needs, the best AMS is the solution that most directly addresses their needs.

Doubleknot’s clients rely on their membership programs for stable support. That’s why the software’s comprehensive and specially-designed management, data, and planning tools are their best choice for ensuring continued development and success.

Top Features of this Tool

Doubleknot includes a full suite of association management features plus additional tools perfectly suited for the management of cultural organizations and nature centers. These include:

  • Full membership management platform. Retain more members by gaining a deeper understanding of your program’s engagement trends and demographics. Customize your communications strategies and automate online benefits like discounts and registration perks.
  • Program management tools. Full event and program configuration options let you create simple or complex tracks for your members. Plus, Doubleknot makes it easy to fully customize and update your registration forms, add-ons, payment options, and communication settings.
  • Ticketing and reservation management. Doubleknot’s fully customized online reservations platform streamlines your facilities management process and seriously boost engagement. Your members will also appreciate the easy digital (and printable) ticketing system!
Doubleknot's top association management software is a strong choice for cultural and nature centers.
[This is a screenshot of Doubleknot’s website displaying its membership management capabilities.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

Doubleknot made our association software review because it’s a leader in a particularly difficult niche.

It offers fully comprehensive features that directly address the needs of organizations and membership programs that are too often overlooked by dominant AMS solutions!

Higher Logic ranks among the best association management software solutions available.

3. Higher Logic – Best for General Management

Overview of this Association Software

Higher Logic is among the best in our association software comparison for groups that need an effective and flexible suite of management tools.

The digital management toolbox provided through the Higher Logic platform offers effective, lightweight solutions for associations, commercial businesses, and nonprofit organizations alike.

Top Features of this Tool

Higher Logic’s association management platform provides a full set of digital tools to help streamline and boost your operations:

  • Interaction-centric design. Along with customizable member communities, Higher Logic features online forum-style discussion boards, perfect for starting conversations and engaging your members for the long run.
  • Customizable databases. In addition to full member profiles, dues tracking, and other data reporting tools, the software includes knowledge databases designed to help your team and members preserve your crucial combined industry knowledge.
  • Fundraising tools. Generate additional non-dues revenue with integrated advertising opportunities that attract new sponsors interested in connecting with your community. Plus, tighter data reports and projections make it easier than ever to plan a winning campaign.
Doubleknot's top association management software is a strong choice for cultural and nature centers.
[This is a screenshot of Higher Logic’s website displaying its association engagement tools.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

With its lightweight yet comprehensive design, Higher Logic is great general choice.

Its flexible features allow your team to collect more and more data in the long run, leading to more targeted decisions and smarter, more sustainable growth.

Highly customizable structure makes CiviCRM a best association management software solution.

4. CiviCRM – Best Open-Source Platform

Overview of this Association Software

CiviCRM is unique in our association software review because it’s completely open-source.

This has made CiviCRM a powerful software provider for nonprofits and associations all over the world. 

Although it’s technically designed to meet the needs of nonprofit organizations, the highly customizable open-source structure of the software makes it a great choice for associations with the resources and know-how to fine-tune a perfectly tailored management solution.

Top Features of this Tool

A number of key features place CiviCRM among the best association management platforms available, including:

  • Open-source software structure. As an open-source platform, CiviCRM is highly customizable and supported by its worldwide network of active users and volunteers. With some professional help, you can completely tailor the software into your own perfect management tool.
  • Full suite of membership tools. Along with comprehensive CRM and contact database features, CiviCRM includes a full toolbox for configuring and managing your membership program. Automated data reporting and smart groups make it an effective tool for associations, too.
  • Accounting integrations. CiviCRM can dramatically reduce manual data entry for your team, and its robust control system lets you fully customize the export process. This leads to more efficient, more organized, and more actionable accounting reports.
CiviCRM places top in any association management software comparison for its unique open source software.
[This is a screenshot of CiviCRM’s website listing its top features.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

CiviCRM will sit near the top of almost any association software comparison.

That’s because you can’t overestimate the potential value of using such a highly customizable solution for your digital management needs. 

With CiviCRM’s open-source platform, you and your team of developers can completely refine the software into your own perfect association management tool.

MogliSMS is the best association software for messaging between members.

5. Mogli SMS – Best for Messaging

Overview of this Association Software

Mogli SMS is a two-way text messaging, survey, and chatbot tool available in Salesforce that associations can take advantage of. With a cost-effective, unlimited user license, your organization can utilize Mogli SMS to communicate with members in an efficient process.

Mogli SMS is an effective association software solution that can help you manage and oversee your members.

Top Features of this Tool

Mogli SMS helps your association handle its communications in a transparent and clear stream. Here are some of the features it offers:

  • Messaging. With Mogli SMS, your association can send and receive texts to and from all of your contacts and leads. You can also schedule messages and send bulk messages if needed.
  • Surveys. Mogli SMS allows you to create and send out SMS surveys. They can be simple and follow a linear format, or be more complex and follow a branching format. 
  • Automation. Improve your relationships with members with automated notifications based on workflow and triggers. This also saves your management team’s time from bogging down their day with simple emails such as payment confirmations.
Check out Mogli SMS for the best association software for messaging for members.
[This is a screenshot of the Mogli SMS website.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

Mogli SMS continues to be a top choice for helping the flow of communications in associations because it is a tool that is native to Salesforce. Your association won’t have to waste time doing any costly integrations to try and figure out how to merge this tool with your CRM.

Wild Apricot consistently ranks among the best association management software for smaller and mid sized organizations.

6. Wild Apricot – Best for Smaller and Mid-sized Organizations

Overview of this Association Management Software

Wild Apricot is an extremely popular, comprehensive management solution option for smaller associations, nonprofits, and clubs.

The platform leads its niche by offering strong tools to smaller and mid-sized groups that would likely be otherwise unable to access them. 

As such, Wild Apricot’s association software is a strong general suite of digital tools that have been perfect for groups of all sorts.

Top Features of This Software

Some of Wild Apricot’s top features include:

  • Lightweight and accessible database. Wild Apricot’s member database tools provide a comprehensive, secure way to store all your important data in one place. Backed up in cloud storage, users can also access and update their own profiles.
  • Payment processing. Wild Apricot allows you to directly accept online payments for dues or other member purchases. Plus, the renewal and reminder processes are fully automated, which also makes financial reporting a breeze.
  • Website builder tools. Create a professional website for your group in just a few hours with the software’s built-in web design tools. A drag-and-drop interface lets you quickly create a site that includes all the important information and tools that members need.
Wild Apricot ranks high in lists of association management software reviews for its comprehensive and adaptable tools.
[This is a screenshot of Wild Apricot’s website listing top features.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

Wild Apricot is often among the top reviewed AMS solutions, and is a no-brainer for our association management software review. 

That’s because its suite of solutions is perfectly geared towards smaller and mid-sized groups and organizations that need a comprehensive set of tools without the heavy-duty price tag.

Offering effective tools that can be easily adapted to work for all sorts of community and professional associations makes Wild Apricot a top pick.

Sage Intaact is one of the best association management software if you need a financial solution.

7. Sage Intacct – Best for Financial Solutions

Overview of this Association Software

If your association is rapidly growing and you’re processing more and more membership dues, it’s smart to look into tools to help you handle the growing finances. Sage Intacct is not exactly an AMS system, however, it will help your association bill members, budget for events, and compile effective reports. 

Top Features of this Tool

As a financial solution on the cloud, Sage Intacct offers these top features:

  • Cash management. Track multiple accounts in real-time with Sage Intacct’s cash management tool. This helps you understand where your cash is coming from and where it is going, which will help your entire association get a complete picture of your cash footprint.
  • Automated billing. Instead of processing each transaction individually, automate your pricing, billing, and subscription models. Sage Intacct will help your members pay their dues on time as well!
  • Budgeting and planning solution. With Sage Intacct, your team can create a budget plan and even have multiple scenarios based on your single budget.
Sage Intacct is a leading accounting and financial tool for association management software.
[This is a screenshot of Sage Intacct’s leading accounting and financial management features.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

Sage Intacct, though not exactly an association management software, can still elevate how your associations manage their members.  As a Salesforce partner, this is another tool that can easily work with your existing CRM.

Sage Intacct is one of our top choices because they really value customer satisfaction and have a long history of customer success. When you’re dealing with something as delicate as your members’ finances, you should choose a tool with Sage Intacct’s success rate.

Download our whitepaper to learn more about choosing the best association software.
MemberPlanet is a great association management platform for all kinds of groups.

8. MemberPlanet – Best for Small Budgets

Overview of this Association Management Software

Too often, smaller organizations are unable to afford the management tools that can unlock higher levels of growth. MemberPlanet steps up to fill that niche.

As a lightweight, easy-to-use choice for small associations without the need (or budget) for more comprehensive management platforms, MemberPlanet is a strong choice for all kinds of smaller groups.

Top Features of This Software

Even as a more lightweight solution, MemberPlanet offers extremely effective features, like:

  • Communication tools. Easy email templates and group texting tools make it easy to direct your messaging campaigns. Spread the word to all your members quickly and easily with automated and customizable tools.
  • Simple payment processing. MemberPlanet’s ‘QuickPay’ platform is just one of their several payment tools. Collect membership dues, enable recurring payments, accept donations, and create customized invoices and forms in no time.
  • Easy-to-use member directory. Update, organize, and browse your member profiles in a straightforward database tool. You can customize fields and access permissions to make sure your whole team contributes to a culture of efficiency.
MemberPlanet ranks fairly high on any association management software comparison for its affordable suite of tools.
[This is a screenshot of the MemberPlanet website.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

MemberPlanet is a top association software solution because it more directly fills a void that other solutions ignore, that is, smaller groups without the resources for much larger software suites.

As a straightforward management solution, MemberPlanet’s features and tools get the job done without requiring too much customization or manual input.

The best association software for education and an LMS is BlueSkyeLearn.

9. Blue Sky eLearn – Best LMS Option

Overview of this Association Software

Blue Sky eLearn is not an AMS system, but instead an effective learning management system (LMS). Associations often provide educational opportunities, courses, and events to help their members educate themselves or even grant them official certifications. 

With Blue Sky eLearn, your association can offer a vast resource of learning experiences like classes, meetings, and events. 

Top Features of this Tool

Blue Sky eLearn is an award-winning, cloud-based solution that associations can readily take advantage of. Some of their key features include:

  • Unlimited storage. With Blue Sky eLearn, your association doesn’t have to worry about data overages. Because your data is on the cloud, your association can store a lot of rich, educational media.
  • Far-reaching dashboard. Your association can oversee important information on their centralized dashboard. For example, find out which of your courses have the highest attendance and which are the least popular.
  • Assessments and certifications. Give your association members various aptitude tests to evaluate how each of them does in your courses. You can award certificates to members who complete the classes and tests.
Blue Sky eLearn is the best LMS system in conjunction with your association management software.
[This is a screenshot of the Blue Sky eLearn website depicting its LMS features.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

Blue Sky eLearn is a top choice for associations and learning management systems because it can seamlessly integrate with webinar platforms, online communities, and association management systems. Check to see if Blue Sky eLearn will match with your current AMS system!

Eleo is another best association management software that might be perfect for your work.

10. Eleo – Best for Organizations who Fundraise

Overview of this Association Software

Eleo is a top association software that is especially powerful for groups focused heavily on fundraising.

The management suite acts as a platform for nonprofit organizations that need a donor management system to handle more complex needs.

This kind of flexibility earns Eleo its place on our association software comparison.

Top Features of this Tool

Some of the best features of Eleo’s software include:

  • Donor and member databases. Eleo’s flexible database functions are perfect for organizing and storing your data and contact information for members and donors alike. Designed for fast and easy access, you can quickly search your databases for exactly the entry you need.
  • Gift entry and acknowledgments. Within Eleo’s database tools, it’s easy to track individual gifts, record essential related data, and categorize the entry. Plus, the comprehensive database view allows you to effectively manage your thank-you and acknowledgment messages.
  • Grant management. If your association or organization applies for grant funding, keeping close track of the whole grant writing process is crucial to success. Eleo’s tracking features let you manage your grant projects, keeping all the essential data and plans in one organized place.
Eleo is among the best association management software solutions for its effective fundraising tools.
[This is a screenshot of Eleo’s top management features.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

While most association software solutions are useful for fundraising nonprofits (and vice versa), Eleo is designed specifically to fit between them.

Offering the best of both worlds, Eleo’s fundraising tools and easy-to-use management features make it a clear choice for our management software review.

MemberClicks is a great association membership software option for smaller to mid sized organizations.

11. MemberClicks – Best for an all-in-one management solution for small groups

Overview of this Association Management Software

MemberClicks is an all-in-one management software solution perfect for smaller organizations.

This software is a great choice for associations that are looking for a lightweight association software option that offers awesome customer support as well as top-notch event planning options. Their hands-on approach to implementation makes them a valuable resource for smaller associations.

Top Features of This Software

MemberClicks is a seriously robust software solution for its size, including features such as:

  • Member website and CMS builder. They offer organizations the option to build an appealing and informative website easily or use their tools to enhance an existing website. With MemberClicks, your organization can improve its web presence, grow your social community, and save time with its database solution.
  • Event management. It can be hard for a small staff to keep track of everything that goes into planning and running an event, but MemberClicks makes it easy. An association can generate and customize registration forms, manage attendees online, and create reports.
  • Automated application management and dues renewals. With these features, you can add member application forms to your website, send out automated and personalized emails about deadlines, renewal dates, and grace periods, and update member status automatically.
MemberClicks is a perfect association management software solution for smaller organizations.
[This is a screenshot of MemberClicks’ all-in-one membership management software webpage.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

MemberClicks is a top association management choice because it carefully balances economic practicality with robust functionality. Smaller associations will love using MemberClicks to manage their memberships, as recruiting and maintaining members is easier than ever.

OpenWater is the best association software for processing forms and applications.

12. OpenWater – Best for Processing Applications

Overview of this Association Software

OpenWater is a platform solution that helps process and collect applications and forms for online review. This is not an association management software, but it is a tool that associations can use often because they have to deal with forms all the time.

From awards, scholarships, fellowships, grants, abstracts, and accreditations, OpenWater can save your association an incredible amount of time.

Top Features of this Tool

OpenWater offers the following features:

  • Consistent branding. Even though OpenWater is a platform with multiple functions, it allows all of your processes to stay consistent with your branding. Your association’s team can create a custom-branded portal that even matches your own individual website!
  • Intuitive application process. As an association, you’re going to deal with a number of applications when people want to become members. With OpenWater, your association can ensure that applications are complete as it follows each registrant’s process.
OpenWater's association software will help you process forms and applications easily.
[This is a screenshot of OpenWater’s website.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

Even though OpenWater is not exactly an AMS, it is still one of our top choices for association software. It’s amazing how all the forms and applications that your association will have to process can all be managed on this singular platform.

123Signup is a great association membership software option for cloud-based platform.

13. 123Signup – Best for General Cloud-Based Platform

Overview of this Association Management Software

123Signup is a reliable and secure association management option for associations looking for a cloud-based platform.

When your association needs a lightweight platform that allows members to change their membership status, sign up for events, and network within the association, 123Signup is a powerful option.

With a scalable pricing system based on different memberships, 123Signup was a shoo-in for our association software comparison.

Top Features of This Software

123Signup offers tons of easy-to-use membership management features. Here are just some of our favorite options:

  • Event registration. When you host events, you can empower your members to sign up online as well as purchase or renew memberships during the process.
  • Real-time reporting and analysis. With access to 50+ pre-built reports, 123Signup gives you a better understanding of membership trends, event attendance, financial data and more, so that you can make better data-driven decisions.
  • Targeted emails. You never have to worry about members missing invites, newsletters, surveys, or renewal reminders with targeted email options.
123Signup is is a great cloud-based association management software solution.
[This is a screenshot of 123Signup’s homepage.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

123Signup is one of our favorite association software options because of its sweet simplicity. You get the features you need at the best price for you, and you don’t have to worry about overpaying or missing out. And your staff can trust that your software is working as hard as they are.

Boomset is a top association management software for event technology.

14. Boomset – Best for Event Technology

Overview of this Association Software

Boomset is an event technology software provider that can help associations conduct their events better. This is not exactly an AMS system, however, it does help facilitate a huge part of associations: planning and launching events. 

Associations host events for a number of reasons, whether it is a conference with a famous speaker or a learning opportunity to advance in a field. With Boomset, your event will have a powerful set of technological tools that everyone will be talking about.

Top Features of this Tool

Boomset services thousands of events with over 2 million attendees each year. With these key features, Boomset can help your association’s event to:

  • Self-service check-in. With Boomset, let your event attendees check-in by themselves. Don’t waste time with having staff members manually check-in individuals and form lines that go out the door.
  • Walk-in registrations. Let people attend your event as walk-ins. Sometimes people who want to go to your event don’t know about it until the day of. Your attendance rate can go up an incredible amount once you invest in a tool that allows walk-in registrations.
  • Access control management. Boomset also makes lives easier for the event’s staff members. Let them access a dashboard where they have control of the event. 
Explore how Boomset's event management tools can help your association management.
[This is a screenshot of Boomset’s homepage.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

Boomset is one of our top choices for associations, even though it isn’t exactly an AMS. This is because you can access the software and portal from any device. Both your event members and staff will likely be on the move during the event. Giving them mobile access to your event software and technology will make everyone’s lives easier.

Ready to find out which association is best for you? Download our whitepaper to find out.
Morweb is a great association member software for building beautiful web pages.

15. Morweb – Best for Content Management

Overview of this Association Software

Morweb is a unique platform because of its utility as both an association management solution and a robust content management system.

With Morweb, you can easily build functional, responsive web pages and empower your members to take advantage of your online directory, communication system, and document storage.

Your website can now be a central hub of institutional knowledge thanks to Morweb’s capacity to build searchable libraries of PDFs, images, Word documents, and more.

Top Features of this Tool

Morweb’s combination of association management and content management features make it a powerhouse software option. Here are some of our favorite features:

  • Customizable forms for collecting contact information, registering for events, volunteering, and uploading documents.
  • Widgets for streaming your latest updates like blog posts, event offerings, or news updates anywhere on your website.
  • Powerful web builder that makes it easy for anyone to create an attractive, functional, informative website—no coding knowledge necessary!
Morweb is an awesome combination association management software/content management software solution.
[This is a screenshot of Morweb’s website.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

Morweb’s customizable web design tools and attached AMS features make it one of the membership website builders in the industry. Plus, its intranet communication system, online community features, and ease of use all make it one of our top favorites in this association software review. This is a great choice for associations hoping to communicate better with members online.

Novi AMS is a great association management software solution for accounting.

16. Novi AMS – Best for QuickBook Users

Overview of this Association Management Software

Trade association professionals know that helping their members develop professionally and form valuable connections with other members are top priorities. Novi AMS is an AMS solution designed by and for association professionals that will help you achieve those goals.

Additionally, Novi AMS makes it easy for your association to keep track of important accounting information through its integration with QuickBooks.

Top Features of This Software

The platform is easy for members to use when they want to register for events and update their profiles. From creating websites to keeping member databases organized, Novi AMS facilitates every aspect of association management so that trade associations can work to build connections among their members. Here are some of our favorite features:

  • 2-way, 24/7 integration with QuickBooks. Novi AMS integrates with QuickBooks so that all information entered into one system automatically appears in the other. Your association will find it easy to track the invoices you create, the payments you process, and other important financial data.
  • Easy-to-use CMS. Novi AMS understands that not every trade association professional is a developer with extensive coding experience. Their CMS is designed to help you use simple tools to create an attractive and engaging website for your association and your members regardless of your level of coding knowledge. The sites created using the Novi CMS are fully responsive on all devices. You can even update them from your smartphone!
  • A member database designed for trade associations. Most trade association members join as employees of a company rather than as individuals. Your Novi AMS member database shows these parent/child relationships as well as additional affiliations your members may have with other institutions, such as larger parent companies.
Novi AMS is an association management software solution that makes it easy to create beautiful websites and keep your trade association member information organized.
[This is a screenshot of the NoviAMS website displaying their AMS software for Quickbook users.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

Novi AMS is the only AMS approved by Intuit for the QuickBooks App Store. For trade associations already using QuickBooks as their accounting software, Novi AMS can help ensure that you’ll have comprehensive financial records updated and available in both your AMS and your accounting system.

ClubExpress is the best association management software for clubs.

17. ClubExpress – Best for Clubs

Overview of this Association Management Software

If your organization is more of a club, ClubExpress offers a management system that is perfect for running your club and organizing activities. 

We know that clubs have unique needs, including consistent meetings and various rules depending on the club’s core mission. Whether you’re a part of a car club, a computer club, an outdoor club, or a community service club, ClubExpress is prepared to manage members and help plan meetings for clubs, large and small.

Top Features of This Software

Which ClubExpress features help this software stand out? These are some of our favorites:

  • No installation process. ClubExpress works over the internet using any browser and personal computer. Don’t fret if your club doesn’t have a tech team to help you with software installations—you don’t need it with ClubExpress!
  • Easily create a member database. Clubs want to manage and organize their members efficiently, and ClubExpress helps. You can even have a list of nonmembers who still want to get information but don’t want to make the full commitment. 
  • Provides a default (but customizable) website. As soon as you sign your club up online, ClubExpress makes a default website for you. You can then customize the color scheme and layout to fit your club’s branding.
ClubExpress is an association management software to help manage clubs.
[This is a screenshot of the ClubExpress website listing its top club management features.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

ClubExpress is a top choice for club management because there is no actual software you have to download. ClubExpress’s platform works over the internet, so if your team isn’t well versed in coding and software implementation, ClubExpress can be a great, accessible resource.

Your clubs information is then safely stored on ClubExpress’s secure data center and can be accessed anywhere!

iMIS is continuously the best association management software for member recruitment.

18. iMIS – Best for Member Recruitment

Overview of this Association Management Software

iMIS is a popular solution for association management because it helps organizations easily create an online community. This way, you can communicate with your members easily and control your web presence. 

iMIS isn’t specifically catered towards associations, as they offer solutions for nonprofits and unions as well. However, a lot of their features work well for managing your association.

iMIS isn’t specifically catered towards associations, as they offer solutions for nonprofits and unions as well. However, a lot of their features still work well for managing your association.

Top Features of This Software

Engage with your association’s members easily with these iMIS features:

  • An online community portal. Your members can interact with each other by connecting, communicating, and collaborating online. 
  • View of members’ interactions. Your association can zoom out and manage individuals, chapters, committees and more! With iMIS, you can keep track of member engagements and discover insights about how your association’s members are doing. 
  • Manage your web presence. Customize your website and internet presence by choosing from site templates or integrating it with your existing web management system.
Check out iMIS association management software for member recruitment.
[This is a screenshot of the iMIS website.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

iMIS comes with a few very effective features, but its most impressive one is its built-in engagement scoring engine. iMIS gives your association members an engagement score to help you learn about strengths and weaknesses in your member engagement.

Raklet is one of the best association software for customer support.

19. Raklet – Best for Customer Support

Overview of this Association Management Software

Raklet is an AMS system that associations and clubs can use alike. It provides a simple platform that lets you manage association events and collect membership payments easily. 

If your association needs a general solution to various problems, Raklet is sure to have some options. 

Top Features of This Software

These are a few of our favorite features from Raklet:

  • Tiered pricing model. Raklet offers a free plan for organizations with fewer than 1000 contacts and additional packages designed for organizations of different sizes.
  • Their own CRM. With a built-in customer relationship management system, Raklet can store data securely, as well as encourage community engagement within smaller, more private networks. 
  • Membership fees and ticket sales. Raklet will securely process financial transactions that are made through the platform.
Check out Raklet's association software for best customer support.
[This is a screenshot of the Raklet website and its features.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

Raklet is a top contender for one of the best AMS systems because they offer 24/7 support through email and phone. If your association has a lot of questions or would just like a little bit more guidance, Raklet is a great choice as their team is happy to help your staff out whenever you need it.

Almabase is the best association management software for alumni associations.

20. Almabase – Best for Alumni Associations

Overview of this Association Management Software

Used by over 250 alumni associations and schools, Almabase is an alumni AMS system that can help you oversee a vast network of alumni. 

Offer your members incredible opportunities with alumni events and provide an accurate and diverse online alumni directory for individuals to search through. With Almabase, you can effectively keep alumni connected and engaged.

Top Features of This Software

With Almabase, your alumni association can:

  • Manage events. Your association can plan reunions, homecomings, and chapter meet-ups. Don’t worry about setting up tickets or processing payments with Almabase.
  • Email marketing. You can send targeted communication with Almabase. Segment your alumni database with a filter such as “from Boston, MA” in order to invite relevant alumni to your events.
  • Alumni network. Almabase creates an exclusive online space for your association’s members to find other alumni. Don’t hold back your members and instead offer them Almabase’s platform so they can connect and communicate with other alumni.
Almabase is a great association management software for connecting to other alumni.
[This is a screenshot of the Almabase alumni membership website.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

Almabase is a great management solution for alumni because it can easily merge and collect information from Facebook and LinkedIn. Almabase is smart in taking advantage of social media resources that alumni tend to use a lot. Since people tend to post their education history on social media, this is a great way to recruit new members for their association.

StarChapter is a leading association management software.

21. StarChapter – Best for Multiple Chapters

Overview of this Association Management Software

If you help manage one of the local chapters of an association, StarChapter can give your board members a little boost with its management capabilities. StarChapter makes it easy to grow membership, attendance, and revenue within individual chapters. 

Top Features of This Software

StarChapter has various capabilities to help association chapters manage their local groups. Here are some of the top features StarChapter offers:

  • Membership management. With StarChapter, you can easily keep your member data accurate and up-to-date. Segment your chapter’s members into different committees to help create insightful reports.
  • Communication tools. Your local chapter’s board can easily send out newsletters and event invitations with StarChapter’s newsletter content management tool. Save time with automated emails and welcome new members within minutes.
  • eCommerce. Create an online store and sell your local chapter’s merchandise. You can even charge meeting dues to grow your chapter’s revenue.
Check out StarChapter's homepage to learn more about their association management software.
[This is a screenshot of the StarChapter website.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

StarChapter is a top choice for individual association chapters because it has special capabilities for board management. You can assign different members different admin levels on the software based on their role. Whether you’re a president or just a paid intern, StarChapter offers the tools to help your chapter best manage your local members.

Learn more about how Pathable is one of our favorite association software.

22. Pathable – Best for Custom Association Event Apps

Overview of this Association Software

If your association has had to cancel some of your biggest events this year due to COVID, you now have other options.

If your association puts on large events like conferences, Pathable has your back. They’re one of the premiere creators of custom apps for associations with tools that improve the experiences of event planners, attendees, and vendors alike.

Top Features of This Software

Pathable offers a variety of features that improve your event experience and increase opportunities for engagement, including:

  • Attendee networking. Pathable’s apps allow your members to own their experiences by empowering them to reach out to other attendees on their own.
  • Lead retrieval. With Pathable’s badge scanning capabilities, vendors can easily take note of attendees that they talk to, without having to keep track of tens or hundreds of business cards.
  • Discussion forums. Allow your attendees to continue their conversations year-round by providing them with a way to ask questions, offer feedback, and join conversations – all online.
[This is a screenshot of the Pathable website.]

What makes this one of our top choices?

Pathable is the best option for associations that are looking to take their event management abilities to the next level. With a custom app built for your event, you can engage members, provide value to vendors, and ensure that your community is able to own their event experience.


If your association, organization, or other membership-based group needs a new management solution, it’s important to do your research. Professional software can be a major investment, and this is especially true if you’ll be relying on it for such crucial functions as membership directories, event planning, online community management, and more.

One best rule of thumb: look for a lean solution. Both general and niche management software can offer extremely effective tools, but lean and integrated solutions tend to be the most flexible and useful for all situations in the long run.

Consider your group’s exact needs and use this guide as a launchpad for your research! Check out these additional resources for more information:

Contact us here to find the best association management software for you!



4 Tips for Creating Online Professional Development Courses

4 Tips for Creating Online Professional Development Courses

Picture this: you’re sitting in a conference room, yawning your way through a mandatory professional development workshop. There’s limited opportunity for interaction, and the accompanying reading materials are lackluster. The training session may even be covering material you already know or have learned in a previous course, creating an even more monotonous experience.

Luckily, this nightmare doesn’t have to be your reality—or the reality for your association’s members. Most of today’s professional development courses take place online, especially in our current circumstances of social distancing. However, just because a course is in an online environment doesn’t mean it will automatically engage your members effectively.

By creating online professional development courses that are convenient, engaging, and customized to your members, your association will be better able to provide value to members and boost engagement.

At Skyepack, we create interactive digital courses that achieve learning outcomes for professional associations like yours, as well as higher education institutions and K-12 schools. With experience working with such a wide range of learners, we’ve learned some helpful tips and tricks to make your association’s digital course materials more engaging and effective.

To develop a course that helps your members thrive, consider the following strategies:

  1. Design the course with the needs of your learners in mind.
  2. Choose a modern cloud-based platform.
  3. Include high-quality video content.
  4. Provide ample opportunities for interaction.

Whether you’re trying to help members meet mandatory requirements for continuing education, earn or maintain certification, or share industry trends and best practices, an online course can be an effective tool. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to provide members with the education they need to succeed in their careers.

1. Design the course with the needs of your learners in mind.

As an association leader, your primary goal is to provide value to members. They should be at the forefront of any decision you make, whether it’s choosing your association membership software, planning an event, or offering useful resources. Your members should also be prioritized when creating a professional development course.

In general, a course works best when it is tailored to the specific needs of the learners. This is true for any kind of classroom and learning environment, including professional development and continuing education.

You should consider your members’ expectations, prior knowledge, and future needs when curating your content and developing the course.

You’ll want to take into account questions including:

  • What topics have members expressed interest in in the past?
  • What content areas have already been covered in previous courses?
  • How much time are your members willing and able to devote to the course?
  • Do they need to track CE credits with their employer or to meet licensing requirements?
  • What are the learning styles of your members?
  • Are there any industry-leading trends you need to include?

These are just a few suggestions; you’ll want to consider any information you have on hand about your members and their preferences. You may even consider sending a survey to your members for more direct feedback.

By incorporating this information into your plans for the course, you’ll be able to design a curriculum that is overall more relevant and engaging to your members. 

2. Choose a modern cloud-based platform.

Next, be sure to choose an online content delivery platform that is cloud-based. Your members won’t want to download any software or be restricted to a single device. Instead, they should be able to access material via a computer or smartphone for more flexibility.

Plus, cloud-based content can be accessed from anywhere at any time. Whether your members are working from home, in the office, or traveling, they will still have access to the content they need to make progress in their learning. 

Streamline online course materials are convenient because they act as a centralized hub for the information. Your members won’t need to manage physical documents or PDF packets, because all of the material will be accessible in one location. They’ll also continue to have easy access to this information to reference it in the future, even once they’re done with the course.

A cloud-based professional development course can also be an excellent solution to accompany a virtual event. As the WebCourseworks guide to virtual events discusses, engaging static and interactive content are key when trying to replicate an in-person experience. Once in-person events are feasible again, online material also works well to convey information to members who aren’t able to attend.

3. Include high-quality multimedia and interactive content.

Online courses allow you to include dynamic content to delight and engage your audience. While you’ll likely still want to include traditional text-based lessons, adding multimedia and interactive elements will create variety.

This variety helps ameliorate the fact that attention spans have decreased in the digital age. When members can shift their focus to different types of content, they’ll be more likely to stay engaged overall.

First, the power of video should not be overlooked. In a world where streaming content reigns supreme, your members will enjoy the opportunity to sit back and learn for part of the course.  

However, to be effective, video must be done right! Low or poor production value will detract from the experience and leave your members unimpressed with the course. If you’re developing the videos yourself, invest in basic professional equipment rather than relying on a low-quality webcam. If needed, you can bring in an outside course developer to facilitate the entire process including storyboarding, scripting, and filming.

In addition to video content, you can also include other multimedia elements such as:

  • Animations
  • Photos
  • Graphs, charts, and infographics
  • Audio clips

Including content in a variety of formats will ensure your learners can process the information in a way that works well for them.

As this guide to digital course materials recommends, adding interactive elements to your material can also enrich student learning. While multimedia content is useful, it’s still a one-way teaching format. To increase engagement, you should create opportunities for your members to interact with the material hands-on. 

For a few examples, consider incorporating features like drag-and-drop elements, embedded assessments, or reading comprehension questions within the content.

4. Continue to improve upon the course over time.

Especially in the digital age, change happens quickly. Whether it’s new innovations in your industry, updates to professional requirements, or a shift in members’ working conditions, some changes may impact the needs of your professional development course.

To ensure that your course continues to be engaging and useful, set up a protocol for continuously improving it. Depending on the nature of the course, you may choose to make updates annually or after each new cohort of learners completes the course. 

Our instructional design team takes this idea of iterative improvements very seriously. For a visual representation of Skyepack’s curriculum development process, take a look at this graphic:

Here, you can clearly see how we view instructional design as an iterative process based on Agile methodology. Even once a course is launched and students start learning, there will always be room for further improvement. This is true for your professional development course as well!

For a course that continues to engage your members even as things evolve over time, you should revisit the course regularly, seek feedback from members, and implement that feedback.


Your association’s members look to your organization as a source of growth and professional development. To make sure you’re meeting these expectations and providing quality educational content, you must make sure your online development courses are highly engaging. With these strategies, your association will be well-positioned to create informative and interactive courses. Good luck!


Austin Bates: Director of Operations & Instructional Design 

Born and raised in Texas, Austin learned at an early age the importance of dedication to a craft. During his Masters pursuit at Texas A&M University in Educational Technology, Austin began to question “Why not create better ways to teach in the online environment?” Skyepack soon became his catalyst for this new paradigm in online instruction. He is valued for his abilities to plan course designs, implement powerful teaching technology, and execute daily production assignments. In his spare time, Austin enjoys biking, watching football, and making every minute count.

Association E-Learning: 3 Tips to Provide Member Value

As an association professional, your job revolves around member engagement. It’s the driving force behind your association’s existence.

That being said, if you find yourself asking, “Why aren’t members engaging with our association anymore,” you’re not alone. It’s hard to maintain association member engagement during a year like 2020.

The formula for engaging members hasn’t changed. Provide value for members, and they will come. But, given that the value offerings from your association may look markedly different from a year ago, that can be easier said than done!

Time and time again, we’ve found that e-learning is a great way to provide value to association members. But, the landscape for e-learning in professional development is incredibly competitive. Your association is now competing against similar organizations and off-the-shelf solutions such as LinkedIn Learning and Pryor Learning Solutions.

For your association to provide value to members and stand out from the crowd with e-learning, the content needs to be stellar and customized.

Let’s break that down a bit. How can you, or the e-learning development company you choose to work with, create courses that can’t be overlooked?

Highlight subjects that are useful for your association members.

Complete this exercise with us. Look around you. What does professional development look like for your team in 2020?

Does it include:

  • Working from home?
  • Increased distractions? (streaming services and homeschooling, we’re looking at you)
  • Increased workload, or otherwise strained working conditions?

Many people—and yes, this includes the members of your association—are experiencing at least one of these environmental factors. Somehow, though many are staying home to abide by social distancing recommendations, we have less time than ever before. Our plates are full!

Because of this, it’s crucial that e-learning content is useful—not just interesting, but actionable

E-learning courses need to help your association members do something better, whether in their jobs or personal lives. Here are a few ideas to kick off your content creation brainstorming:

  • Provide education and preparation for certifications. In-person training courses are likely canceled for the near future. But, that doesn’t mean the accompanying certifications are paused. For some sectors these certifications are crucial. We’ve found that e-learning can be a great alternative—for example, just consider the benefits of healthcare e-learning!
  • Consider general professional development topics. For example, are any of your association’s members struggling to adjust to working from home or seeking a job in a volatile job market? We’d bet that courses on these subjects are in high demand.
  • Create content about navigating specific changes in your industry. For example, let’s say you’re a part of an association for marketing professionals. Consider creating e-learning courses discussing writing marketing copy during times of socio-economic unrest!

If you were a member of your association, which would you prefer: canned, out-of-sync content or personalized e-learning content, tailored to your interests? We’d prefer the latter.

Choose the format of your courses intentionally.

Have you ever fallen head-over-heels for a novel, only to see it misrepresented when turned into a movie? Maybe you’ve said something along the lines of: “The movie was okay, but the book was better.”

We’ve all been there! At the end of the day, some stories and lessons are told better in certain formats. This holds true for the e-learning courses you create. To create e-learning that provides member value, part of your mission is to discover the perfect format.

Here are a few quick tips to help you choose:

  1. Evaluate what needs to change. Do members need to develop a new skill, such as how to write a cover letter? Or, do members need a change in their mindset, such as understanding the importance of positive self-care practices?
  2. Identify how that change happens. What will drive the point home? This could be practicing a skill, watching a presentation, or even getting motivated to achieve more.
  3. Choose the format that meets that need. This could be microlearning games, immersive scenarios, or multi-module, multimedia courses.

We’ve talked about format conceptually. Now, let’s see how this would actually play out. Bring the course content ideas from the last section, and let’s brainstorm how you might choose the format for each:

  • Education and Preparation for Certifications: The last thing you want is a member completing a prep course… and walking away with little knowledge to assist them with exams. Let’s draw on the healthcare example from before. Members need both to learn new information and practice applying it. An in-depth, multi-module course that’s interesting and comprehensive is key!
  • General Professional Development Topics: Let’s consider the example of working from home. In this situation, learners don’t need an in-depth overview of the brain science behind working from home—they need quick, effective tips to make their day-to-day life more manageable. A microlearning course that focuses on the top tips for an effective WFH desk set-up would do great here.
  • Content About Navigating Industry-Specific Topics: Scenarios are ideal for learning about new developments in your field. We encountered industry-specific education when working with the Society for Pediatric Sedation. They needed to educate members on a crucial, specific skill—pediatric sedation decision-making. In the long-form course, learners experience case-based scenarios and reflect on the different decisions and outcomes.

With that, tell us this: How do you want members to speak about your courses after they’re completed?

Tossing away their popcorn, saying something like, “It would have been better if it was shorter/more immersive/more comprehensive…”? Or, not discussing the format at all, because it was so effective and all they are interested in now is putting what they learned into action? (We shouldn’t need to answer this one for you.)

Write assessments that are educational and challenging.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing assessments only exist to assess the knowledge of your members. Your association is providing e-learning courses to increase the value association membership provides. That should carry through to every aspect of your courses—assessments included.

There are some situations where the entire driver behind assessments is the grade at the end (like certification exams). However, in pretty much every other scenario, “passing” the knowledge checks holds little value. Do you know anyone that still discusses their high school or college GPA? Unless you’re surrounded by very competitive adults, probably not.

So, how can you create assessments that provide value beyond a “grade”? Create tests, quizzes, and knowledge checks that educate the members while testing them.

Let’s explore this through the lens of our earlier examples:

  • Education and Preparation for Certifications: Consider providing assessments that present realistic questions and challenges compared to what learners would experience in a certification exam. Then, give them the opportunity to evaluate their answers against an expert’s, to see if and where there is room for improvement.
  • General Professional Development Topics: Let’s say your course has a section on the language of your industry. Instead of creating a standard multiple-choice assessment, build a short game with scoring. It will engage and test the learners’ comprehension.
  • Content About Navigating Industry-Specific Topics: Consider assessments that walk through examples and allow the member to practice new industry developments. Drawing back to our marketing example, have members fill-in-the-blank to practice crisis-scenario phrasing. Then, include a discussion of why certain phrases work (and others don’t!)

Think of it this way: Have you ever completed an exhaustive course, and then rushed through the assessment at the end just to get it over with? Yeah, you don’t want to replicate that experience for your members.

Creating educational assessments is key to providing value from the opening notes of the course, all the way through the final quiz question. If you’re unsure about how to craft assessments in this way, you can partner with consultants in custom e-learning development. These consultants can help you craft courses and assessments that are value-packed from start to finish.

Beyond effective assessments, we recommend capturing the data from courses and assessments in your association management software (AMS). Have you ever wanted to understand what your association members want? This is how you can do that and give members an easy way to log their completed courses. It’s a win-win!


The truth is, the e-learning landscape is packed with competitors that are providing effective courses. For members to engage with your courses, you have to stand out from the crowd. With these tips, you’ll have a great head start.


Amy Morrisey is the President of Artisan E-Learning and serves as Sales & Marketing Manager. Amy started with Artisan as a contract writer/instructional designer. She was our Production Manager for four years and helped the team to double its capacity. As President, she stays focused on maintaining the high standards our clients have grown to expect. She believes that staying close to our clients, our people, and our work is a smart way to do that. One of her favorite things to do in the e-learning world is jump in with a client to write a storyboard that is creative and application-based. Before working with Artisan, Amy spent 17 years in corporate training and development predominantly teaching leadership development and coaching teams and executives. She currently serves on the board of ATD Detroit.

Social Learning: Creating Community Around Learning

Social Learning has been a buzz word for some time now. It’s easy to talk about the benefits of wrapping social features around more traditional courses and education initiatives but how does it all really work? 

1. Build a Community

Before we get into the details around software and ideas on how to wrap community software around learning, it’s important that you’ve built a sense of community with your association members in general. From optimizing your website to taking advantage of event software to investing in reporting features, these five tips for digital member engagement can help set you in the right direction.

Now that you have started to build a sense of community with your users it’s time to start using community software. There are many options out there so find the one that works best for you — we recommend making sure it can play well with other items in your tech stack, such as your association management system and your learning management system.

2. Segment Community Groups

Once you’ve set up a dynamic, auto-populated community you’ll want to start segmenting people into different groups. Basing groups on users who are engaged in a course or attended an educational event is a great way to kick things off. Do it on a course by course basis, or create a community group based on something slightly larger than a single course – perhaps a community group for a specific curriculum or category, or for all learners. 

Depending on the nature of your courses and programming, you can determine what the right level of anticipated engagement might look like and then create an automation rule to put people in those groups. Community participation (I.e. make X number of posts / replies) could even be a criterion for course completion and certificate awarding. 

In a similar fashion, you could set up community groups around live events and webinars that happen through your LMS. Then invite attendees and your speaker/instructor for a follow up Q&A to happen in the community. This also generates a lot of great content for your community that could be made available to the group after the fact. 

3. Gamification 

Gamification is another buzz word up there with social learning and it’s becoming increasingly important. Sure, if people need to obtain continuing education credits each year or specific certifications to move to the next level in their career, they’ll take your courses. And yes, there are always people who want to continue learning. However, people are busy and have short attention spans. So why not make learning a little bit more fun? 

Badges are not only a great way to reward your learners for their participation, they also serve as a marketing tool for others to find out about your educational programs. Say you’re in a general community group, or maybe in a discussion forum after an event and Mary, who has the Expert Course-Taker 101 Badge leaves a comment. This might trigger you to find out what she had to do to get that badge and follow in her footsteps to take that course (or courses!). 

Badges can be displayed in private communities, but can also be displayed in broader social worlds, like LinkedIn, allowing recognition of badges from your educational content to reach a much greater audience. 

4. Marketing 

You’re engaging your current learners with communities and gamification, but what about those who haven’t joined in yet? You need to keep marketing! With some communities, their automation rules are driven off of user activities, and because LMS activities can be sent over to the community and counted among these, it’s easy to generate a variety of automation rules to segment your audience to better personalize your marketing. Think – is a renewal campaign going to be more effective if you send the same email to every member? Or is it going to be better if you target users based on their activity? Should you send the same renewal email to someone who has never taken a course vs. someone who is getting a ton of member benefit out of your LMS?  


With an LMS / AMS / Community integration you’ll know these things easily. The same goes for pretty much any call to action you might be putting in front of your members – not just renewals, but onboarding, event registration, volunteer recruiting, etc. Improved segmentation leads to better rates of conversion in pretty much any of these cases.


Jocelyn Fielding

Jocelyn is responsible for all marketing activities at Blue Sky eLearn, as well as overseeing sales from an operational standpoint. She has over 10 years of experience in sales and marketing, with 7 of those years being spent at Blue Sky, marketing and selling to associations, corporations, and pharmaceutical companies. When Jocelyn isn’t working, she enjoys being outside – whether hiking or heading to the beach. She’s also an avid traveler, has been to six of the seven continents, and is always planning her next trip (or two!).

Five LMS Content Strategies to Attract, Engage and Support your Learners

Content is key to bringing learners together and creating valuable online education experiences. Essentially, it is the bread and butter of an LMS. When your content is developed thoughtfully and implemented strategically through a smooth process, your learners will find it effective and keep coming back for more.

These 5 strategies will help you create LMS content that attracts, engages, and supports your stakeholders:

1. Move from a Catalog to a Knowledge Community: 

Cultivate a dynamic knowledge community as opposed to a static catalog. This approach will allow your learners to draw from the synergy of multiple learning styles, including curriculum-based learning, live onsite and online events, peer engagement, and informal learning.

Learners can engage at a pace that feels comfortable for them, whether they have only a few minutes or can invest the time in an 8-week course. They will also benefit from collaborations with subject-matter experts who provide real-world insights. Shared information and ideas are constantly evolving, and your learners will want to check your LMS daily to see what they might have missed.

2. Present Your Content Strategically

After you have developed your community approach with varying learning styles and contributors, it is imperative to understand and utilize your content correctly. 

Low-commitment content will attract learners, such as an interesting podcast or a post in your news feed about the latest and greatest industry development. Foundational and curriculum-based courses serve as the core substance of your LMS, offering the most impactful and enriching opportunities. These courses are typically monetized and sustainable.

Finally, online classrooms and events can serve as great community-building options. Evaluate your content’s purpose and be sure it is being applied and consumed in a way that best serves your organization, LMS, and learners.  

Through these 3 levels of engagement, your organization can create a synergy between the various types of content to attract new learners and provide resources that build participation and revenue.

3. Ensure Professional Branding: 

Your LMS needs to be neat, cohesive, and maintain a complete appearance; this will give a professional look and feel to what you are presenting. Maintain consistency between all of your platforms – from your website to social media to your LMS. Factors can include fonts, colors, logos, graphics, photo styles, etc. Consistency will make an end-user experience less jarring when transitioning from your website to your LMS.

Refer to your association or organization’s style guide for these standards or read more about style guides here. This also means it’s also important to take the time to fill in profiles within your LMS, including titles, profile pictures, and bios. Investing time on the visuals on the back end will create a more organized and appealing experience for your learners.  

4. Consider Certification Opportunities: 

After you’ve developed great content, implemented it correctly, and branded your LMS, there should be a way to measure your learners’ success. That is where certification opportunities come in. These serve as an excellent incentive for learners to dive deeper into your LMS because they are given the chance to hit career milestones, demonstrate mastery of a skill, and measure achievements.

Once your learners achieve certifications, reward them with digital badges to add to their profiles and endorse their accomplishments. Certifications create a more holistic experience for LMS users by validating and giving credit for their achievements.

5. Personalizing and Organizing Content: 

Curate content to directly meet the needs of your learners so they can benefit from every resource available to them. When participants log in to your LMS, allow them to set preferences and personalize their learning experience. You can then use those preferences and member demographics to recommend content and learning opportunities.

Make it a habit to continuously audit your content. Use an intelligent taxonomy to organize information, remove out-of-date material, and accurately tag content. That way, your personalized recommendations are precise and valuable. 

The technology around LMS may be evolving, but one thing remains the same: content is everything. Establish an energetic community of learners and contributors on your LMS by creating and providing great content. By following these steps, your LMS will be well-rounded, polished, and organized. As a result, you will be more prepared to meet your learners’ needs throughout their education journey.


By: Julie Ratcliffe, Content Creator for CommPartners 

Learn how to effectively increase member engagement for your association with this top guide.

Member Engagement Strategies: A Guide for Associations

Association memberships are rewarding experiences and unique in the way that members pay dues in order to continue to be a part of the organization. That’s why it’s important that your association actively works hard to keep members coming back year after year, offering value through opportunities and events that can’t be found otherwise.

Whether your association is made up of professionals in the same field or alumni who went to the same university, member engagement should always be one of your top priorities. Engagement secures your association’s relevance and fuels healthy member retention.

It’s likely that you have developed a set member engagement strategy over the years. However, with advancements in technology and an online world saturated with experiences, it’s always a good idea to review the basics and see if there is any room for improvement. Using your association management software (AMS) system, you can leverage your tools to further engage your members and even encourage interaction with each other.

In this guide, we’ll be reviewing some member engagement basics and walking you through a couple of questions. Follow along from the top, or skip to the section that interests you most using the following table of contents:

  1. What is member engagement?
  2. Why is member engagement important?
  3. Association member engagement strategies.

Don’t let member engagement fall to the wayside. Brainstorm ways to not only keep members renewing each year, but attract new ones as well. Let’s get started!

Improve your member engagement strategy with Fonteva.
What is member engagement for your association?

What is member engagement?

You already know the work it takes to truly build a loyal member base. Once a member joins your association, you need to actively work to nurture member relationships. You’ll know when member engagement is successful when the actions you take and the experiences your association offers outweigh the value of membership dues.

However, not every association will define member engagement in the exact same way. Member engagement varies based on the type of association and your member’s preferences.

Defining member engagement

The way that a university association measures member engagement will look noticeably different than how a professional association will measure engagement. The former will typically look at event attendance, while the latter might refer to their learning management system (LMS) to gauge how often members take advantage of further education opportunities.

Since no two associations are the same, the way your association measures member engagement is unique as well. Think about what your long-term goals are, whether it’s to increase member retention or encourage community-building. These long term goals can be achieved through various member engagement efforts and strategies.

As you review what member engagement means to your association, take the time to gain insight into where your members are already active. To put it simply, consider the various experiences and engagement opportunities that your association offers and the platforms where your members already are. Using a data-driven approach, observe how your members engage with those experiences, including:

  • Social media platforms.
  • Email marketing.
  • Live events.
  • Learning opportunities.

Once you get a clear sense of what member engagement means to your association, you can then turn these engagements into measurable numbers. This can be done by setting, tracking, and analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs).

Setting key performance indicators for member engagement

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are strategic business metrics that your association can set to measure your progress towards specific, quantifiable goals.

KPIs will help you and your staff measure the performance of your association based on key objectives. After defining what member engagement means to your association, you can then set KPIs to evaluate your success at reaching specific engagement targets.

Here are some examples of KPIs based on where your members may be currently active:

Set key performance indicators to measure the success of your member engagement strategies.
  • Social media platforms. Consider measuring how often you gain and lose followers, level of post engagement, amount of profile tags or references, and which of your posts get the most attention.
  • Email marketing. Consider measuring your email open and click-through rates, which members opted to receive your newsletter, and how often members respond to your correspondences.
  • Live events. Consider measuring how many people registered, total attendance, how people found out about your event, the type of tickets people have bought, and more.
  • Learning opportunities. Consider measuring metrics from your LMS system — which classes are most popular, how many members received accreditations, and how often members start courses but not finish.

Determining effective KPIs is an important part of measuring the success of your member engagement strategy. Seeing actual data metrics will help you make the best future decisions. For more examples of KPIs, read this article for guidance.

Why is member engagement important to your association?

Why is member engagement important?

When most organizations think about member engagement, it’s easy to go straight to data and measure specific transactions. However, you have to look beyond the numbers and understand the meaningful experiences your association offers its members and the mutually beneficial value they provide.

Member engagement and retention: a key outcome

Lots of associations utilize their member engagement strategy to increase member retention.

From a  management point of view, prioritizing member engagement is crucial to promoting member retention. The more you engage your members, the more likely they will renew their memberships.

Focusing on member retention is generally more cost-effective than member acquisition, so building up a loyal member base will support the organization for the long run.

Consider what your association can offer that boosts the value delivered in exchange for membership dues. No one will pay to be a part of your organization without gaining something meaningful in return. Provide your members with opportunities and experiences that they will actually appreciate and motivate them to keep coming back. Keep in mind that positive member engagement results in a positive member relationship.

Member engagement and community-building

Associations often use member engagement to encourage member community-building.

Member engagement doesn’t just help you develop better relationships with your members. It can also encourage members to interact and engage with each other. Often times, individuals join associations to meet others who are similar to them. This way, they can learn and grow with other like-minded people. 

Your members should feel like they’re a part of a growing community, so consider basing your member engagement strategy around encouraging member networking and interaction:

  • Host live events. Events are the best way to engage your members and encourage community-building. This is because they provide a space for members to interact face-to-face. For example, a conference allows members in the same industries or sectors to come together and talk about new innovations or improvements in their field.
  • Provide an online member portal. While your association may have recurring in-person meetings and annual events, a growing membership requires an intuitive online member portal. This way, members can communicate with each other through forums and browse other profiles to get a better sense of their community.

Member engagement and non-dues revenue

Certain member engagement efforts can increase your non-dues revenue.

Associations often aim to prioritize raising funds outside of the regular membership dues. If you’re looking to grow your non-dues revenue, increase member engagement in ways that offer additional experiences and still promote a positive relationship.

For example, event ticket sales are a great way to increase non-dues revenue. While tickets are an extra cost, events offer a rewarding experience that justifies the member’s purchase.

Other engaging ways to increase non-dues revenue include running fundraising campaigns and offering branded merchandise through an online store.

What are some association member engagement strategies you can use?

Association Member Engagement Strategies

Check out these member engagement strategies for your association.

Since every association is different, it’s difficult to pinpoint the best association member engagement strategy to follow. Depending on your ultimate goal and members’ preferences, your member engagement strategy will be built around your specific KPIs and data metrics.

However, there are a couple of common strategic moves that can help substantiate any member engagement strategy.

Member engagement surveys

It’s good practice to always establish a direct line between you and your members. This way, you have a reliable communication channel and platform to gauge how your members are feeling.

Whether it’s delivered through a social media platform, mobile events app, or email marketing tool, regularly send surveys and polls to your members. This way, you can gain a more direct understanding of your members’ needs and preferences.

When is the best time to send out surveys and polls? Consider these approaches:

  • After events. This is when the event is most prominent in your members’ eyes, so it’s a great time to get feedback on how your event went and what can be improved.
  • With membership renewal reminders. As members are deciding whether or not to renew, it makes sense to also get some feedback from them. If members decide to leave the association, ask them to reveal why!
  • At the end of the year. When the holidays begin to wrap up, this is a great time to get members to reflect on the year and what your association has offered them.

Segmentation of members by interests

To better engage your members, it can be beneficial to segment them based on their interests. This way, you gain a better understanding of which members respond best to different member engagement tactics.

For example, you can start customizing content to resonate with certain segments of your members. Younger members may be more receptive to one type of message, while another version appeals to older members.

Improve your communication strategies

People get bombarded with emails and messages every day, so don’t bog down their inboxes with unnecessary content. As you’re developing your member engagement strategies, consider ways that you can improve your communication strategies.

For starters, let members choose their preferred mode of communication and aim to deliver messages in a way that they’re most likely to respond to. To do so, you can explore previous engagement data to determine which channels a particular member responds best to or take a more proactive approach by simply asking them for their preferences.

For example, one group of members might indicate that they like to be contacted through direct mail, while others tend to favor digital strategies. When you communicate with each individual in the way they prefer, they’re more likely to respond positively.

Additionally, segment your members and tailor each message based on their particular preferences and engagement histories. This can be done by customizing existing templates to more personally address each recipient.

Host events

One of the most appealing factors of joining an association is the events. In-person meetings provide significant value, as they reinforce to members that they’re a part of a real community. There’s little loyalty or emotion involved when all of the other members you “meet” are just photos on a screen.

In addition to serving as a strategy for boosting member engagement, events offer learning and networking opportunities that might not be found elsewhere. Remember that what your association offers should outweigh the costs of the membership dues, so actively consider ways to make your event stand out.

Make new members feel welcome, and old members feel valued

Your member engagement strategy should start on day one. As soon as a member joins your association, focus on engaging with them. Send a welcome package containing relevant association information, as well as instructions to access the online portal and information on any upcoming events. It’s important to immediately communicate the value of engaging with your robust member community.

However, don’t forget about those who have stayed loyal to you. Tenured members should still feel valued, as their contribution and engagement is still vital to your association. Maintain positive member engagement by continuously communicating your appreciation for their membership.

Offer many ways to engage

Avoid focusing on only one method of member engagement. While it’s wise to have a goal for your association to work toward, don’t let other engagement opportunities fall to the wayside. We’ll be discussing both digital and in-person member engagement strategies.

Here are some digital member engagement opportunities:

  • Online member portal. Provide a space for members to connect with others in their community.
  • Community message board. Members can actively engage with each other through forums, collaborate on files, and comment on each other’s ideas.
  • Learning management system. With an effective LMS, you can offer online courses and classes for members to further their education and gain certifications.

However, don’t forget about the value of face-to-face engagements. Consider these in-person member engagement opportunities: 

  • Events. Host conferences, presentations, and more to engage your members in-person. This way, they can actively interact with each other throughout the event. 
  • Learning opportunities. Offer in-person classes and learning events for members to further their education.
  • Meetings. Often times, your association will have committees and subsections. Encourage them to meet in-person on a daily basis so that they can accomplish objectives in an efficient manner.

Make it easier with an association management system

Invest in an association management system to help you manage your member engagement strategies.

Relying on software solutions has become more of a necessity than a suggestion, especially as your association continues to grow. After all, how can you effectively engage your members when you and your staff are bogged down by daily internal processes like sending dues reminder emails?

Fonteva has worked with associations for over a decade and strives to reduce the burden of association management and member engagement. As an all-in-one platform, Fonteva’s association management system gives you and your team access to:

  • Online member profiles. Engage your constituents online by providing a public member directory. This gives members a chance to get to know each other and even interact on an online message board. Members can also edit their own profiles and update any inaccuracies.
  • Member database. An intuitive CRM system makes it easy to personalize member communication. Fonteva is also 100% native to Salesforce, which means that your member profiles will be fully fleshed out and regularly updated with engagement metrics from event attendance, payment preference, and more!
  • Event planning and management. Fonteva’s AMS includes event management tools, so there is no need to look for a third party point solution. You can easily host an event microsite, create a mobile event app, and manage all of your key event personnel on one streamlined platform!
  • Continuing education opportunities. People join associations to stay up-to-date on best practices and innovations in their field. With Fonteva, you can offer certifications, learning events, online courses, and more.

Fonteva’s AMS also helps you and your team visualize past data to improve for the future. With flexible reporting tools, you can easily see which member engagement strategies are working and which need to be tweaked.


Conclusion

Actively engaging your members is an ongoing journey, but certain strategies can simplify the process. Consider your association’s overarching goals and areas where your members are already actively engaging. With reliable association management software, you can easily compile reports to understand these goals and form measurable KPIs to take appropriate action.

Check out these additional resources for more information on how to elevate your association and engage your members:

Improve your member engagement strategy with Fonteva's software.