Make the most of your association LMS with these eLearning best practices for associations.

5 eLearning Implementation Best Practices for Associations

If your association is looking for more ways to facilitate your members’ professional development and encourage them to take active roles in all that your association has to offer, you’ll want to consider providing them with eLearning opportunities.

Effective eLearning targets your members’ most pressing continuing education needs and presents courses in a captivating way.

eLearning helps your association improve your members’ engagement by providing them with a valuable resource for their growth and keeping them informed in their field. You can utilize your association learning management system (LMS) and other platforms.

Let’s take a look at how your association can get started providing eLearning opportunities for your members. To implement your eLearning system successfully, you’ll need to:

  1. Choose an association LMS that will suit your members’ needs.
  2. Provide members with the opportunity to earn and track professional certifications.
  3. Notify members when new courses are available to them.
  4. Promote social learning opportunities and live learning events.
  5. Share learning opportunities on your association’s website.

The first step in getting your members started with eLearning is to choose the right association LMS to suit their needs. When the learning experience is personalized, they’ll be motivated and engaged.

1. Choose an association LMS that will suit your members’ needs.

The best association LMS will positively impact both your members’ learning experience and your education team’s work to create and distribute course content. Look for a modern LMS that incentivizes course progress and completion for your members and communicates with the association software you’re already using.

Choose an association LMS that helps your members get excited about completing courses through:

  • High-quality content. Content is king in eLearning, and you are the expert in your field. Provide high-quality content to keep your learners motivated to complete courses and come back to you for more. Look for an association LMS that makes it easy to get your content up and running quickly, without sacrificing quality.
  • Interactive learning experiences. Interactive course authoring capabilities like being able to add interactions to videos and drag-and-drop experiences help learners retain more information than they would reading or watching alone. When members enjoy the learning experience, they’ll be motivated to complete more courses.
  • Gamification elements. Everyone loves a little friendly competition or a challenge to beat your personal best! Scoreboards and other gamification elements keep members motivated throughout their courses, while completion badges that they can display on their profiles in your association management system (AMS) increase their engagement with their fellow members.

The right association LMS facilitates your members’ professional development, engages them in your association’s offerings, and provides them with the opportunity to share valuable information about their areas of expertise with their colleagues. When your LMS and AMS are integrated, sharing this information becomes even easier.

2. Provide members with the opportunity to earn and display professional certifications.

The certifications and credits that your members earn when they complete courses using your association LMS are important indications of their professional standing. In certain fields such as healthcare, these certifications are often required for maintaining their career and potential advancement in their fields. Help your members progress in their careers by selecting an association LMS that they can use to earn and track necessary professional certifications.

As you compare eLearning systems for your association, look for one that facilitates the certification process by:

  • Encouraging course completion. When members know that their profiles in your AMS will be updated automatically to reflect the courses they’ve completed and the certifications they’ve earned, they’ll be motivated to participate in your continuing education offerings.
  • Show CE records. Many of the accreditation bodies need to see continuing education records from the past three years, so ensure that members are able to self-report courses they’ve completed and certifications they’ve earned on their profiles and upload transcripts from previous eLearning systems they’ve used.
  • Connect with other members. One of the major benefits of membership in your organization is the opportunity for networking with other professionals in the same and related fields. When members are able to earn and display their certifications, they’ll know who may be a valuable connection or resource just by browsing their colleagues’ profiles.

An effective eLearning system makes earning required certifications more convenient for your members, helping to remove potential barriers in the way of their career development. To learn more about granting professional certifications through an association LMS, you can visit Web Courseworks to see how the process works for healthcare associations.

When your members learn that using your association LMS to complete courses is both enjoyable and valuable, they’ll want to enroll in more. Make sure that your members are made aware whenever new courses become available to them.

3. Notify members when new courses are available to them.

Creating new courses is an important component of your association’s mission to facilitate continuing education opportunities for your members. The first step is selecting an association LMS that makes it easy for your team to develop effective ways of presenting the material they most need to learn. You’ll also want to use your LMS and other software systems to send automated notifications and reminders to your members.

For the most effective communications, choose an association LMS that integrates with your membership management system and can help you:

  • Provide an adaptive learning experience. Help your members continue gaining valuable knowledge and skills in a specific field or subfield by selecting an association LMS that recommends them future courses to take based on their history in the LMS, past purchases, interests, and more.
  • Automate your communications. Both your association LMS and your AMS can help you communicate with your members more efficiently by allowing you to set up automated email notifications and reminders.
  • Facilitate course purchasing and registration. Purchasing and enrolling in new courses shouldn’t be inconvenient for your members. Choose an association LMS that automates parts of those processes to save them time and energy.

With an up-to-date LMS (and potentially new membership management software as well, to make more effective use of your integrated software systems), your association is sure to meet your learners’ needs. You can even make their experience a collaborative one through social learning opportunities.

4. Promote social learning opportunities and live learning events.

Everyone’s preferred learning style is unique, and everyone can benefit from engaging more deeply with the material they’re learning by discussing it with others. Choose an association LMS that facilitates social learning on the platform and allows members to register for live learning events.

When your learners have the opportunity to participate in social learning opportunities, they’ll retain more of the information they learn and be more motivated to complete additional courses. Your association LMS can help by incorporating:

  • Discussion boards and live chat features. Learners participating in an online course can take advantage of these features to discuss the material with each other, gaining new perspectives and better understanding.
  • Registration for live learning events. Host a live learning event for members who live nearby to attend. They’ll be able to meet each other, collaborate in person, and learn more about your association. Publicize the event in your association’s communications to increase attendance.
  • Materials from past live learning events. Your online learners are likely spread out all over the country, if not the world, so they won’t all be able to attend your live learning events. However, this doesn’t mean they have to miss out! Make sure that your association LMS allows you to upload materials distributed at the event so that online learners can access them, too.

When you’re able to engage all of your online learners in social learning opportunities and even bring them together at live learning events, they’ll have a more memorable and enjoyable experience.

This is easiest to accomplish when your association LMS and membership management software are communicating to help carry out your event. If your membership management solution is built on Salesforce, you can check out re:Charity’s list of the top Salesforce apps to find the right software for facilitating your live learning event.

To make sure that your members make good use of the courses, events, and other learning opportunities that your association offers them, don’t forget to share them on your association’s website!

5. Share learning opportunities on your association’s website.

Your website is a hub for news about your association and information on all of the ways your members can choose to get involved. A clean, modern site that offers easy access to all the features of your AMS and association LMS will motivate members to take part in the continuing education offerings your association provides.

Whether your association has recently updated your site or you simply think it may be time to revamp your online presence, you’ll want to make sure that your site offers:

  • An engaging site design. Have new courses to offer or other exciting information about your association? Ensure that all of your updates are clearly presented on your website and that members can easily navigate to your most-used site areas. If you’re looking for guidance or inspiration, you can check out some effective web design tips here.
  • Access to members-only content. Members should be able to login securely to their courses on your association LMS, their member profiles on your AMS, and other protected areas via links on your website. To make the process convenient for them, make sure that they can get wherever they need to go in just a few clicks.
  • Mobile functionality. Your members are busy professionals and often on the go, so make sure that they can access your site from their smartphones. You’ll also want to choose an association LMS that allows them to complete coursework on their mobile devices so that they can continue learning from wherever they may be.

By choosing an excellent eLearning platform and incorporating it into an effective network of software solutions, your association can transform your members’ experience. You’ll encourage them to become lifelong learners and motivate them to take part in the opportunities your association creates for them.

When your association provides your members with quality eLearning opportunities, you’re demonstrating that you value their continuing education and professional success. The right association LMS is sure to improve your learners’ experience and encourage them to grow.

Author Bio

Amber Bovenmyer is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Web Courseworks. She’s committed to helping association executives realize the potential of their education programs and turn them into high performing revenue generators. Amber was named one of Madison, Wisconsin’s 40 under 40 and the number 1 LMS salesperson by Talented Learning.

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

The best association management software, or 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, a top AMS solution is a smart move for practically any group. The time and money that effective […]

Explore our top picks for the best Salesforce plugins for associations!

Salesforce Plugins | Top Picks for Your Association

Demo Fonteva's native Salesforce platform!

If your association uses Salesforce, you already know why it’s the world’s leading CRM and management platform for businesses and organizations of all sizes. Its features are comprehensive and offer an unrivaled level of functionality.

However, the Salesforce AppExchange is by far one of the platform’s biggest benefits.

The AppExchange is a central marketplace for Salesforce apps and plugins, which allow for the complete customization of the platform’s utilities. This makes it incredibly easy to build your own toolkit of features, all designed to work seamlessly on the management platform you’ve come to rely on.

We’ve written elsewhere on the top Salesforce plugins for event management, but hosting member events is just one part of what your association does.

Associations have complex needs. From membership management to fundraising, partnership building to digital marketing, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Study up on the wide range of plugins for Salesforce available on the AppExchange with our top picks:

  1. Fonteva Membership
  2. Fonteva Events
  3. Salsa
  4. OneCause
  5. SwagIQ
  6. Marketo
  7. SMS Magic Interact
  8. Ebsta
  10. CalendarAnything

These top plugins offer a fairly comprehensive overview of the level of quality and utility to expect from top-notch apps. Let’s dive in:

Fonteva Membership is a top Salesforce plugin for associations looking to streamline management.

1. Fonteva Membership: Best Salesforce App for Association Management

Plugin Overview

Designed to be the last management tool you’ll ever need, Fonteva Membership is the future of association management software. With comprehensive data management, member engagement, and eCommerce features, Fonteva’s AMS solution is a top plugin for Salesforce that should be on every association’s radar.

The intuitive features of Fonteva Membership makes it one of the top Salesforce plugins.

A few features and characteristics make this plugin a top association management software solution, including:

  • Full member profiles. Comprehensive profiles are automatically populated with new engagement data, combining the robust CRM foundation of Salesforce with the management insights of Fonteva. Easily track key engagement metrics at every level.
  • Member portals and communities. Create public and private microsites and member communities. Empower your members to engage in new ways with self-service options and interactive chapter, committee, and group portals.
  • Intuitive reports and dashboards. Draw from your wealth of data to generate customized reports at the push of a button. Refine your engagement and management strategies in real time with built-in dashboard capabilities.
Intuitive data reporting tools make Fonteva Membeship a top Salesforce plugin.

Why This Plugin Stands Out

It can be a challenge to find the right association management solution to meet your needs, but if your association already uses Salesforce, this one’s a no-brainer.

Because Fonteva is a native Salesforce app, that is, software built entirely on the Salesforce platform, the integration is seamless.

This translates into several major benefits for your association. As a true-cloud solution, Fonteva Membership software is always up to date. Your management and database tools speak the same language, meaning all your data is automatically reported.

The intuitive, comprehensive, and lean features of Fonteva Membership give your team the flexibility to effortlessly switch focus from individual metrics to big picture trends and fine-tune your strategies like never before.

Fonteva Events is a great Salesforce plugin for nonprofits that need to plan and manage events of any size.

2. Fonteva Events: Best Salesforce App for Event Management

Plugin Overview

As Fonteva’s suite of event planning and management tools, Fonteva Events is a fully native plugin for Salesforce. Designed to streamline even the most complex, enterprise-level events like major conferences and expos, Fonteva Events packs a punch with its comprehensive features.

Fonteva Events is one of the most powerful Salesforce plugins for event planning available.

Associations regularly plan and host all kinds of events for members, partners, and their communities. This plugin makes planning events in Salesforce a breeze because it offers features like:

  • Event lifecycle management. Comprehensive planning features and intuitive management interfaces let you track the progress of your events every step of the way. Get big-picture insights as you manage micro-level details.
  • Dynamic session builder. Association events have to be engaging, and Fonteva Events makes it easier than ever to create custom session tracks for your attendees. Your member communities can even collaborate on their own sessions for the big day.
  • Custom event sites. An event website has to accomplish a lot, from promoting your sessions to processing registrations and payments. Fonteva Events offers an all-in-one solution to host your event website and report its generated data directly to your Salesforce database.
Custom event sites integrated with your database makes Fonteva Events an excellent Salesforce plugin for associations.

Why This Plugin Stands Out

Like its counterpart membership management suite, Fonteva Events is the perfect Salesforce app for event planning and management because it’s fully native to the platform.

In the past your organization might have used a third-party event planning tool to organize and manage your meetings, conferences, and fundraisers. If that’s the case you already know that a lot can fall through the cracks when your team is busy switching between platforms.

With Fonteva Events, all your management data and tools reside within your Salesforce CRM.

This allows your team to make more informed decisions at every step in the complex event planning and management process. Plan smarter events, manage them more efficiently, and then learn more from them than ever before.

Salsa is a top Salesforce plugin for online fundraising.

3. Salsa: Best Plugin for Online Fundraising

Plugin Overview

While not available as an app on the Salesforce AppExchange, Salsa offers a robust online fundraising suite that fully integrates with your Salesforce CRM.

For associations that devote considerable time and energy to raising money and processing payments online, Salsa’s collection of tools can be an invaluable addition to your toolkit. Its full integration with Salesforce means it speaks the same language as the management platform on which you’ve already built your operations.

Some top features of the Salsa suite of online fundraising tools include:

  • Peer-to-peer fundraising capabilities
  • Customizable fundraising and donation forms
  • Donor, advocate, and volunteer-specific tools
  • Embedded matching gifts database access
SalsaLabs is a Salesforce plugin that offers a full suite of online fundraising tools that fully integrate with Salesforce.

Why This Plugin Stands Out

Integration with Salesforce means your set of online fundraising tools from Salsa can draw directly from your data, helping you make smarter decisions in any campaign.

For instance, integrated fundraising tools make the perfect addition to the list segmentation features of Salesforce. Target your members and supporters better than ever while raising more along the way.

OneCause is a top Salesforce plugin for donor engagement.

4. OneCause: Best Plugin for Donor Engagement

Plugin Overview

OneCause leads the race in donor and member engagement tools.

Besides offering a suite of online fundraising tools, OneCause makes a powerful partner for associations that need to better engage their members. Even better, it offers a free plugin for Salesforce to ensure that all the valuable engagement data you generate goes exactly where it needs to be — in your Salesforce CRM.

OneCause specializes in a few main areas of donor and member engagement, including:

  • Text-to-give software
  • Online payment processing
  • Mobile bidding tools and apps
  • Online auction planning and management
OneCause is an effective Salesforce plugin for donor engagement.

Why This Plugin Stands Out

Auctions are among the most reliable fundraising and engagement techniques for all kinds of enterprise-level organizations and associations. OneCause leads in online and mobile auctions because its tools were the first and continue to be the best in the space.

If your association needs a new engagement-boosting set of tools for its arsenal, the integration provided by the OneCause plugin for Salesforce might just be the icing on the cake.

SwagIQ is a top Salesforce plugin for building relationships.

5. SwagIQ: Best Plugin for Building Relationships

Plugin Overview

Your association has a lot of crucial relationships to foster and cultivate. From sales to partnerships, marketing to engagement, it’s essential that your team stays on top of managing the web of relationships that supports its efforts across the broader space.

SwagIQ is designed to help you close more deals, attract more partners, and break through the noise by simplifying and managing your interactions.

As a plugin for Salesforce, this means your whole database of information is at your fingertips as you use any of SwagIQ’s key features:

  • Create and manage your swag gifts and products for members, partners, and donors
  • Boost your marketing efforts by making real connections
  • Track shipments, direct mail, and digital marketing campaigns
  • Trigger outreach at the right moments with real-time, rules-based alerts in Salesforce
Swag IQ is a top Salesforce plugin for building and managing relationships.

Why This Plugin Stands Out

Relationships with their members, whether individuals, businesses, or other organizations, is of utmost importance for associations. Smarter tools and plugins for Salesforce like SwagIQ make it easier than ever to drive engagement and grow your influence with both physical and digital outreach.

Marketo is a top Salesforce plugin for digital marketing.

6. Marketo: Best Plugin for Digital Marketing

Plugin Overview

More and more, associations depend on their ability to engage members online and attract new audiences using digital content and tools. Digital marketing is a challenge for many associations, but the right tools can help.

You already know that Salesforce offers powerful tracking and reporting capabilities for your marketing campaigns. Adding the Marketo suite of marketing and email automation tools to the mix is a smart move for any association.

Some of Marketo’s top features and tools include:

  • Email campaign creation, management, and tracking
  • Smart automation tools to maximize the impact of email communications
  • Lead nurturing features for cross-channel campaigns
  • Lead scoring and analytics to track potential donors, members, and upgrades

Why This Plugin Stands Out

Of all the aspects of your association’s operations, the ability to easily access and analyze your data is perhaps the most important when it comes to marketing. Marketo is an ideal plugin to help your team better streamline its marketing activities and learn more from your past campaigns.

SMS Magic Interact is a top Salesforce plugin for communication.

7. SMS Magic Interact: Best Plugin for Communication

Plugin Overview

Smarter communication strategies are an essential way for modern associations to maintain the healthy cultures of engagement that they encourage among their members.

Salesforce apps like SMS Magic Interact make it easier than ever for those associations to reach members where it really matters — on their smartphones. Increasing visibility in the right places goes a long way toward increasing member engagement.

Consider these features:

  • Central text conversation management, segmentation, filtering, and alert tools
  • Industry-specific message templates for easy use
  • Fast text campaign set-up and customization
  • Video and image embedding

Why This Plugin Stands Out

Like Fonteva’s suite of association management tools, SMS Magic Interact is a native Salesforce app. This means all of your text message tools, past campaign data, and member contact information are within easy reach of one another. Take your communications to the next level to keep your members engaged!

Ebsta is a top Salesforce plugin for integration with LinkedIn.

8. Ebsta: Best Plugin for LinkedIn Integration

Plugin Overview

It’s likely that many if not most of your members and other contacts use LinkedIn to stay connected and updated within their professional circles. Information that your members add to their LinkedIn profiles is valuable for your association’s communications and outreach efforts.

Ebsta is a plugin for Salesforce that allows you to update your Salesforce records as you browse your members’ and other connections’ LinkedIn profiles. Because Ebsta is an extension that you can access right from your web browser, you don’t have to leave LinkedIn to add information to Salesforce.

Using Ebsta, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify records that already exist within Salesforce as you browse LinkedIn
  • Update Salesforce without having to navigate away from LinkedIn
  • Gather information from other professional networking sites and job boards
  • Log and plan calls, tasks, and other interactions with your contacts
Ebsta is a top Salesforce plugin for integrating with LinkedIn.

Why This Plugin Stands Out

The more updated information your association has on your members, the better you’ll be able to stay in contact with them. Ebsta helps you gather the most important details into Salesforce for easy reference and more effective outreach. is a top Salesforce plugin for integration with WordPress.

9. Best Plugin for WordPress Integration

Plugin Overview

Your association uses several online platforms to keep in touch with your members and provide them with opportunities for professional growth. One of the most important locations for your members to stay up-to-date on your association’s offerings is your website.

If your association has built your website on WordPress, one of the most popular CMS platforms around, you can use to integrate your Salesforce member database with your WordPress website as well as over 100 additional apps your association may be using. can help your association:

  • Eliminate the need to import data manually between apps
  • Automate communications with members
  • Create workflows that allow you to market and sell your association’s offerings
  • Gather valuable information from emails and social media sites is a top Salesforce app for integrating with WordPress and other popular apps.

Why This Plugin Stands Out

Especially as your association expands, keeping all of your members updated on your news, events, services, and other offerings can require a lot of effort! Save your team time and energy using a Salesforce app like

CalendarAnything is a top Salesforce plugin for scheduling.

10. CalendarAnything: Best Plugin for Scheduling

Plugin Overview

Whether your association is hosting a conference, sending out communications to members, or planning additional opportunities, scheduling is an essential part of your process. Creating an effective schedule becomes much more manageable when you can do so directly within Salesforce.

With the CalendarAnything scheduling plugin for Salesforce, your association can create calendars right in your member database. Customizable color coding and views, as well as a mobile app, make it easy to stay organized.

CalendarAnything offers features such as:

  • Calendar creation from preexisting standard and custom objects in Salesforce
  • An easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface
  • Sharing capabilities via the Salesforce1 app and Office 365
  • Messaging capabilities for greater collaboration
CalendarAnything is a top Salesforce plugin for scheduling across your association.

Why This Plugin Stands Out

Scheduling your association’s various activities and offerings—and making sure that all of your members are aware of these opportunities—is a more efficient and effective process with a Salesforce app like CalendarAnything.

If your association is smart enough to use the world’s leading CRM and data management platform for businesses and organizations, you owe it to yourself to explore the AppExchange.

Plugins for Salesforce can completely change your interactions with the platform, taking it from an excellent foundation to the ultimate toolkit.

Be sure to continue your research with a few additional resources too:

Demo Fonteva's native Salesforce platform to see how it can streamline all of your association's operations!

Find the perfect association management solution with our simplified 8 step process.

Find the Perfect Association Management Solution | 8 Steps

Your team pours its heart and soul into leading your association in a way that benefits all your members. You need an association management solution that’s got your back.

If your current management platform falls short and you’re looking for a newer solution, making the right decision can certainly feel overwhelming. After all, an effective association management solution becomes central to your association’s operations. From payment processing to event planning, online communities to data reporting, association software has a lot to accomplish.

Plus, any new solution you find must fit within your budget. It has to work with the other tools you’ve come to rely on, and most importantly, it should be easy for your team to use!

It can be difficult to know which qualities to prioritize as you research your options. What’s the best way to find the association management solution that checks all the most important boxes? From our years of experience in the space, we’ve boiled down the process to 8 key steps:

  1. Build a team to assess prospective association management solutions.
  2. Identify your objectives for a new association management solution.
  3. List, analyze, and rank your association’s software needs.
  4. Identify a first round of potential management solutions.
  5. Explore the features of each association management solution.
  6. Review your first impressions and initial responses.
  7. Watch demos of the top association management software.
  8. Choose your new association management solution.

Once you’re familiar with these essential steps, we recommend beginning with our top picks for the best association management software on the market. They should give you and your team a great starting point as you start your research.

A new association management solution is an important investment! You owe it to your association to take every precaution in finding the perfect platform to suit its goals and needs.

Build your association management solution assessment team.

1. Build a team to assess prospective association management solutions.

As with many important administrative decisions, establishing an assessment team to research your options is the first step in finding a new association management solution.

Your team should ideally represent a full range of perspectives. That is, any potential solution needs to work just as well for your rank-and-file members as it does your leaders and administrators. We recommend building a team that includes individuals who together represent all or most of these positions within your association:

  • Executive leadership – someone who needs actionable, big-picture views of data
  • Administration staff – future day-to-day users of your management solution
  • Outreach coordinator – someone who connects management and membership
  • IT or systems manager – individuals who can identify potential stumbling blocks
  • Accountant or treasurer – someone who fully understands your budget and options
  • Rank-and-file member – the people who need intuitive tools for actual engagement

Of course, the scope of your team will depend on the size of your association. Don’t let your team grow too large, but definitely don’t restrict your perspective. This leads to a warped view of the software you’re considering.

The main point is to cover all your bases; you need to know that an association management solution will be a useful management, planning, marketing, and engagement tool that actually works and provides value for everyone. Otherwise, it’s simply not a worthwhile investment.

We’ll cover the actual process your team should follow in later steps.

Identify the essential objectives that an association management solution must address.

2. Identify your objectives for a new association management solution.

Next, you and your team will lay out your exact reasons for needing a new association management solution. Be as specific as possible. This step is all about about finding the ‘north star’ for your software research.

Chances are you’ve already got a firm grasp on your most immediate goals. Are you looking to replace an existing association management solution? Did that management software prove ineffective? If so, what exactly was wrong? These answers will guide you in establishing your essential objectives.

Your essential objectives are the concrete guidelines to keep in mind as you research your options. Any potential solution you assess should satisfy these objectives. Typical examples will be in direct response to a new need that has arisen for your association. Try this exercise by filling in the blank:

Use this exercise to determine the objectives that possible association management solutions must meet.

You probably answered with one or more of these typical essential objectives:

  • Provides an easier-to-use experience for our members and staff.
  • Doesn’t crash, freeze, or otherwise waste time and resources.
  • Includes tools and features that are actually engaging.
  • Generates more coherent and useful data reports.
  • Fits within our changing annual budget.

Or is it all of the above? List out your essential objectives with your team, and make sure everyone understands them. Remember, they should include both your big-picture goals, like the ones listed above, and other quantifiable guidelines. These include a concrete budget and a timeline or projected deadline for implementation.

Now list and rank what else you need from an association management solution.

3. List, analyze, and rank your association’s software needs.

Once your team establishes a set of concrete essential objectives for your next association management solution, take a step back to examine your more general needs.

This is when you think about all the additional features that each stakeholder in your association wants from its next management platform. 

With a range of perspectives on your assessment team, there should be no shortage of wishlist items to consider. Consider every angle of interaction — what features would be most useful to an executive, administrator, accountant, or member? Compile all your software needs and ideal features, tidy up your list, then start ranking. Your list might look something like this:

  1. Budget-appropriate cost
  2. Engaging and easy to use for members
  3. Integration with current tools for staff
  4. Smarter data views for long-term planning
  5. Comprehensive event management features

Refine all your team’s top needs and wants for a new association management solution to a ranked list of 5 to 10 entries. While your essential objectives are the most important, these ranked additional needs act as extra guideposts as you weigh your options. Any possible solutions you consider must address your essential objectives and then fulfill all or most of your additional needs. 

Your team should identify a first round of association management solutions to consider.

4. Identify a first round of potential management solutions.

Now it’s time to jump into the research itself. One way to simplify the process is to consider what type of management software would be most useful for your association — niche, general, or flexible:

  • A niche solution is designed to meet the exact needs of your specific type of organization. Their key features are often extremely useful, but functionality might be limited overall. For instance, generating comprehensive reports or integrating with your CRM might prove difficult.
  • A general association management solution will address your most important objectives and dominate the market, but it’s likely not your best choice. Consider all the alternative solutions out there that offer more flexible, customizable features.
  • flexible association management solution will provide the benefits of both niche and general management platforms. This is typically because they’re cloud-based, built on more nimble, cost-effective, and adaptable infrastructures. A native Salesforce app is a great example.

These categories can guide you in the right general direction and narrow the playing field as your team starts researching all the platforms out there.

Next, read some reviews to get a sense of the software space. The top third-party software review sites are especially useful. Since any verified users can submit their reviews, these sites tend to offer the most reliable feedback on any given association management solution. Capterra, AppExchange, and G2 Crowd are your best bets for reviews and rundowns of top features.

Review sites like G2 Crowd are great resources for your association management solution research.

As a team, or on your own as team leader, generate a list of 10 or fewer top association management platforms. As we mentioned above, they should all address your essential objectives from Step 2 as well as most (or at least several) of your additional needs from Step 3.

Explore the features of the association management solutions you've found.

5. Explore the features of each association management solution.

This is the stage where you really dig into each of your top picks. Ask your team members to research the features, reviews, pricing, and specifications of each association management solution that you identified in your first round. At least two team members should independently research each platform.

There are a few categories of features that reliably indicate innovative or particularly strong choices when it comes to association management tools. These include:

  • Real-time data insights
  • Seamless mobile functionality
  • Member-facing flexibility
  • Predictive data analysis

Additionally, association management solutions that prioritize community-building are typically designed with an eye towards intuitive user experience. Online communities that offer members plenty of freedom to engage and manage their own interactions are a perfect example.

Keep detailed notes as you research each software solution. An easy way to organize your findings might be a chart — one side contains each management platform, the other lists each of your essential objectives and additional needs. Check off where each solution meets the criteria to quickly see how they stack up. Here’s a sample template:

Use a chart like this to compare your association management solutions.

Remind your team members to reach out to individual vendors for answers to their more specific or technical questions, on the analytics reporting or security protocols of the software, for instance.

Now gather your team to discuss your impressions of each association management solution.

6. Review your first impressions and initial responses.

Gather your assessment team to compile all your findings and compare your impressions of each association management solution. Since each prospective software was researched by at least two team members, you should have fairly well-rounded responses that represent a range of perspectives. You might even wish to conduct a few more rounds of research to ensure a 360 degree view of each solution.

The most important part of this step is to organize your team’s thoughts and draw some conclusions. If you made charts to track how each solution stacked up against your essential objectives and additional needs, it’s time to compile and average all that data. Here’s how yours might look:

Use a chart to easily compare how the association management solutions stack up.

Then sit down with the team to discuss your findings and qualitative observations. You might get started by asking a few questions:

  • Which solutions satisfied the most essential objectives and additional needs?
  • Which association management solution satisfied the least of them?
  • Did any software really jump out as particularly high-quality or reliable?
  • Which solution seemed like it might be the most useful overall?

Directly comparing the management platforms this way can quickly reveal the top choices. Be sure to make full use of your whole team’s perspectives, though.

For instance, if one team member works in IT support or management, ask them to imagine implementing the solutions. Do they foresee any glaring issues? Their insights can immediately reveal which solutions will work well with your existing infrastructure, like comprehensive Salesforce apps, and which will end up creating more work in the long run.

After reviewing all your findings and impressions, it’s time to refine your shortlist of prospective association management solutions to around 3 or 4.

Watch demos of the top prospective association management solutions you identified in the last step.

7.  Watch demos of the top association management software.

Before getting started with this step, your team may wish to repeat Steps 4 through 6. Depending on your association’s needs, deadlines, and the number of initial solutions that your team found, it might be worthwhile to take a little extra time with your research. Just make sure to shrink your shortlist with each new round of review.

As you draw closer to making a decision, it’s time to take each association management solution for a test drive. The executive-level member or other leader of the assessment team should organize demos of the top solutions that you identified in the previous step. Reach out to the individual vendors to schedule a demonstration of their software.

Your whole team won’t need to be present for the demos — gathering their insights was the point of the previous steps — but it’s still important to include one or two others. The most important team members to involve in the demo process are:

  • Leaders and executives
  • Technology and development
  • Member-level users
  • Any other team member whose insights are particularly relevant to your overarching goals for the new software

Finding an association management solution that satisfies the team’s objectives, proves easy-to-use for both leaders and members, and gets your resident tech expert’s seal of approval is probably a winner. This includes all of its member-facing, administrative, and database functions.

During the demos, take notes and ask specific questions that you’ve brainstormed ahead of time. Consider all sides of each demonstrated software. Address any features you think might be lacking, and discuss pricing in-depth with the vendor. Now is the time to get definitive answers before making your final decision!

Choose your next association management solution. Congrats!

8. Choose your new association management solution.

By this point your shortlist of possible management platforms should be narrowed down to just 2 or 3. 

All of your team’s hard work will soon pay off! Your reward? The satisfaction that comes with knowing you’ve made the absolute best choice for a new association management solution.

Even if one of the prospective software solutions stands above and beyond the others, don’t abandon your careful, systematic approach just yet. Complete the following steps:

  1. Compile all your notes from the demos, and briefly discuss them with the demo team members.
  2. Look back over your essential objectives and ranked list of additional needs. Make sure that you and your team haven’t lost focus over the course of your research.
  3. List out the most impressive or important features of your final candidates.
  4. Compare price points, and weigh your options in terms of your budget.
  5. Make your final choice. Congratulations!

Implementing a new association management solution is an important moment for your association! An effective platform will serve as a powerful foundation and partner for your growth. Feel secure knowing that you and your team took the time and effort to find the right one.

Wrapping Up

If you’re a leader of your association, or if you’ve simply been tasked with researching all of your association’s options, you’re probably already aware that choosing a new management solution is a major responsibility.

However, by following a few essential steps, building a reliable team, and breaking it down into a systematic approach, there’s nothing stopping you! Bookmark this page to reference the process later if you need it again, and make sure to continue your research with a few additional resources, too:

Download the guide to association management databases!

Choosing new association management software? Check out these top Personify competitors!

Top Personify Software Competitors for Associations

In the search for your next association management software, you will likely encounter Personify AMS as a popular choice. The Personify360 platform helps associations, organizations, and businesses handle complex operations — including constituent management and eCommerce — with pre-built modules, third-party integrations, and custom coding.

It might seem at first glance that Personify can provide the functionality your association needs. But before you make a purchasing decision, remember that while the Personify360 platform’s flexibility offers the opportunity for your association to customize the solution to your exact needs, users have found the platform overwhelming.

If you don’t have a dedicated IT staff whose job it will be to customize your AMS with custom coding and third-party software extensions, you might want to consider some of the top Personify software competitors:

  1. Fonteva for Associations
  2. Doubleknot
  3. Salsa
  4. MemberPlanet
  5. 123Signup
  6. Sumac
  7. Novi AMS

We’re confident you can find exactly what your association needs within this list of top association management solutions! Let’s jump into the list.

Fonteva is the top Personify AMS competitor.

1. Top Personify Software Competitor: Fonteva for Associations

If you’re looking for association management software that’s easy for administrators and users, Fonteva for Associations could be the perfect Personify software competitor for you.

When you use Fonteva software, you don’t need to know how to code just to customize the platform to your association’s unique needs. The administrative interface is easy to use, letting your staff build drag-and-drop reports within the platform itself instead of exporting sizable .csv files to a third-party reporting solution. Configure events, member communities, revenue accounting, and any other popular Fonteva modules without extensive technical knowledge.

Plus, since Fonteva is built entirely native in Salesforce, you have access to the Salesforce AppExchange. If you discover a specific need Fonteva’s extensive capabilities can’t meet, you can easily install apps that are guaranteed to be compatible with the Salesforce platform.

It’s not just your administrative team that will benefit from Fonteva’s ease of use. The member interface is reminiscent of consumer apps they’re used to using to browse social media and shop online.

And if you or your users ever run into a problem you can’t solve, you have Fonteva’s full customer success team to help you out, as well as Salesforce’s community of user forums and technical support.

Fonteva is the top Personify AMS competitor for its ease of use.

What Sets This Personify Software Competitor Apart

Fonteva for Associations is powered by Salesforce, which means the solution is:

  • Available: Choosing a true-cloud solution means you can access your member database anywhere from any device.
  • Flexible: With access to the AppExchange, you can meet any business needs that Fonteva doesn’t address out of the box.
  • Secure: Salesforce boasts more than 3 million certified developers, working every day to make the platform more secure.
  • Scalable: A true-cloud solution built in the word’s largest CRM means you have all the space you need for members and admins.

Hosting your association management system in the world’s largest cloud-based CRM brings with it all these advantages and more, so you never have to be slowed down by legacy AMS solutions!

Doubleknot is a top Personify AMS competitor.

2. Personify Software Competitor: Doubleknot

Some membership programs, like those of visitor-serving institutions such as museums and science centers, are not structured in a way that a general association management software solution can support.

If your membership program has specific needs, why not choose a more specific solution? Otherwise, you’re left purchasing a highly customizable solution and spending money on features you don’t need or choosing a basic solution and integrating third-party software, paying for the software itself and the integration.

Museums and science centers need a solution such as Doubleknot that can provide:

  • Automatic discounts and promotions to members shopping or registering online.
  • Print-at-home or mobile membership cards, including family membership cards.
  • Gift memberships, including personalized messages to the recipient.
  • Automated membership renewal notifications sent when deadlines are approaching.

Provide a seamless member experience with the right software solution!

Doubleknot is a top Personify software competitor for museums.

What Sets This Personify Software Competitor Apart

Unlike many other types of membership programs, museum and science center membership programs often attract members with benefits on admission or special program registration.

If your members join your program because they want to take advantage of a member benefit, shouldn’t you make it easy for them to do so?

Doubleknot allows members to add a membership to their online cart and then apply their member benefit to the same purchase. And your staff can use mobile POS systems for linebusting, signing up visitors who want to move to the shorter members-only admission line.

Salsa is a top Personify AMS competitor.

3. Personify Software Competitor: Salsa

For associations whose members are primarily donors, association management software that stresses fundraising is essential. That includes arts and cultural organizations, advocacy organizations, and some higher education institutions.

Salsa is a top Personify software competitor for these situations because in addition to a robust donor CRM, you get features like:

  • Mobile-friendly online donation forms
  • Automatic gift acknowledgments
  • Event registration forms
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising
  • Online marketing

All of these features of Salsa Engage integrate with Salsa CRM, automatically updating comprehensive donor profiles with donations, pledges, fundraising event attendance, and participation in peer-to-peer campaigns.

Salsa is a top Personify software competitor for arts and culture nonprofits.

What Sets This Personify Software Competitor Apart

Not all association management solutions are perfect for fundraising-focused associations. These associations have unique needs that they can’t afford to give up.

Instead of purchasing expensive fundraising-specific add-ons, Salsa provides these features as a core element of Salsa Engage, which integrates seamlessly with Salsa CRM. Don’t sacrifice the features you need to sustain your fundraising in the interest of a more robust CRM — get both!

MemberPlanet is a top Personify AMS competitor.

4. Personify Software Competitor: MemberPlanet

If your focus as an association is communication, MemberPlanet might be the solution for you. The association management software provider helps your administrative team stay on top of member communications over email campaigns and group text messaging features.

Whether you’re inviting members to an event or soliciting donations, you might need to address your messages to a specific segment of your membership base. MemberPlanet allows your association to create distribution lists to help you target messages to the members who need to see them.

As all good marketers know, targeted messages are more likely to be opened, read, and acted upon. To encourage members to engage with your association, you need to be approachable and give them any opportunities you can!

MemberPlanet is a top Personify software competitor for associations that value communication.

What Sets This Personify Software Competitor Apart

MemberPlanet truly places emphasis on communication and building a strong member community within associations. This emphasis is perfect for the missions of:

  • Nonprofits
  • Schools
  • Religious organizations
  • PTAs
  • Alumni associations
  • Greek associations

123Signup is a top Personify AMS competitor.

5. Personify Software Competitor: 123Signup

Professional associations and trade associations need association management systems that can accommodate the operations of member communities spread out across a vast geographic region. For these associations, 123Signup is a top Personify software competitor.

123Signup offers:

  • Membership management, including membership levels
  • Event registration for industry and networking events
  • Certificates for reaching professional development objectives

Your professional or trade association can rely on 123Signup to keep your members engaged in the professional community.

123Signup is a top Personify competitor for trade associations.

What Sets This Personify Software Competitor Apart

123Signup’s system is built to facilitate professional networking. You can organize members-only events, allow members to modify their profiles, and open up a member directory for users to browse.

Even better, your members only have to be signed in to take advantage of their networking benefits. Their membership status is automatically validated when they register for events or redeem certificates.

Sumac is a top Personify AMS competitor.

6. Personify Software Competitor: Sumac

Nonprofits looking for a basic solution to address several operational needs would do well to consider Sumac.

At its core, Sumac is a nonprofit CRM. But nonprofits that need more than constituent management have the option to purchase add-ons to address specific needs. The membership add-on provides:

  • Membership applications
  • Automatic renewal and dues payments
  • Membership cards
  • Trend reports

Because add-ons are included in pricing levels, nonprofits with membership programs considering Sumac should take a look through the pricing options to ensure they can get what they need in their budget.

Sumac is a top Personify software competitor and a no-nonsense nonprofit CRM.

What Sets This Personify Software Competitor Apart

Sumac is a no-nonsense software solution.

Your administrative team will not have trouble configuring the basic CRM and any add-ons, and users will appreciate the simplicity of membership functions embedded directly into your website through website integration.

Novi AMS is a top Personify competitor designed by and for trade association professionals.

7. Personify Software Competitor: Novi AMS

Trade associations looking for a comprehensive AMS that also facilitates website creation should consider Novi AMS. As the only association management software approved by Intuit for sale in the QuickBooks App Store, Novi AMS is particularly strong when it comes to accounting and financial management.

Novi AMS was created by and for trade association professionals who understand that these organizations have unique priorities and structures. Designed to make association management and web design easy, some of the most important features of Novi AMS include:

  • A 2-way, 24/7 sync with QuickBooks that eliminates the need for manual re-entry of financial information from one system into the other.
  • A membership database organized according to the parent/child (employing company/employee) structure that many trade associations use.
  • An easy-to-use CMS that doesn’t require coding experience and can be updated from your mobile devices.

Novi AMS features a robust member database and integrations with some of the most popular email automation platforms, making it easy for your association to stay in touch with members.

Novi AMS is a Personify competitor that makes it easy for trade associations to create and update great websites.

What Sets This Personify Software Competitor Apart

Novi AMS facilitates all aspects of managing your association and providing for your members, from keeping them updated via your website to processing their payments using top-of-the-line accounting features.

With a strong understanding of trade association professionals’ goals and priorities, Novi AMS allows you to focus on creating the best possible experience for your members.

Now that you know a little about the top Personify software competitors, you’re ready to learn more about your top choices! If you focus on your association’s specific needs, you can’t go wrong.

Want more information about other association management software? Check out these resources:

  • iMIS Software: An Overview and Alternative. iMIS is one of the most popular association management solutions. But what do you know about it? Read our review and our suggestion for a top alternative.
  • Top Abila Alternatives. Thinking about Abila for your association management needs? MAke sure you consider these top Abila alternatives before making a purchasing decision.
  • Aptify Review | Our Assessment and Comparison. Double the Donation has put together a review of Aptify, another legacy AMS you might be considering. Read up on the pros and cons, plus their suggestion for an alternative!

Learn more about member and association management software.

Check out these powerful Abila alternatives to help you choose your next association management software solution!

Powerful Abila Alternatives for Association Management

Your association is looking for its next association management software solution. You know that you need a capable solution that can grow with your association, one implemented successfully by associations like yours across the country and the world.

With just those specifications in mind, you might be tempted to go with Abila, the first solution you find that fits those requirements.

But don’t stop your search there! There are powerful, trusted Abila alternatives on the market that offer similar features, including modules and flexibility your association can’t get anywhere else. Why base your long-term association management software purchasing decision on generic requirements when you could find software that addresses your association’s unique needs?

There are Abila alternatives out there that are a perfect fit for your association — and we’re willing to bet you can find them in this list:

  1. Fonteva for Associations
  2. Salsa
  3. Doubleknot
  4. Wild Apricot
  5. Realm
  6. SilkStart
  7. Tendenci
  8. Novi AMS

Ready to find the Abila alternative that’s perfect for your association? Read on!

The top Abila alternative is Fonteva.

1. Top Abila Alternative: Fonteva for Associations

Fonteva for Associations is true-cloud association management software built for enterprise-level associations ready to shed the restrictions of legacy AMS.

With Fonteva for Associations, you get all the benefits of a Salesforce-native solution, including:

  • True-cloud hosting, with all the space you need to grow your association.
  • Non-disruptive updates, with three free updates each year included in your license.
  • Flexibility, connecting you to the Salesforce AppExchange to meet any unique business needs.

You’ll realize the benefits of a true-cloud, Salesforce-based solution when you can host an event, segment your members into communities and committees, sell merchandise online, and keep track of your revenue accounting all within the Fonteva solution!

When you house your member data, events, and dues payments in one central, true-cloud solution, you’ll never lose data during transfer or updates. Plus, your members can take advantage of their benefits automatically at checkout on your online store, when registering for an event, or when accessing online communities based on their permissions.

What to Love about This Abila Alternative

Fonteva for Associations is one of the most user-friendly solutions in the space, with drag-and-drop reporting making administrative tasks easier for you and a consumer app-inspired user interface making engagement with your association easier for your members.

But if you ever encounter a situation you can’t solve on your own, Fonteva’s world-class customer support portal and phone support team are there for you. You also have all the resources for Salesforce support at your disposal, including user forums relied upon by more than 23,000 nonprofits and higher education institutions.

Pricing of This Abila Alternative

You don’t have to worry about any hardware or software installation or upgrade costs with Fonteva for Associations. Instead, you’ll be responsible for a license and a one-time implementation cost, which covers non-disruptive updates that we automatically schedule outside of office hours.

Even better, if your association is a 501(c)(3) organization, you can take advantage of a discount on the price of a license!

To request a quote, visit our pricing page.

Salsa is a top Abila alternative.

2. Abila Alternative: Salsa

If your association is a 501(c)(3) organization or relies on donations in some way, Salsa could be the perfect solution for you! Salsa CRM, a world-class donor management system, and Salsa Engage, a marketing, advocacy, and online fundraising platform, work together to help your association build a complete picture of your fundraising and donor engagement efforts.

Choosing Salsa means you’ll get:

  • Comprehensive donor profiles
  • Donation tracking
  • Direct mail fundraising
  • Donor management dashboards

For donation-focused associations, Salsa is the top choice for membership (and donor) management.

What to Love about This Abila Alternative

Salsa’s products will allow your team to focus on directing and advancing your membership program without worrying that smaller administrative tasks are falling through the cracks.

When your association implements Salsa CRM and Salsa Engage, data is automatically shared between each program, module, and department. That means that your donor profiles are always up to date with the online petitions your members sign, the donations they make, the events they attend, and the marketing campaigns they’ve received, opened, and clicked on.

You can always manually add notes and modify these profiles when the need arises. But you don’t have to keep track of all the routine details by hand!

Pricing of This Abila Alternative

Visit Salsa’s website to submit a request for a quote.

A top Abila alternative is Doubleknot.

3. Abila Alternative: Doubleknot

Arts and cultural organizations with membership programs have specific needs that not all association management software can meet. So why choose a generic association management system like Abila and pay for features you’ll never use, plus add-ons or third-party integrations to fill in the gaps in your operations?

Doubleknot is the membership management solution for museums, science centers, zoos, and aquariums. Their specialized solution allows for the operations these organizations need to rely on:

  • Automatic member benefits
  • Gift memberships
  • Automatic renewal alerts
  • Member directory
  • Event participation history

These features ensure that consumer-facing, revenue-generating museum membership programs are sustainable and profitable.

What to Love about This Abila Alternative

The lifeblood of visitor-facing membership programs is new member enrollment. Members might join for any reason, but most often they join to take advantage of a discount or special members-only promotion on admission, program registration, or special event.

Doubleknot boosts enrollment on two levels: first, through enabling your staff to enroll members from anywhere, and second, by making it easy and profitable to offer the most popular member benefits. 

With mobile POS systems, museum staff can take membership registration through long admissions lines. And when non-members make an online purchase, if they add a membership to their cart, their member benefits apply to the same purchase!

Pricing of This Abila Alternative

Contact for a quote for your museum or science center.

A top Abila alternative is Wild Apricot.

4. Abila Alternative: Wild Apricot

Large associations might want to check out Wild Apricot, an all-inclusive membership management solution with a focus on bringing your association to members wherever they are.

Top features include:

  • Cloud-based membership database
  • Online payment gateway
  • Website builder
  • Event registration

As with all cloud-based membership database systems, Wild Apricot is always up to date. As soon as a new member fills out an application or a current member registers for an event, that information is accessible to any user with internet access.

What to Love about This Abila Alternative

As important as automatic membership profile updates are, sometimes, you need to give your members the autonomy to update their own profiles. With Wild Apricot, your members can modify information on their profile, including their payment information and contact details.

Wild Apricot member profiles can be updated from any desktop or mobile device, so your members are never without connection to your association. That connection is what all your essential membership management system features are for!

Pricing of This Abila Alternative

Wild Apricot customers can choose monthly billing or annual prepaid scheduled for different plans, based on the number of members your association needs to house. Prices start at $25 per month for 100 members and run to $350 per month for 15,000.

A top Abila alternative is Realm.

5. Abila Alternative: Realm

Church communities extend past the pews, so why not implement a specialized membership software solution that can address the unique ways you engage with your congregants?

Realm is that solution, providing the following features to church communities:

  • Custom member profiles
  • Online giving and pledges
  • Groups and committees
  • Event planning and attendance tracking

Whether you’re organizing a fundraising potluck to raise money for a mission trip or just reaching out to check in on a specific member, Realm gives you easy access through the free mobile app.

What to Love about This Abila Alternative

Connection and communication are essential for church communities, and Realm’s highlighted features demonstrate just how much emphasis they place on getting those aspects right.

But that’s not all you can do with Realm! Keep administrative duties organized, stay on top of your finances, and produce reports about the data that matters to your ministry.

Pricing of This Abila Alternative

With different features for a specific number of users available at different price points, Realm can cost as little as $30 per month or as much as $209 per month, plus startup costs. For congregations of more than 150 members, contact Realm for a pricing discussion.

A top Abila alternative is SilkStart.

6. Abila Alternative: SilkStart

For associations with members across the country (or the world!), it often makes sense to create local chapters that can take some of the administrative burden off your executive team’s shoulders. If you’re a multi-chapter association, your association management software should reflect the reality of how your association operates.

SilkStart is a top choice for associations with multiple chapters because it offers:

  • One central database with custom fields
  • Company plans, affording benefits to employees
  • Automatic renewal reminders on a flexible schedule
  • Custom membership levels

These features make running a large organization with local chapters possible to manage in one solution without having to purchase an individual solution for each.

What to Love about This Abila Alternative

Hefty software like SilkStart is always in danger of becoming impossible for the average user to operate without extensive training and support from technical professionals.

SilkStart places special emphasis on ease of use. Administrators can create events and reports with drag-and-drop features, and users will find mobile-optimized forms easy to fill out on the go.

Pricing of This Abila Alternative

Annually, the premium plan comes in at $180 per month, while the multi-chapter plan starts at $475 for 10 chapters.

A top Abila alternative is Tendenci.

7. Abila Alternative: Tendenci

If you’re willing to put in a little extra work to craft the perfect solution that fits your association’s membership program to a tee, then Tendenci could be the platform for you!

The open-source association management software provides associations with a website that they can then customize with features like:

  • Membership management
  • Events management
  • Job postings
  • Community forums

Not all association management systems will be perfect out of the box. Tendenci takes that reality and builds an entire platform on it!

What to Love about This Abila Alternative

It might seem intimidating to build your own website and membership management tool from the ground up.

But you don’t have to be highly technical to make the most of Tendenci. With templates and access to a code snippet library on GitHub, your association has all the tools it needs. Just add a little determination and creativity!

Pricing of This Abila Alternative

Price ranges from $169 per month to $399 per month, or a custom price for large international organizations.

Novi AMS is an excellent Abila alternative for trade associations looking for an association management software solution.

8. Abila Alternative: Novi AMS

Trade association professionals are looking for an association management system that makes it easy to foster connections among members and facilitate their professional development.

Novi AMS was designed by and for trade association professionals and keeps their needs and interests in mind with features such as:

  • 2-way, 24/7 sync with QuickBooks accounting software
  • An easy-to-use CMS
  • A membership database designed for trade associations
  • Targeted communication tools

Novi AMS offers an association management system that is easy for both your association’s leaders and your members to use. The platform covers a variety of trade association needs, from accounting to eCommerce to event management.

What to Love about This Abila Alternative

Novi AMS is an all-in-one association management platform that can help your trade association not only collect and organize member information but also create an engaging website with its easy-to-use CMS.

The platform is also the only AMS approved by Intuit for the QuickBooks App Store. The 2-way, 24/7 sync with QuickBooks ensures that any financial information input into one system appears in the other automatically. This integration saves you time and facilitates highly accurate accounting.

Novi AMS was created to address the specific needs of trade organizations. The parent/child structure of its member database reflects the fact that trade association members tend to join as employees of a company rather than as individuals. Other affiliations between members and institutions such as parent companies also show up in the database.

Pricing of This Abila Alternative

The Novi AMS pricing scale is based on your association’s annual revenue. You can visit their pricing page to learn more about pricing options for your association.

Now that you’re prepared with a list of the top Abila alternatives, it’s time to venture into your purchasing process! Make sure you’re always looking for the solution that’s a perfect fit for your association, not just the largest or most popular option.

Need more resources before you make a decision? Try these:

  • iMIS Software: An Overview and Alternatives. iMIS is one of the most popular association management systems on the market. But is it the best choice for your association? See if our top alternative would be a better fit for your association.
  • Top 6 Personify Software Competitors. Have you considered Personify for your association management software needs? Don’t make a decision before you check out our list of the top Personify software competitors!
  • 5 Essentials for Your Membership Management System. Not quite ready to dive into the association management software market? Get our checklist of essentials for your membership management system before you set off on your purchasing journey.
Learn more about member and association management software.

Learn everything you need to know about iMIS software and the top-rated alternative.

iMIS Software: An Overview and Top-Performing Alternative

When it comes time to invest in a new association management software solution, you’ll quickly realize that the number of options on the market are overwhelming. Even more overwhelming, though, is the sheer amount of information on each provider’s website, on authoritative review websites, in industry publications, and in online customer forums.

Some names pop up more often than others, though, like iMIS ® software! The solution by ASI is widely used, but is it right for your association in particular?

In this post, we’re going to cut through the noise for you. We’ve provided:

  1. A clear overview of iMIS ® software
  2. Some potential drawbacks you should be aware of during the search process
  3. top-rated alternative to consider as you move toward a purchasing decision.

Let’s get into it!

Get a comprehensive iMIS software overview.

iMIS ® Software OverviewiMIS software encourages member engagement.

There’s a reason why iMIS ® software is so popular. The association management solution is all-encompassing, offering an expansive suite of features and the ability to customize the solution to your association’s unique needs. Plus, the software solution has been around for more than 25 years, first designed by Advanced Solutions International (ASI) in the early 1990s! It’s had plenty of time to establish a loyal following.

Let’s delve into some of the most popular features.

  • Membership: Host member information in online PCI-compliant profiles that members can update themselves. Encourage members to join or manage chapters, committees, and companies, then record participation in these online groups.
  • Fundraising: Accept one-time, recurring, major, planned, and tribute donations through iMIS software. Manage all steps of the donation process, from donation forms to receipts and automatic pledge reminders.
  • Events: Plan and execute events with flexible pricing rules and automatic communication features. Plus, create an event microsite with public RSVP lists, your event schedule, and social media integrations.

As you can see from these features and the way they’re configured, the overarching focus of this software is member engagement, with self-service member profiles.

Of course, many associations have needs that iMIS ® software can’t meet. Read on to see if your association is one of them!

Learn about the top iMIS software drawbacks.

iMIS ® Software Drawbacks

Agile, enterprise-level associations often find that iMIS ® software’s greatest asset doubles as a significant drawback: its breadth of features.

While it’s important to choose a provider that offers the solutions you need for your association’s operations, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice speed or ease of use. You have enough to do without learning how to use a complex new system:

If you need something more than the out-of-the-box features, you should be able to find what you need and implement it without worrying about potential problems with the integration.

Plus, when it comes to the customization itself, iMIS software isn’t built for the average administrator. The solution can be coded to meet your association’s needs — with the help of ASI technical assistants or an in-house member of your staff who happens to be an expert in SQL reporting.

You might end up needing to bring on a consultant to help you customize the software, run updates, and perform routine maintenance, increasing the actual cost of the solution as a whole.

Considering these sorts of future costs and anticipating technical issues or growing pains is an essential part of finding the right association management solution. Committing to an outsized solution too early is rarely a smart move.

Don’t want to have to deal with complex coding or disruptive maintenance processes? We have the solution for you.

The top iMIS software alternative is Fonteva!

Top iMIS ® Software Alternative: Fonteva for Associations

To get the most out of your association management software solution, you might be looking for Fonteva for Associations.

With this top iMIS ® software alternative, you also get an improved member experience. Fonteva is designed with the consumer-facing apps and websites of social media and eCommerce platforms in mind. Members will engage with your association more deeply and frequently when their online gateway to you is intuitive.

Just take a look at how easy it is to promote member collaboration with community chat features:

Fonteva, the top iMIS software alternative, makes it easy for members to stay engaged through online communities.

Built entirely native in Salesforce, Fonteva also brings with it all the advantages of a true-cloud solution built on the most widely used and trusted CRM in the world. The solution is:

  • Scalable, able to grow along with your association without replacing costly on-site servers that limit capacity.
  • Flexible, directly connected to the Salesforce AppExchange to fill any niche needs your association has.
  • Up-to-date, with three upgrades delivered over the cloud per year that will never disrupt your operations.
  • Global, compatible with languages and currencies from around the world, as well as more than 100 payment gateways.
  • Supported, by top-notch Salesforce customer support and Fonteva’s customer success team.

If that all sounds exciting but intimidating, don’t worry! Fonteva for Associations is also lean and user-friendly, eliminating the need for extensive outside help with customization or reporting with access to the Salesforce AppExchange and drag-and-drop reporting features.

Building dashboards like this one is easy:

Create drag-and-drop dashboards with top iMIS software alternative, Fonteva.

Each member of your team, across all different departments, can choose the modules that help them do their jobs and add them to their dashboards with ease and no technical expertise.


Now that you have the essential information about iMIS ® software and Fonteva for Associations under your belt, it’s time to make your decision!

Need more information about association membership software? Check out these additional resources to help you in your purchasing process:

  • Association Management Software: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide. Make sure you have a game plan before venturing further into the association management marketplace. Let our essential buyer’s guide serve as your road map.
  • Top Abila Alternatives. Considering Abila for your association management needs? Make sure to check out some of the provider’s competitors to see if your association might find a better fit elsewhere.
  • Top Personify Software Competitors. Another popular association management solution, Personify, might be the best choice for your association. But before you make the final decision, consider these top Personify software competitors!
  • Best 15 Membership and Association Management Software. Before querying vendors, ensure that your list includes the best in the business. Double the Donation has put together reviews and ratings of every solution that should make your list.

Learn more about member and association management software.

Strengthen your member community with your association management system!

Association Management Systems: 7 Tips for Strong Community

A strong member community is more than a point of pride for your association’s executive team — it’s also your best retention and recruitment tool rolled into one!

Think about it from your members’ point of view. Members who feel like they truly belong in your association will want to stick around, and potential members will want to join because they see personal, social, and professional value in the network.

To encourage a healthy, engaged member community, you don’t need much besides your passion and a capable association management system.

In this post, we’ll explore these top strategies for engaging your member community, all made possible by a great association management system:

  1. True-cloud solutions keep software up to date
  2. Association membership directories inspire connection
  3. Communities and committees empower members
  4. Association software events management diversifies engagement
  5. Mobile functionality encourages participation
  6. eStores help members show off their membership
  7. Association membership system tracking flags at-risk members

Ready to foster a strong member community within your association? Make sure you have the right system in place with our ultimate buyer’s guide to association management software, then get ready to put your system to use!

Implement a true-cloud association management solution.

1. True-cloud solutions keep software up to date

For you to put these tried-and-true member engagement strategies into practice, you need your members to first be engaged with your association management system. After all, you can’t foster a sense of community through your software if your members won’t log on to their profiles.

Nothing dissuades participation quite like out-of-date software. Your members don’t want to use software that’s so outdated that it gets in their way, and they can’t use software when it needs to be taken offline to be manually updated. Don’t miss out on member engagement for easily avoidable software reasons!

To ensure that your members actually use your software, choose a solution that’s based in the cloud, like Fonteva. Since Fonteva is based in Salesforce, the most popular cloud-based CRM, updates are automatic, fast, and included in your license:

Invest in a true-cloud solution to ensure your association management system is always up to date.

Plus, up-to-date software is one of the best defenses against a costly password breach. When you use Fonteva, you can assure your members that you’re taking steps to protect their confidential private information, and you don’t even have to push the updates live — the system updates itself automatically, applying the latest patches from the most secure cloud CRM in the world, Salesforce.

There are plenty of other benefits that come from choosing a true-cloud association management system, including:

  • Storage space for as many member profiles and events you need
  • Access to the database from anywhere, not just in your office
  • Smooth and quick implementation, so you can hit the ground running

These factors let you bring as many members into your system as you want as quickly as you want, so you can get started with your membership engagement strategy right away.

The Takeaway: A true-cloud association management system like Fonteva stays up-to-date automatically, encouraging your members to use it and thereby opening up opportunities for your team to foster a stronger community.

Choose association membership software with public member directories.

2. Association membership directories inspire connection

A strong member community isn’t made up of members who only interact with your association’s administrative team.

The communities that members want to join and stay in are those in which members regularly and meaningfully engage with each other, not just the association’s leaders.

That doesn’t mean there’s nothing your team can do to foster a strong community! To the contrary, the structure you set can either encourage or discourage members from connecting with one another.

One simple way to set your community up for success is to allow members to find each other through a membership directory. Think about it like social media — your member profiles might even be modeled after highly intuitive consumer-facing social networking apps, like Fonteva:

Your association management system's member profiles should be easy to find through a member directory.

It might seem too simple to be true, but a membership directory does more than you think:

  • Connections: What if you discovered that someone you knew through an association attended the same university as you? When members can see each other’s profiles, they will discover unexpected, happy connections that encourage them to reach out and start conversations.
  • Groups: Ensure that your members can see what groups, committees, and chapters other members are in and can request membership in those groups. Members might not know what networking opportunities are out there until they see them listed on other members’ profiles.
  • Badges and awards: The competitive spirit is alive within most member communities! Display badges and awards publicly on your members’ profiles for other members to see and aspire to.
  • Profile updates: Because members know others will be searching for them through their profiles, they are more likely to keep the information in those profiles updated. This information helps your association later on with marketing and analytics.

When your members establish real connections with other members and engage more meaningfully within your association management system in these ways, they will feel more invested in your association. The more time and attention they devote, the closer they feel to the community!

The Takeaway: Encourage your members to find meaningful connections to other members — and to update their own profiles regularly — by setting up a public member directory.

Empower your members with communities and chapters within your association software.

3. Communities and committees empower members

Centralizing a lot of your association’s planning is important. But it’s not practical, especially for enterprise-level associations, to manage each aspect of your operations from such a high vantage point.

Why not pass off some of that administrative weight onto your members? The privilege to manage some of their own operations is actually empowering for your members.

Look for an association management database that incorporates member-driven communities and committees that allow your members to:

  • Create new member groups and microsites
  • Personalize the appearance of group pages
  • Grant access to members who request it
  • Communicate online or through email
  • Display committee membership on public profiles
  • Integrate with payment gateways
  • Organize special projects and events

With these key features, your members will feel a sense of responsibility and authority, not just belonging. They can organize events, sell merchandise, and facilitate relevant conversations.

Even better, ensure that your members can accomplish all these tasks on the go! With Fonteva, communities and committees operate like consumer-facing social networking apps. Here’s what your member sees when they view a committee from a mobile device:

Empower your members to engage with your association and other members on their own terms within the structure of your association management system.

The Takeaway: With a degree of administrative access, your members will become more invested in your association and its mission.

Manage events in your association management system.

4. Association software events management diversifies engagement

If your goal is so inspire a sense of belonging, there’s nothing better than an in-person event. Some things just can’t come across in online communication.

Whether it’s a networking lunch, a conference, or a cocktail party that you want to organize, the key to an engaging membership event is integration with your association management system. If your event management solution and association management database are integrated, you’ll be able to:

  • Save time and administrative stress: All the information from your event registration forms goes straight into your membership database without you having to manually transfer it after your event.
  • Offer automatic member benefits: If certain higher-level members get a special registration slot, for instance, you need an association management system that can automatically apply that benefit instead of the member calling your office to override the system.
  • Sell memberships and event tickets together: Some people will want to purchase or upgrade their membership to redeem those special permissions. Invest in a system that can streamline membership purchase and event ticket purchase into one checkout.
  • Allow local chapters to host events: You’re already empowering your members to find community online, so why not give them the agency to bring that local community together in the real world?

With Fonteva, event management is already included! You get all the features that come along with Salesforce event planning:

With Fonteva's association management system, you get comprehensive event planning features on top of the Salesforce CRM platform.

On top of these event personalization features, you keep your data centralized in one place when you organize events in your association management database.

The Takeaway: Organizing events with your association management system doesn’t just ease your administrative burden. With an integrated event management system, you deliver a smoother experience for your members.

Ensure your association membership software is mobile-friendly.

5. Mobile functionality encourages participation

More and more often, your members are accessing the most important elements of their social and professional lives through their mobile devices. By implementing mobile functionality, you encourage your members to take your organization with them on the go into multiple arenas of their lives.

The easier it is to access your member community, the more your members will do just that.

When looking for membership and association management software with the right mobile features, keep in mind that you want to encourage users to use your app, not discourage them. A mobile app is not useful if it’s so difficult to use that none of your members want to log on.

You should search for an intuitive app that doesn’t require you to train your members on how to use, like Fonteva:
Make sure your association membership management solution can connect your members with their community even when they're on the go.

The Takeaway: When members log on to Fonteva on their mobile phones, they see familiar menus and feeds that they might see on a social networking app. This familiarity encourages them to use the app wherever they are!

Encourage members to show off their membership with your association software's eStores.

6. eStores help members show off their membership

Selling branded merchandise online is a great way to make additional revenue for your association. Plus, every time your members wear branded merchandise from your online store, they walk around as free advertising for your association!

Beyond the free advertising, branded shirts, water bottles, and stickers are ways for your members to identify themselves outside their member profiles in the real world. The more tangible their membership is, the more connected they feel to it, and the better chances they have of renewing their membership.

With Fonteva, you can sell all of those items and more:

Offer members automatic discounts at your eStore with your association software.

Instead of signing up for a third-party site to sell your items, integrate your eStore with your association management system. You’d be surprised by the benefits:

  • Enforce a variety of custom pricing levels based on membership level
  • Track purchases by custom membership profile fields
  • Take advantage of the same payment gateways you use for dues and donations
  • Sell memberships, tickets, and even sponsorships using the same checkout system
  • Allow members to store their payment information in a secure online wallet connected to their profile

The Takeaway: Go beyond bringing in additional revenue and use your association management system’s eStore as an opportunity to engage your members.

Track at-risk members within your association management system.

7. Association membership system tracking flags at-risk members

Even engaged members can decline to renew, for a number of potential reasons. They might not be able to cover their membership dues, they might have moved to a different city, or they might not be getting out of your association what they wanted.

Those reasons are important for your association to know because they can help guide your operations in the future. But before you can discover them, you need to identify those members before they lapse out of your association.

For that, you need a robust reporting option that’s:

  • Accessible, so each of your association’s departments can build reports about information that’s relevant to them
  • Intuitive, so anyone can produce useful reports regardless of coding experience and without help from IT
  • Customizable, so any staff member can monitor any custom fields that are helpful for their segment of your association

When you integrate these reporting features with your association membership database, you can build reports that pull from membership information without having to import it. The association management system does the work!

Take a look at the kind of data you have quick and easy access to with Fonteva’s reporting dashboards:

Monitor your membership base for at-rick members within your association management system.

Associations need to monitor their membership renewals for approaching deadlines. Automated membership renewal letters are great early defense against missed renewal deadlines, but you might consider a more personal approach when the deadline is right around the corner.

There are other factors that can indicate an at-risk member, which depend on the association. If your association plans many events, for example, members who haven’t attended in a few months might merit a call or email to ask them why they haven’t shown up.

With Fonteva dashboards, you can view common membership statistics while personalizing your view for your particular organization.

The Takeaway: Decreasing attrition becomes a more streamlined project when your association takes advantage of a sophisticated association management system’s custom reporting.

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 all the different features discussed above.

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

Download our guide to association management software!

Don't miss out on these features when purchasing an association management database!

5 Association Management Database Features to Know

When it comes time to upgrade your association management software, you shouldn’t go into the marketplace blind. Making a smart purchasing decision can set your association up for success for the future — the right association software will address your current needs and expand with your association as it grows.To ensure your enterprise-level association gets the necessary flexibility, scalability, and support from your new solution, go with a true cloud solution. Without the restrictions of a locally hosted solution, true-cloud solutions can provide all of the above and more.

Once you’ve narrowed your options down to cloud solutions, what else should you look for?

Here are the top five features to keep in mind as you embark on your association management software purchasing mission:

  1. Drag-and-drop dashboards
  2. Event management
  3. Member-driven committees
  4. Revenue accounting
  5. Advanced personalization

Integrating these features with your association management database allows your association’s administrative team to stay on track to meet your ambitious goals, all while encouraging your members to engage with the member community. The right association management database will do both: keep you organized and empower your members!

Get ready to take notes as we dive into it!


Stay on top of your operations with your association management database's dashboards.

1. Custom Dashboards

As your membership base expands over time, your operations and offerings should expand, too! More members means more revenue to fund new programs and initiatives, but it also means more responsibility to deliver what members are looking for.

To ensure you can identify those areas in which your association can improve, choose an association management database with robust reporting features.

When your association management database can produce reports, you can pull membership data without having to export to an expensive third-party reporting solution. You might be looking for:

  • Membership sign-ups
  • Renewal rates
  • Event attendance
  • Overdue invoices

With true-cloud association software like Fonteva for Associations, every member of your team can craft custom reports by pulling any of this data and more from any corner of your operations. And, through Fonteva’s drag-and-drop interface, you can do it without any help from IT.

Maintain a birds-eye view of your operations with your association management database's dashboards.

The ability to create custom reports without any coding is key for large associations with multiple departments taking on a variety of initiatives.

During your search for an association management database, be sure to ask about customization and configuration. If you will need to coordinate with the vendor or in-house IT every time you need a new reporting view, you’ll waste precious time jumping through those administrative hoops.


Plan events within your association membership software.

2. Event Management

Most associations, especially professional ones, plan events of some kind for their members. Whether those events take the form of networking cocktail hours or weekend-long conferences, they’re easier and more efficient to run within your association management database.

Not only will an integrated system save you money by eliminating the cost of third-party event management software, but you’ll also make the event registration and management processes quicker and more reliable. Your association management database can populate registration forms with your members’ data saved within it and record event attendance data and badges directly into your member profiles.

Besides the benefit of eliminating timely and costly data transfer, with events integrated into your association database, you can take advantage of:

  • Membership benefits — Encourage member attendance through special discounts, priority registration, or free add-ons automatically added to their ticket purchase.
  • Branded event sites — Consolidate registration, event details, updates, and photos on one branded website to get attendees excited about the event.
  • Member leadership — Allow local chapters or other member groups to plan their own events, saving your team time and encouraging member engagement.

Especially if your association hosts many events, consider looking for an association management solution based in Salesforce, like Fonteva:

Manage events from ticketing to sponsorship with Fonteva's association management software.

Salesforce event planning apps automatically integrate with your association’s member database because they’re hosted within the same platform!


 Empower your members with committees within your association management database.

3. Member-Driven Committees

Empowering your members to take the lead on some of your projects is beneficial for both you and your members:

  • For your association, member initiative results in less work for your team.
  • For your members, taking the lead brings them even closer to the member community.

To bring your member community closer together by encouraging your members’ initiative, you need software that can support member-driven projects. In your software search, look for solutions with built-in group features, like Fonteva for Associations:

Empower your members through your association management database with committees.

With committees in Fonteva for associations, your members can:

  • Request to join and manage those requests.
  • Communicate with other committee members.
  • Share documents, including meeting minutes.
  • Plan events for committee members or all members.
  • View the directory of committees.
  • Manage the committee’s calendar.

These features allow members to tackle special projects with minimal oversight from your administrative team. Just set the infrastructure in place and encourage them to use it!


Keep a sub-ledger of your finances within your association software.

4. Revenue Accounting

As your association grows, its revenue will grow alongside it! But as you start new programs or expand popular ones, your expenses will grow, too.

You already have an accounting solution that works for you. To support your association’s expansion, you need a more streamlined bridge between your association’s ledger and your books.

When purchasing your association management database, look for solutions that can centralize your financial data, not just your member’s contact data. We’re talking about:

  • Member dues
  • Product sales
  • Registration costs
  • Debits, credits, and refunds

Then, you need this sub-ledger to integrate with or export to your accounting solution. Try a solution like Fonteva, which can accommodate multiple currencies and export journal entries in common file types for easy integration with your existing accounting system:

Export your sub-ledger from your association membership software to your accounting solution.

The more streamlined your accounting can be, the more confident you can be as you plan your budget to grow your association.


Use your association management database to offer flexible pricing to members.

5. Advanced Personalization

No other association operates exactly the same way as  yours, which means your association management solution needs to be flexible enough to address your unique needs.

Take pricing rules, for example. Your members love to receive benefits associated with their membership. Depending on your association, those benefits might include:

  • Early access to event registration
  • Exclusive invitations to events
  • Coupons for your online store
  • Discounted membership renewal

A great association membership database can apply these benefits automatically to purchases your members make when logged in with their credentials. But the best software can also apply variable pricing rules based on the details in your members profiles, which greatly improves the member experience:

Apply variable product pricing within your association management database.

For example, you could offer a higher discount for gold members (20%) than you offer to silver member (10%). You could also offer an earlier registration slot for an upcoming conference to members who register more than a month before the event, or those who attended a certain training class, or those who made a donation of a certain amount in the past year.

Some members might purchase a membership just to take advantage of these benefits. To ensure that your office isn’t flooded with calls from new members wishing to take advantage of their new membership benefits, make sure that the association management database solution you choose is able to apply benefits to the same purchase when a membership is added to the cart.

Your next association management database is an investment! Let these tips guide you to a solution that will grow along with your association in the long term.

In the meantime, check out these association software resources:

Download the guide to association management databases!