Our membership management software comparison plus reviews and how to choose!

Membership software is a major investment for any association or organization! This means it’s incredibly important to carefully weigh your options whenever you’re researching your first membership platform or considering making a switch to a newer system.

That’s why we’ve compiled our top 5 picks for the best membership software on the market!

Whether you need a general solution, a niche management tool, or a lean but comprehensive platform for organizing your membership program, we’ve got you covered. Explore our top choices:

  1. Fonteva for Associations
  2. Salsa Donor Management Software
  3. Doubleknot for Non-Profit Organizations
  4. CommunityPass for Recreation Centers
  5. Sumac Non-Profit Software

We’ll run through the top features of each membership software, and then we’ll slow the pace for a walkthrough guide to gathering all your information and making a choice. Let’s get started!

Membership Management Software Comparison

 Fonteva is a top choice in our membership software comparison!

1. Fonteva

Designed to take your membership program to new levels of engagement and utility, Fonteva Membership is a strong choice for all kinds of trade and professional associations. Plus, it’s the only membership solution recommended by Salesforce!

As a membership management solution fully native to the world’s leading CRM platform, Fonteva has all the essential features you need, plus a nimble, cloud-based structure that won’t weigh down your team or members with clunky and expensive updates.

Full data integration means you’ll have easy access to all your tools and information in one place, streamlining the management, event planning, dues and revenue collection, and reporting processes like never before.

 Top Features of this Membership Software

Fonteva can dramatically boost engagement with your members and help your entire program operate more efficiently than ever! Explore some of the nimble, intuitive, and engaging features that make it one of the top membership software solutions available:

  • Built on Salesforce and automatic reporting. Automatically populate contact details, attendance statistics, important connections, and membership level permissions. Pulling data from across your entire database makes Fonteva an incredibly useful and customizable solution.
  • Robust member profiles. As a Salesforce-native membership management app, Fonteva allows you to create intuitive but comprehensive member profiles. Easy access to this information can help you make smarter decisions faster than ever.

Fonteva's full member profiles and Salesforce integration make it a top membership software choice!

  • Member engagement tools. Fonteva’s collaborative drag-and-drop dashboards, communities, and directories make it easy for your members to directly engage with your organization. Generate real-time data and visualize trends as they happen!
  • Time-saving automation. Stay focused on your members by streamlining all the tedious tasks of managing a membership program. Renewal notices, dues and payment processing, and member self-service options can save everyone’s time.

Automated renewal features are just one way membership management software by Fonteva will save your team time.

With all these features, plus extras like eCommerce capabilities, revenue management, and social media-style member interfaces, Fonteva can take your membership program to new levels!

Why this Membership Software Stands Out

Fonteva is an extremely comprehensive but nimble membership management choice for associations. That’s because it’s fully native to Salesforce!

As a true-cloud solution, your Fonteva membership software is accessible from anywhere, on any device. You’ll never have to worry about surprise updates, unreasonable upgrade costs, or purchasing any additional IT hardware.

We believe that a piece of software should never stand between you and your members. That’s why the right Salesforce plugins can make such a huge difference for your work. Fonteva and Salesforce take care of all the logistics, you just manage your membership program.

2. Salsa

As a more heavy-duty option for mid- and large-size groups, Salsa is a top choice to meet all your digital management needs.

With its comprehensive features, fundraising capabilities, and tools designed to give you to big picture every step of the way, Salsa can take your nonprofit or association to new heights of efficiency and planning.

Salsa is a comprehensive solution in our membership management software comparison.
  • Full donor profiles. Track all your crucial data down the individual level, including contact information, connections, demographics, and even social media engagement statistics.
  • Donation tracking. Use your donor profiles to track donations or other transactions, keeping details organized and the big picture within easy sight.
  • Direct mail fundraising tools. A built-in word processor plus automated mailing list generation makes it easy to get your campaign off to a strong start.

Plus, Salsa’s intuitive and organized data reporting tools let your team completely optimize your strategies. Grow relationships with donors while keeping overarching goals clearly in focus!

Salsa’s donor management software even comes with Salsa Engage included! This suite of digital fundraising tools can seriously boost your online campaigns, with marketing, advocacy, and peer-to-peer fundraising features all in one.

3. Doubleknot

Doubleknot is an industry leader in membership management software designed just for museums, zoos, and aquariums.

As organizations that rely on their membership programs for steady revenue and annual funding, Doubleknot’s customers rely on their comprehensive and effective features and tools:

Doubleknot is a perfect membership software in our comparison for nature and cultural groups.
  • Full member directory and profiles. Access all your important member data in one easy-to-navigate interface.
  • Automated hierarchy and benefits tools. Efficiently manage your program’s tiered membership levels and permissions.
  • Easy gift membership and renewal features for members that make it simple to continue supporting your work.

Organized management and tidy membership databases are what help culture- and nature-oriented institutions or organizations thrive. Doubleknot’s tools and features make it an ideal partner to help your museum or zoo retain more members than ever!

4. CommunityPass

CommunityPass is a cloud-based recreation membership software provider. It’s a smart solution for organizations that need an all-in-one system to keep things running smoothly like community centers, pools, or fitness centers .

Designed to handle everything from key cards to administration work, CommunityPass can help your community organization serve the people that matter the most with these amazing features:  

CommunityPass is a top membership software option for community and fitness centers.
  • Content and activity management. With customizable registration forms, online catalogs, and flexible pricing structures, your constituents will be able to enjoy the activities they love quickly and easily.
  • Front desk administration. Your staff will be able to provide historical receipts, issue credits, reset passwords, and track program requirements quickly and easily.
  • Finance and reporting. With the ability to create custom reports and run financial reconciliations, you’ll be able to stay on top of your community center’s finances easily.

The wide range of features that CommunityPass offers will ensure that your staff can do their jobs quickly and efficiently, and that your constituents can enjoy the activities that your facility provides with no hassle.

5. Sumac

An affordable but highly customizable membership software option for organizations, Sumac could be a strong choice to meet your program’s needs.

The Sumac suite of member management options is built around a central CRM solution. Your team then chooses which add-on tools would be most useful. Some of these include:

Read our review of Sumac membership software.
  • Digital fundraising tools. Sumac’s suite of basic digital fundraising tools might be the perfect boost to get your campaign off the ground.
  • Volunteer management features. Alongside your member management tools and profiles, easily manage and track your volunteers in one unified system.
  • Ticketing systems. Integrated ticketing tools make it easy to organize even the most logistically-challenging elements of your member events.

As an affordable and custom-built solution, Sumac doesn’t offer the same level of ease-of-use like Fonteva or heavy-duty utility like Salsa. Instead, it offers an effective, light-weight option for nonprofits that need their own unique membership management system.

How to Choose the Best Association Software

If you’ve explored your options and identified a handful of membership software solutions that seem to be strong candidates for your organization, it’s crucial that you don’t rush into settling on a single choice just yet.

There are a few essential steps that can ensure you’re making a smart membership software investment. Let’s walk through them now!

Determine what you need from membership management software before choosing.

1. Determine your exact membership software needs.

There are a few points of information that you and your team must consider at the earliest stages of your software search. These all involve the essential functions that your chosen software will absolutely have to fulfill. Keep these in mind the entire time you’re researching software options:

  1. The current size of your membership program.
  2. The projected growth of your program or any related plans.
  3. The scope of your program and levels of member engagement.
  4. Any customization options you’ll definitely want or need.

These considerations will immediately help you to narrow down your choices as your team researches top membership management software. For more context, be sure to read through our article on the essential features that any strong management system needs to include.

Next, consider if a niche, general, or flexible membership software will be most appropriate. Carefully compare your options:

  • General software might not specifically address all your needs, but it can provide high functionality at a standard price.
  • Niche software will be designed to meet your programs’ exact needs, but it might be pricier or require more high-tech knowledge.
  • Flexible software fits between the two, providing comprehensive but intuitive features that integrate into the systems you already use.

The size of your organization and membership program should definitely be a consideration, as well. Enterprise-level nonprofits and large associations with complex logistical needs should be looking for different software than a small to mid-size organization, for instance.

For groups of any size, though, a lean or integrated software solution tends to be the best bet.

Read plenty of membership software reviews!

2. Read plenty of membership software reviews.

Narrow down your choices to two or three top membership software solutions that address your needs, fit with the size of your program, and offer flexible options.

Now, it’s time to start refining your list even more. Begin by fully exploring the websites of your top picks, taking note of their main features, options, and unique tools. Creating a collaborative document for your team to gather and compare software notes is a smart move. Next, move on to reviews on third-party reviews.

Third-party software review sites tend to be the most useful here. A rough balance of positive and negative feedback can be a good indicator of reliability, too.

Capterra is a leader in software reviews because its site allows anyone to submit their verified feedback, giving you a more comprehensive and honest picture of each of your choices.

AppExchange is Salesforce’s store for business applications, with apps and components for every conceivable business process. It’s the best place to go for reviews for all applications based on the most powerful CRM platform out there.

G2 Crowd is a prominent voice for business software reviews, having almost half a million independent and authenticated reviews. With over 1.5 million readers each month, the voice of the customer is amplified so that you can make the most informed decision when choosing your software solution. Fonteva is ranked #1 in usability on G2 Crowd:

Review sites like G2 Crowd are great resources for your membership software comparison.

A quick rundown of aggregated ratings, top features, basic pricing, and core users gives your team a bird-eye view of all your choices, helping you make a smarter decision quickly!

Rank your priorities when comparing membership management software.

3. Rank your core priorities for membership software.

As you look over your research that you’ve compiled on two or three options for your next membership management software, take the time to actually rank your priorities.

The most common priorities that any individuals, organizations, or companies have when considering new software include:

  • Positive customer reviews
  • Company strength and dedication to market
  • Comprehensive support
  • Ease of use
  • History of reliability
  • Security features

Your team’s collaborative research document is a great place to conduct this step.

Identify some of your top priorities, then run through each of the finalists that you’re considering. Rank each membership software for each core priority using a common scale, then compile your results in a handy table. A clear frontrunner will likely emerge at this point!

Review some key concepts about membership management software when choosing.

4. Review some essential points of membership software.

Brushing up now on some of the key ideas and features that you first used to identify some initial choices will ensure that nothing has slipped through the cracks. Some key points and concepts to remember include:

  • Software size and functionality. There’s no reason for any professional software today to include clunky features that slow down the entire system. Look instead for lean solutions, which are typically the more intuitive choices. With specialty apps or software built into your CRM, for instance, you pay for what you use — not for a single overwhelming package of software.
  • Web- or cloud-based software. Physical software often feels more reliable, but it requires bulky servers, manual updates, and expensive support charges. Web-based or cloud solutions instead require no extra hardware automatically (typically for free), and offers easy remote access for your staff and board members.
  • Software roadmap. A roadmap can help you determine the reliability and history of a membership software. What’s its history of updates and new version releases? Is there much dialogue or community between its users and the vendor? Is it built into a trusted framework like Salesforce, or does it have its own security protocols you should examine?
  • Customization options. Having a firm understanding of your exact needs will help to determine what customization options you’ll need from a membership software. Are its features scalable to adapt to your needs? Could your developers easily augment or reconfigure specific features if necessary?

As you move closer to making a final choice, make sure to briefly review some essential points and concepts of membership management software with your team.

Finally choose a membership management software for your organization or association!

5. Choose your next membership management software!

Using all the research you’ve compiled, keep refining your list of choices. Understanding your needs, ranking your priorities, reading plenty of reliable reviews, and reviewing some core concepts will all ensure that you’ve made the best decision for your organization or association.

After all, you membership software will become an important part of how your members interact with your work! As an investment of this magnitude, it’s crucial that your team follow some best practices like the steps listed here.

If you’re looking to continue your research on management software, membership programs, and databases, be sure to consult some additional resources:

Learn more about choosing membership software.