Where Should Associations Put Their Money?




Currently, many organizations are embracing technology by attempting to implement an association management system (AMS) and new marketing platforms – and feeling the pressure to do so.  Unfortunately, I’ve worked with several associations who’ve said, “Our AMS doesn’t work.” Or  “We’re not utilizing it fully.”
Before embarking on these endeavors, it’s important for you to break down what you really need to track and implement.
From an AMS perspective, an association may say,

  • “Hey, we need to know what our people are doing.
  • We need to know what products they buy.
  • We need to give them the ability to register for an event.
  • And, we’ve got to invoice our members every year.”

Okay, does this take a $2 million AMS? Can’t say because I don’t fully know the AMS business, but my advice is to stay focused on what you really need before you buy and implement.
The second part of this is what information technology (IT) should you invest? In this new era, IT is centered around communications. In terms of technology, I would invest in email marketing platforms, digital ads and delivery, and social media. These tools will have an amazing impact on your members because you can deliver value more quickly and efficiently with a modernized communications effort. Bottom line – this is where I’d put my money.
Technology is advancing so quickly – we can only look ahead so far in our planning and implementation. Not 20 years. Not 10. Perhaps, only over the next 5. So, what do you fundamentally need right now? The answers will be your guide to what’s essential to your association.
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