Whether you run a club, membership organisation, classes, or courses, the thought of saving time on admin and simplifying payment collections sounds like a dream come true. It’s likely that membership management software has crossed your mind but with many different types available, finding the right one can be a challenge. We’ve compiled a mini-guide to help you think about where to start and what you might need to look for.
Evaluating your needs
It might be that you’ve finally decided to “get with the times” and scrap your outdated spreadsheet and paper system. Or the current membership management you’re using just isn’t working out – maybe it’s too expensive, difficult to use, or doesn’t have everything you need. Whatever the case, your first step is to highlight your current pain points and how to address these. If you’re not responsible for handling membership admin, make sure you speak to the people who are as they know your current system best.
Start by listing all your admin tasks. This will probably include things like registering new members, updating member information, collecting fees, counting monies, member renewals, and communicating with members. Having this mapped out will give you a clear overview of what isn’t going well and what you hope to achieve from using membership management software. Plus, if you need to convince others at your club or organisation to invest, this will help your case.
What exactly does membership management software do?
Of course, it varies from provider to provider, but in a nutshell, membership management software is designed to automate admin tasks. Instead of spending hours doing it manually every week, you can let the software take care of it and focus your time and energy on what matters. If you’re not familiar with the functionalities of membership management software, here’s what to expect:
- A membership database for storing, updating, and quick access to member information
- Online forms to simplify the registration process for new members and add them into your database
- Secure payment gateways for members to make contactless payments online
- Automated payment requests, reconciliation, and reminders which eliminate cash collection and time spent counting monies
- Automated renewal reminders and payment requests
- A communication means such as email to keep in touch with members and send them personalised messages
- Various additional capabilities such as financial reports, events management, registers, and fundraising
Other consideration factors
Having the functionality you need is all well and good, but there are several other factors you need to consider that can either make or break your experience with membership management software. For example:
- Ease of use – You want software that’s easy to get your head around and not overly complicated. If you’re spending lots of time learning how to use a clunky user interface or troubleshooting continuous issues it almost defeats the objective of spending less time on admin.
- Access – If you have a team of people who manage admin, it’s best to invest in web-based software that everyone can access remotely at any time of day. This will also ensure that they all work from the same records and eliminates the worry of losing information as it’s all backed up online.
- Security – Thanks to GDPR, all membership management software providers will have you covered from a data protection point of view but it’s necessary to ensure the software you choose has password protection and control over staff access levels.
- Pricing – Do you want to pay monthly, yearly, or only when you get paid i.e. transactional charges? Also, don’t forget to take into account setup, training and support costs as well as those hidden costs some providers may include in the fine print.
- Data caps/limitations – How many members do you want to store in your database? And what about the number of emails/texts you’ll need to send out to your members? Some membership management software providers offer pricing tiers, for example, you have to pay more money if you want to send out more emails. To avoid hassle and a spike in costs, it’s best to go for software with unlimited capacity.
- Support – Software that’s easy to use may still require occasional support so you will need access to a team of helpful people, preferably through various different means such as phone, email, webchat, and social media. Additionally, look out for a comprehensive knowledge center that should help with common questions.
- Reviews – Take a look around on social media and review websites to find out what other people are saying about membership management software providers. No one has anything to lose by leaving an honest, unbiased review of their experience.
Taking a test drive
Membership management software is a long term commitment for your club or organisation, so before you sign up and agree to a lengthy list of terms and conditions, it’s best to ask your chosen provider for a personalised demo and trial period. The last thing you want is to jump the gun and then find the software doesn’t work for you – it can be a nightmare process having to start all over again. Selecting the right software takes time and rightly so because it’ll be integral in helping you work faster and smarter.
Take it from us – we’ve got a member management software that has proven to reduce admin by 80% AND increase income. Win-win. Book a free consultation today to find out more.
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