Software for modern associations

Written by Amber Bovenmyer on 25 November 2019 in Features
Features

Amber Bovenmyer offers six strategies to consider.

Reading time: 7 minutes

As the next generation enters the workforce, they are joining associations as members and in leadership positions. To stay relevant, associations are evolving to best serve the newcomers and long-term members alike.

Association technology is improving to serve the needs of associations, in turn improving everything from efficiency and data collection to event management and continuing education quality.

We’ve gathered  software strategies for the modern association to consider to improve their management processes:

Use an LMS to facilitate learning opportunities

As an association, one of the most important functions of your organisation is guiding the professional development of your members. This is most often done by providing continuing education (CE) opportunities to members. 

As with many other association management processes, this education is often conducted online now. An association learning management system (LMS) is a software solution that facilitates online education.

Whether your members are completing required certifications or even just taking courses for their own interest, a robust LMS can handle it all.

Let’s look at a few of the features an LMS employs to engage learners, and provide you with valuable information through the process.

A modern LMS platform should:

  • Offer built-in course authoring, so you can easily create courses (and duplicate past successes) to provide content to members.
  • Adapt as learners progress through the material, increasing in difficulty to match the skill level of the member using it.
  • Offer gamification elements, engaging learners with healthy competition against their peers.
  • Suggest new courses and certifications to members to supplement that which they’ve already completed.
  • Track all continuing education completed, whether done at an event or even through another method outside of your association.

For the modern association, investing in an LMS to facilitate all continuing education opportunities is a worthwhile move for your association’s leadership and members alike.

Utilise event planning software for improved in-person experiences

Just as businesses are adapting to flexible working scenarios, you want to provide a variety of opportunities for your association’s members. This is where events come into play.

When creating your website on your CMS, prioritise three things: your association’s story, an effective SEO strategy, and strong calls to action

However, association event planning is a bit more involved than the average meeting planning. Everything is handled on a larger scale, including the members attending, the education provided, and even the necessity of networking opportunities.

Consider using event management software to aid in your planning. This software comes in a variety of forms, and you’ll want to choose your solution depending on how large, and involved, your event is.

For example, pretty much any association event would benefit from an event management software handling its ticketing and registration processes.

This makes planning easier for your association and provides a more seamless, simple experience for attendees with ready-to-go registration forms on your website.

However, for larger events like conferences, and even trade shows, a more comprehensive solution may be the way to go.

Some event management software solutions include the creation of a dedicated microsite and event app, both of which are valuable tools for managing the member experience at your association’s events.

If you’re looking to invest in comprehensive event management software, browse a few of the top event app providers here

Maintain an updated internet presence

When talking about software solutions for modern-day association management, it’s easy to jump to comprehensive software as the ultimate fix.

However, while you should pay attention to the many acronyms of association management technology, don’t overlook your association’s website in the process!

Your website functions as a hub for all of the information members (and future members) need regarding your association. You want it to direct users to the exact information they need as well as guide users to the information you want them to view – such as upcoming events or continuing education opportunities.

This begins with choosing the right CMS for your association. You want one that’s both attractive and easy to update, so there’s no risk of hosting outdated information due to difficult editing processes.

Then, when creating your website on your CMS, prioritise three things: your association’s story, an effective SEO strategy, and strong calls to action. These three focuses will get your association’s content in front of users and encourage them to interact with it.

Use marketing automation software for efficient communication

The current state of society is fast-paced, and your association’s management is likely to experience a similar phenomenon. Everyone wants to save time and work more efficiently, but not everyone is truly successful at doing so.

You can greatly bolster the essential storing and analysis done by your AMS by choosing a platform that’s integration-friendly

Your association can improve its efficiency, however, by simply using a marketing automation software for more effective communication.

From updating current members to attracting new members, associations are in a constant cycle of email communications. With marketing automation software, this outreach can not only be done automatically, but it can be purposeful in the process.

A comprehensive marketing automation software will allow you to: 

  • Tailor your automated communications to different groups of recipients, such as existing members, new members, and potential members.
  • Create automated email marketing campaigns that successfully guide members through the sales funnel of your association’s offerings. Later, track the success of these campaigns to advise future offerings.
  • Create templates of successful campaigns for future re-use.
  • Integrate with your social networks for automatic publishing of content on those platforms.

After incorporating this solution into your association’s management, you’ll be more efficient at generating and fielding communications. You’ll be saving time, just as any modern-day association should!

Use data analytics software for easy reporting

There’s a decent chance your association isn’t functioning with a full-time IT staff on hand. However, you still need to generate reports on how your members are interacting with your offerings to provide the best possible experience for them.

Data analytics software allows you to generate these reports without needing extensive IT experience.

Look for features prioritising ease-of-use, such as an easily navigable interface and visual reporting. This allows you to access and view reports without issue. 

Further, look for efficiency-based features such as real-time goal tracking and fully customisable modules, so you’re able to access the information you seek (and only that information) exactly when it’s needed.

Of course, your data analytics software must integrate with your AMS in order to have metrics to analyse. In fact, all of the previous solutions would benefit from an AMS integration – read on to learn about how.

Integrate your AMS for heightened insights.

Association management software (AMS) manages the administration of your association’s membership programme. It aids with accounting and reporting while housing a plethora of data on your members.

At its core, your AMS serves to house member profiles, handle all revenue accounting, and generate reports on your membership. These features are essential.

However, you can greatly bolster the essential storing and analysis done by your AMS by choosing a platform that’s integration-friendly.

There are a few AMS integrations that will provide particularly helpful for your association’s management processes:

  • Your LMS. This connection allows the automatic storing of members’ completed courses in your association’s most comprehensive database.
  • Your event management software. This avoids the hassle of migrating attendance and participation data from your event management tool to your AMS, as well as eases the ticketing process for members logged into their profiles (facilitating member discounts, early registration, etc).
  • Your marketing automation software. Email marketing depends on maintaining an updated list of member emails. This integration allows for the immediate updating of your marketing software with the newest contact information.
  • Your social media pages. This integration allows you to embed your association’s networks directly within your AMS and allows members to do the same with their member profiles.

 



 

Most associations are already familiar with the necessity of employing an AMS in their processes. However, it’s likely that fewer are aware of these integration opportunities and taking full advantage of them. 

The ability of your AMS to integrate with these other solutions is something you should consider when initially investing in the software.

For help choosing the right AMS system for your organisation, check out Fonteva’s buyer’s guide to association management software.

Software tools are growing in popularity in the management of modern-day associations. Whether this is due to the younger generation’s influence or simply necessitated by a faster world, these solutions are a powerful tool in association management!

These solutions are increasing efficiency, improving continuing education processes, and even streamlining all vital data to one comprehensive database.

Consider these six strategies to bring your association’s management to a more modern, digital age, and watch your leadership and members benefit from the upgrades. 

 

About the author:

Amber Bovenmyer is the director of sales and marketing at Web Courseworks

 

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