Time for a New AMS? Tips for Board Buy-in

Your association management software (AMS) is the foundation for meaningful digital transformation in your organization. To get support from your board, talk to them about the big-picture benefits they are looking for.

By Scott Bruner – Business Development Representative    

For many associations, the accelerated push toward digital transformation in the past year has spotlighted critical technology needs they can no longer ignore. Teams that managed to stay afloat without association management software (AMS) before 2020 say they increasingly struggle with: 

  • Managing operations through multiple systems 
  • Maintaining membership, sponsor and donor lists 
  • Enabling members to manage their accounts 
  • Coordinating and managing events 
  • Managing, updating and maintaining educational materials and resources 
  • Supporting accounting and financial management teams 
  • Providing leadership with the information they need for decision making 

If any of these issues sound familiar, 2021 is the year to move to a modern AMS platform—or update your old AMS. However, to make that move, you must get over the first hurdle: making the business case to your board. 

Fortunately, many association boards are already aware that centralizing your operational systems is important. But many association teams tell us they still need to persuade their boards of the ultimate value of an AMS platform. We offer some talking points to help you make your case. 

Digital Transformation of Association Operations  

Today, an AMS is no longer just a tool to streamline processes and workflows. Although those capabilities are incredibly important to your staff in their daily jobs, they are not the only benefits. 

An AMS is an enabler for digital transformation of all your business operations. To help your board understand the greater business benefits they can expect from an AMS, talk to them about the issues that are most important to them.  

Data Insights for the Life of Your Business 

As the foundation of your digital strategy, your AMS provides a centralized and highly functional database. It enables you to maintain a clean, up-to-date member list—and so much more. The AMS becomes your system of record for all your member interactions and information. A reliable, single source of truth enables data analytics that answer questions such as:  

  • What level of certifications do members hold?  
  • What education resources have they accessed and what courses have they taken? 
  • How many members can you anticipate at your next event based on past event performance? 
  • What is your expected member attrition?  
  • What influences people to become new members? 
  • What are your greatest sources of non-dues revenue? 

Drive Revenue from New Sources 

A modern AMS also gives you the ability to explore new sources of non-dues revenue. For example, you might: 

  • Provide select partners with access to relevant member or supplier directories 
  • Monetize job boards  
  • Offer subscriptions to customized research tools 
  • Enable sponsors to participate in or facilitate relevant topical community groups 
  • Provide sponsors with extended visibility for ads throughout your site and mobile app 
  • Develop creative in-event sponsor opportunities for virtual, hybrid and in-person formats 
  • Create fresh donor outreach programs  

Reduce Business Risk 

One high-value benefit your board will be looking for is enterprise-level security for data protection and privacy. Outdated and custom solutions can leave your association vulnerable to cyberattacks and technology failures. A modern AMS provides a solution that helps ensure business security and continuity by: 

  • Reducing or eliminating dependence on outdated systems 
  • Ensuring secure integrations with third-party software 
  • Automating upgrades and patches to protect critical business data and members’ personally identifiable information (PII) 
  • Centralizing document management, policies and training information 
  • Enabling quick and easy updates to business processes 
  • Simplifying the addition of software capabilities as needed 

Stay Competitive and Relevant 

Don’t forget to emphasize the most important value an AMS offers: the value to your members. Online interactions and transactions are the norm, and members expect that your site will provide them with the same easy experience and functionality that they get in the other websites and apps they use every day.  

A modern AMS provides members with a seamless experience—whether from their desk or through a mobile app—as they navigate through interactions with your association: 

  • Self-service access to their membership profiles and accounts 
  • Access to association resources 
  • The ability to track education and certifications 
  • Easy connections with other members, suppliers and advisors  
  • Essential industry and career news 

Calling for Backup: Consultants Can Help You Make Your Case 

An AMS is the foundational hub for your technology infrastructure, and finding the right solution is essential for implementing a digital transformation that enables long-term value and resilience for your association. 

As you start the process of developing your business case, you will want to ensure you have input from stakeholders across your organization to ensure you are presenting your boar with a clear picture of what the organization needs and how the new AMS will help solve business needs at every level.  

In addition, an industry consultant may provide helpful guidance in developing a successful pitch for your board presentation. The Association of Consultants to Nonprofits and the Association of Nonprofit Specialists can help you locate nonprofit technology professionals who can assist with your AMS project. 

And of course, the experts at Protech are at your service to provide insights about the long-term value an AMS will bring to your organization. Feel free to request a demo to find out what Protech AMS can do for your association.