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Key Tips in Selecting Membership Software for Nonprofits

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

Regardless of size, most nonprofit organizations need help and lack membership software product knowledge in house for embarking successfully in a  proper software selection process. As you see above, there is a general flow that should transpire.

But, quite frankly, your staff was not hired for their expertise in understanding how to buy membership software for nonprofits and will likely have a departmental outlook only on the needs of  technology.

Therefore, whether you are from a small associations or large associations you likely lack internal resources (time & people) and need guidance in choosing an AMS system which is right for your organization.

In short, to answer the question, is that the effective selection of Membership Software for nonprofits must start first with outlining exactly your vision and goals as they pertain to technology enablement. Technology should be viewed as a means to an end. The vision should outline exactly the anticipated ROI (benefits/costs) from use of the technology.

Without a doubt, your nonprofits vision and goals should set the tone, direction and final destination. The journey in the process is critical and should be embraced by your executives, staff, & board. The absence of your goals in the evaluation process is similar to a ship setting sail without a clear understanding of the final destination.

Although you may end up in a good location by chance, it is far more likely you will end up lost or run aground. So, where do you begin? 

Below you will find 20 key points to contemplate in your journey to find the  “right fit” for your nonprofit association:

TIPS For Selecting Membership Software

  1. Begin with the “end in mind”: It should be concise and provide a clear “picture” of how your technology will impact staff and your members/donors.

  2. Quantify the value of the program (ROI): What will you gain and what are the metrics by which you will achieve success?

  3. Create a roadmap: Where will your organization be with the new system in 5 years?

  4. Build an Effective AMS Software Governance Structure: Assemble a good representative team of executives, board, staff, members, donors to monitor progress. 

  5. Secure Staff Buy-In and Adoption: This new system should be a “blessing” not a “curse”. Eliminate discontent early on in the process. 

  6. Run The Numbers (Be Realistic with what’s palatable): Get real. Be realistic and be cognizant that your not going to get everything you want for “free”. 

  7. Check Your Calendar :The implementation of this system won’t happen overnight. And, don’t expect it too either.

  8. Assemble the Project Team:  This should be comprised of key functional players from all areas/departments.

  9. Develop Requirements: This is paramount and cannot be overstated

  10. Ask “Business Friends”: Use Social Media for a good purpose. Ask your Peers.

  11. Present Your Story: Intelligently share your situation, goals, and future state needs.

  12. Short Listing Vendors: No more than 3 finalists should be called & avoid RFP’s based on features alone. Don’t Guess!

  13. Schedule Demonstrations: Prepare for more than overview. Score based on your key requirements, "Must Have".

  14. Ask Good Questions: Come prepared with Key Criteria Not Feature List

  15. Collaborate and “Share” : This is a partnership you have to open up too. 

  16. Check out References

  17. Negotiate from Strength: Know the market and what is realistic.

  18. Get Real: Be Realistic, SMART, & Open. Don't waste your time or others in this process.

  19. Make a Decision: Don’t allow Status Quo to be an Option. No decision is a decision.

  20. Don’t look Back: There is nothing worse than talking about “our old system did this”. Move on. 

Without a doubt, it takes a concerted effort to select Membership Software for nonprofits today.

The effort is intense but will be rewarding if done properly. And, if you utilize the suggestions above, you will be better prepared to select Online Membership Management Software which is a smart fit.

If you would like to discuss our approach above or services we provide, please contact us.

Association Membership Manager Software defined and explained in this article.


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