Our primary consulting service is helping associations select Membership Software. As a result, we often get the question, how should we go about selecting Membership Software for nonprofits. 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.Quite frankly, your staff was not hired for their expertise in understanding 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 16 Pointers to contemplate in your journey to find the "right fit" for your nonprofit:
How to Select Membership Software for Nonprofits the Smart Way
Begin with the "End in Mind": Your end vision should be concise and provide a clear "picture" of how your technology will impact staff and your members/donors.
Quantify the value of the program (ROI): What will you gain and what are the metrics by which you will achieve success? This should be crystal clear to provide to the board.
Create a roadmap: Where will your organization be with the new system in 5 years? This is not a decision for a year. It's a long term relationship which you need to plan for accordingly.
Governance Structure: You need to build an effective AMS Software Governance Structure. Assemble a good representative team of executives, board, staff, members, donors to monitor progress.
Secure Staff Buy-In and Adoption: This new system should be a "blessing" not a "curse". Eliminate discontent early on in the process.
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".
Check Your Calendar :The implementation of this system won't happen overnight. And, don't expect it too either.
Assemble the Selection Committee: This should be comprised of key functional players from all areas/departments.
Ask "Friends" and "Associates what they use: Use Social Media for a good purpose. Ask your Peers.
Make Contact with Vendors: No more than 3 finalists should be called & avoid RFP's based on features alone. Don't Guess!
Schedule Demonstrations: Score based on your road map not only features
Ask Good Questions: Come prepared with Key Criteria Not Feature List
Collaborate with the "Finalists" and "Share" what is required: This is a partnership you have to open up too.
Get Real: Be Realistic, SMART, & Open
Make a Decision: Don't allow Status Quo to be an Option
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 for your strategy, needs, and goals.
If you would like to discuss our approach above or services we provide, please contact us.