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AMS Software Review of Cobalt

Updated: Jun 22, 2021

Is your organization static or dynamic? If you are dynamic, then the team at Cobalt, the provider of Membership Dynamics, believe they can help associations, certification organizations, and businesses find hidden value in their member data to continue to excel into the future.

Cobalt CRM Software Review

We are excited to share this quick look at Cobalt’s Membership Dynamics, an Association Management Software, AMS, for trade and professional associations.

For those interested in learning more about Cobalt’s Membership Dynamics beyond this summary, we are available to share with you our thoughts about this membership software and others and how it fits into the larger membership software market today.

Suffice it to say, we have curated, interviewed, and prepared more detailed information for executives employed in the not for profit association industry to set up a time to discuss at length. Our software reviews are designed for those who would like fair and objective insights into the capabilities of this AMS software for nonprofit program.

Our Sources: Over the course of half a decade or so, we have worked with the Cobalt team many times to help our clients. We have reviewed the solution in brief and detailed demonstration overviews with their team, curated specific insights from the vendor for various use cases, read through countless software website pages, case studies and read multiple peer to peer reviews. This brief summary is a culmination of those insights.

Buyer Disclaimer: It can’t go without saying, there are many unique things which this system can do that are not mentioned. And, some possible holes too.  So, be mindful of this fact. While we believe this is a good summary, this short review should not be your only source of the truth!

Introduction to Cobalt Membership Dynamics Software:

Per Cobalt, their mission it to increase efficiency through technology.

Following them for years, they seem to always be striving to create solutions that make it easier for their customers, and their customers, to interact and resolve problems through software.

They have a tagline, “The Element of Efficiency”.  It’s the driving philosophy behind everything they do.

While a relatively small boutique software developer, Cobalt is a well known software developer with more than 2 decades of proven experience focused on the needs of the Association market for trade and professional organizations.

Please note that Cobalt has multiple product lines: Membership Dynamics, Engagement Dynamics, Certification Dynamics, & Migration Dynamics.

As of 2020, Cobalt team has an estimated 130 clients on their various products. Per Cobalt, their retention rate is a phenomenal 100% for the last 3 years. Their primary HQ is located in Arlington, VA.

Per LinkedIn, Cobalt now has an estimated 50 plus employees. As of 10/2018, the average employee tenure is healthy for technology companies who tend to have a considerable amount of turnover. Since 1996, they have had a steady growth and appear to keep employees long term.

According to social media tags, their specialty is Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Certification Management Software, Association Management Software, Office 365, Systems Integration, and Data Migration.

Per GlassDoor, an online company employee rating site, of the 15 employees surveyed, 94% of employees would recommend the place to work to a friend. And, 94% approve of the work that the CEO, Russell Inman, is doing too.

The Key Functions of Cobalt Membership Dynamics:

Cobalt AMS is a capable AMS for membership focused organizations built on top of the powerful Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform.

In comparison to other AMS options, the membership management software is extendible and offers an extensive selection of modules to help nonprofits manage their membership database, meetings and e-commerce activities. In addition, the AMS also provides many association with an adequate amount of pre-built reports.

Cobalt Sales Activity
Cobalt Annual Conference Dashboard

The system includes the core functional attributes many AMS software providers extend to their clients such as:

  1. Member Management including subscriptions

  2. Meetings and Events Management

  3. eCommerce and Payments

  4. Donations

  5. Dashboards & Reporting

  6. Accounting and Financial Management 

  7. Education and Training 

  8. Committees and Volunteers 

  9. Customer & Member Engagement Tracking

  10. Website Management via best of breed options 

Please note that Membership Dynamics is CMS agnostic; customers use a range of CMS’s including WordPress, Sitefinity, Hubspot, Drupal, and Higher Logic.

You may find some use in checking out a few videos on the platform here.

Please call us to discuss how their system is unique.

Where Does Cobalt AMS Fit?

The Cobalt platform is best suited for membership focused organizations. Generally speaking, the demographic profile of an organization who will likely fit this AMS comprise of some of the following traits, qualities, & interests:

  1. Non-profit membership focused organization with 15 or more staff.

  2. Non-profit association segments include: trade association, professional societies, clubs, chambers, foundations and association management companies are also candidates for this option.

  3. Non-profit membership focused organization that are frustrated with proprietary AMS options 

  4. Those associations who use or find value in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform.

  5. Midsized Associations who see the benefit of a Microsoft CRM platform option and value Microsoft’s enterprise-level R&D and a widely tested, used, reliable platform.

  6. CRM functions are a priority in their requirements.

  7. Certification functions are a priority in their requirements.

  8. Associations frustrated with a complex system.

  9. Organizations that Lack of actionable business intelligence in existing systems.

  10. Using current AMS or CRM systems which have weak integration with other systems.

How Much Does Cobalt CRM Membership Software Cost?

From a pure financial perspective, Cobalt CRM extends a competitive value.

As of 4th quarter 2020, please find some characteristics & rule of thumbs for the Cobalt CRM pricing model:

  1. The overall pricing consists of the software service fee, implementation fee, plus any additional options.

  2. Cobalt’s Membership Dynamic includes 8  core functional areas required by most associations in one price.

  3. Cobalt’s licensing, support, and hosting model is very simple. For Membership Dynamics, they have three levels of access – Power, Standard, and Team. These fees also include hosting of the Cobalt hosting components, unlimited end user support, the maintenance of a development and staging environment, and product updates ensuring Cobalt customers will always be on the newest version of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform.

  4. For example, based on 15 staff users at a nonprofit, an organization may expect a range of an estimated $18K to $36K for annual Software licenses. Based on our findings, a typical implementation may be in the range of $85K to $150K 1st year (software & implementation services) for Membership Dynamics. In the subsequent years, one should anticipate a range of $18K to $36K for ongoing software license usage/maintenance/support fees.

Buyer Disclaimer!

It is very important to note and underscore here that pricing may change and it’s at the discretion of the software manufacturer to do so.

Every client is unique and software products evolve over time too. So, pricing may change from time to time. Therefore, this brief summary is not intended to be the final authority on pricing rather just a rule of thumb.

Please make no mistake or assumptions here.

SmartThoughts does not sell this or any other software. We ask that you please consult directly with the software vendor for the most up to date pricing before making your final assessment.

What is the 911 Peer Review on Cobalt AMS?

Like software options today, software peer review sites are all over the internet.

Below you will find several review sites to choose from on Cobalt from it’s users (where applicable).

Due to limited online digital reviews for this vendor, we encourage more time spent in reference checking process with this provider.

Buyer Note:

Before you check out the feedback found on these sites, our recommendation is that you please review our article on how to utilize these review sites and comments on various resources here.

We have independent data from various sources too (not published) which may offer some additional thoughts, comments, and feedback to for various use case scenarios.

Case Studies On Cobalt Membership Dynamics

Case studies are a very good way to learn more about various software options. While they are “spoon fed” by the vendor, it’s still enlightening to read and valuable. You may find some good ones here.

Is Cobalt CRM the Best Membership Software for Your Association?

We don’t espouse to the belief that there is “one best AMS” for everyone. But, Cobalt may very well be your best fit.

However, to answer this question with certainty, we need to know more about what makes you unique. And, discuss other insights about this platform which we have curated, clients interviewed, and discuss more detailed information beyond just this summary.

Please know that our detailed analysis and expertise is available upon request. To be sure, our software analysis is not a “pretty brochure”, “marketing noise.” or a “sales pitch.”

Rather, we provide a free objective dialogue and insights designed to help nonprofit executives make a smarter software business decision.

If you are interested in some help with reviewing your options and comparisons, please check out our “vendor matching” services here.

Want More AMS Membership Software Reviews?

Please stay tuned to our ongoing “Searching for A Smart AMS Software” where we will continue to provide further insights into membership database software options designed for our 501(c) 6 membership focused organizations.

For the most recent published reviews, please click below:

And, to obtain a sample list of the database software reviews we have, you may follow the link here 

If you work for an AMS database software system and you would like us to include your firm in our software review process, please contact us.

Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind. Happy Software Buying!

Membership Software Advice


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