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When Should You Break-Up With Your Membership Software

Updated: Jun 17, 2021

What No One tells you about breaking up with your Membership Software for nonprofits

With Valentine Day drawing near, I stumbled upon an oldie but goodie, “The Break-UP”. If you are not familiar with the movie,  The Break-up , it stars Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston. And, after thinking about it, the movie sparked my thoughts about the importance of expectations & why organizations move on to another software solution.

Let me explain. As in most situations, it’s not just one incident which causes a tipping point, but rather ongoing poor communication, mishaps, and lack of trust which produces the termination of a relationship (personal or business). Hence, the connection to the movie, The Break-up. The central theme of this movie is that Jennifer Aniston’s character has had it. She is done. 

It’s apparent that she viewed her relationship differently than her partners. To say it mildly, her expectations were a little higher than her partners. And, as the movie goes, they both wanted different things.

Questions to Ask Before Breaking Up

Take a moment and think about the last time you were fed up with your existing software and were ready to drop kick the software out the office door. What led you to the break-up? Were you made as hell? 

Each organization is unique. And, despite being a nonprofit, there are different people and processes in each organization. Here are several questions to contemplate as you mull this over a bit:

  1. Is your situation due to the software? Service Provider? Or, Combo?

  2. Are your expectations of the software justified?

  3. Is my staff trained adequately on the software we have now?

  4. Is the problem our processes?

  5. How up to date is the software?

  6. Did you have a “Go-To” point person when things went wrong?

  7. Are you repeating a pattern of bad technology decisions? If so, Why?

Membership Software for Nonprofits is not perfect!

Let’s face it. Membership Software for nonprofits is not perfect. What tends to exacerbate matters worse is not being able to get the problem resolved which ultimately leads us down the path of discontent and ultimately to the break-up. At SmartThoughts, we specialize in helping organizations with system evaluations and system assessments. More often than not, the prevailing reason given by organizations for failure is the software.

Why Organizations Drop Kick their Membership Software 

When in reality after assessing the situation, it’s usually a combination of many factors which contribute to the break-up such as the following:

  1. Lack of Executive Support

  2. Outdated technology

  3. Lack of training

  4. Faulty business processes which have caused unnecessary changes to the software

  5. Staff Changes

  6. Poor Technical support

Certainly, no one wakes up and yells at the top of their lungs with excitement, “Awesome, we get to implement a new membership software for my nonprofit”. Usually, there are valid reasons (including the above) why an organization needs to move on and select a new software program. But, before you go down that path, we advise our clients to take the time to truly assess your situation before you dust off your last RFP to send out again (which is always a bad bad idea).

Many clients have invested over 10 years in their current membership software for nonprofits, and devoted countless hours to making the program work like a fine oiled machine. In short, first attempt to find some common ground rather grounds for terminating your current software investment.

A break-up may not be warranted. Your success may be impeded by something easily corrected such as finding the proper support partner, training, or resetting your “Start Button” for expectations.

If you would like to learn more about our approach to helping associations and nonprofits achieve success with technology, please contact us now.

We provide a free document outlining the key questions to ask of a software reference


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