If an association management system (AMS) is on your radar (or even just in the back of your head for now), the next big question then is when: when should you start looking for association management software and when exactly should you pull the trigger?

Well, as with most things, the sooner you can start the better. But with software, in particular, it all depends on when you’ll need it.

When shopping for an association management system, think about when you’ll need the system up and running the most. When’s your busy season? Will you need it for dues renewals in January? Or what about for your big annual trade show in the fall? Use those big events as your starting point…then work backwards.

Most AMS implementations take about 60 – 90 days. So what that means is…

  • If you need an AMS up and running in January for dues renewal season, you need to make that purchase in September. (4 months)
  • If you need an AMS to be up and running in October for your annual trade show, you need to make that purchase in July. (3 months)
  • If you need an AMS to be up and running in April for your spring conference, you need to make that purchase in January. (3 months)

Why four months in the first example and three months in the other two? Well, you have to factor in AMS providers’ busy months as well. Many people buy association management software in Q3 and Q4, meaning it might take a little longer to get systems up and running. That’s definitely something you’ll want to factor into your AMS shopping process. (You absolutely want to be “on the side of time.”)

And speaking of time, that’s really what this all boils down to: Giving yourself enough time to get implemented and trained on the software before actually needing to be on your A++ game. (Dues renewal season is no time to try and learn the ins and outs of a new system.)

Thinking it might be time to start shopping for an AMS? Allow us to help! Check out our free buyer’s guide to selecting the right AMS for your association below!