Three months ago, Talya started a small dental association in her city in order to give her fellow dental professionals a chance to connect, learn and share resources.
The first month was exciting! Word got around, members were pouring in and she already had enough dues revenue to cover her initial expenses.
However, a month went by and it was time for members to pay for the next month of their membership. That’s when Talya ran into trouble.
Her members and their contact information was stored in an Excel spreadsheet. She added a column where she could indicate who paid for the upcoming month and who hadn’t, and set out to email each individual member to remind them to pay.
Not only did this take up the entire day, but she then spent the next few weeks trying to track down cash payments, accept e-transfers, process mailed checks, and take credit card numbers over the phone.
That was nothing compared to what Talya had to deal with when she realized that her assistant, who also had access to the Excel spreadsheet, had accidentally deleted the entire column where dues were tracked for that month!
Frustrated, Talya spent even more time trying to piece together information to figure out who has paid and who hasn’t. Since some people paid by cash, she even had to make a few embarrassing phone calls, asking members whether or not they think they already paid…
What a nightmare.
Then, a friend told Talya about association management software. What used to take her days, if not weeks to deal with, was now completely automated. More importantly, it was secure and safe from any accidental deletions.
If you run an association, association management software (AMS) is an absolute must-have. It will save you money, time and a lot of headaches.
In this post, let’s take a look at how a good AMS can help make the process of collecting your member dues easy, efficient and headache-free.
Your AMS should have easy email templates in place to make those reminder emails a breeze to send so your members know when to renew. You’ll also be able to customize these templates to fit your needs.
A great member renewal email is personalized, addressing the recipient by name and indicating their exact renewal date and amount due (don’t worry, you can set up your AMS to make these personalizations automatically by pulling information from the contact database).
The email reminder should also make it easy for members to renew by clicking a single button that will take them to the payments page on your website.
The best thing about an AMS is that you can set it up to send these email reminders automatically, so you don’t have to lift a finger or keep track of who needs to be reminded.
Many associations choose to set up automatic renewals to cut out even more clicks.
This is a great option for members who know they want to stick around for a long time and don’t want to worry about making payments every single month. Members’ lives can get very busy and membership renewal is probably the last thing on their minds.
Setting up automatic renewals is also great for member retention. When staying a member is so easy that you don’t even have to do anything, why not do so and continue enjoying the benefits? Plus, without automatic renewals, your association will likely lose members who never intended to leave, but simply forgot to pay and then didn’t bother re-joining.
Payment Processing Partnership
The days of mailing checks and paying cash into a lock box are over. These days, if you want dues renewal done easily, you must have a payment processor that works well with your Association Management Software.
Most AMSs should have a preferred payment processing system integrated with them, so members can feel safe and secure about paying their dues online.
You’ll need to keep track of your membership and payment status. Your AMS should have clear, intuitive membership reporting that allows you to easily access the information you need to make decisions regarding budget and membership.
Easy Information Updating
Your AMS should allow your members to log in at any time and update their own information. Not only does this create a better experience for your members, but it also makes things easy for you. You don’t have to chase after them at renewal time to make sure that the email you’re about to send will actually reach them. Plus, the chances that you’ll send something to the wrong address will be much lower.
Deadlines and Status Changes
If your deadline for membership dues lapses and a few members still haven’t paid, your AMS should automatically update member statuses and restrict access to what they can see.
You should also be able to stay in touch with your lapsed members and send them special communications to try and win them back. Some lapsed members never actually meant to leave your membership, but simply forgot to pay, so you’ll want to give them an opportunity to come back by sending a series of reminder emails.
The Bottom Line
Since switching to an AMS, Talya and her dental association have been thriving!
Talya now spends a fraction of the time she used to spend on managing member dues. Instead, she spends her time engaging with members and planning exciting events and opportunities for them.
Her member retention rate has been better than ever, too! Members love how easy it is to update their information, complete payments online and set up automatic payments.
It’s a win-win for everyone!