There are many reasons you could be ready to invest in an association management software. Or maybe you’re looking to upgrade your current software to one that fits your needs. Maybe you’ve seen spectacular growth recently and need a platform that can handle your expanding needs. Or maybe you’re tired of dealing with disconnected solutions that require you to juggle multiple systems, duplicate tasks and manually transfer data. 

Instead of investing in the first system you come across, it’s important to be strategic in your search to find the right solution for your organization’s unique needs. The good news?? An AMS (Association management software) lets to do all of the things, all in one tool.

Here at MemberClicks, we serve professional associations, trade associations and chambers of commerce to equip them with the tools they need to grow their membership and revenue. We talk with organizations just like yours every day so we know how important it is to find a solution that exceeds your expectations and aligns with your goals and priorities. 

But, we’re not here to talk about us. We want to help you feel confident about what an AMS is, how it can help you and the best software options out there!

Overview of Association Management Software

What Is Membership Management Software?

Membership management software describes platforms that bring all aspects of your membership management together in one integrated system. This means your:

  • member database
  • website
  • dues renewals
  • marketing tools
  • event management
  • learning management system
  • and other management processes

These should all be hosted in one platform.

Associations, mission-based organizations, chambers of commerce and other organizations all use membership management software to engage with their members more effectively and augment their revenue. 

What is Association Management sSoftware?

Association management software (AMS) is a type of membership management software. These solutions are geared toward professional and trade associations with larger budgets and more complex needs. There’s also a support and integration aspect that is higher than you’d get with more basic membership management tools.

The robust tools contained within this software option provide value to members, improve recruitment and retention, and save organizational leaders time and effort from having to jump between multiple systems. 

What are the benefits of using a dedicated association management software?

There are both long and short-term benefits to having a dedicated system.

Long-term it:

  • Saves you money
  • Simplifies data collection and member insights
  • automates repetitive tasks like renewal reminders and dues collection
  • can grow as your association does

Short-term it:

  • Simplifies tasks for your staff
  • Makes the experience of your members smoother

If you want to learn what to consider when choosing membership and association software, click here.

What is the best association management software?

MC Professional

Overview of MC Professional

MC Professional is a powerhouse, all-in-one membership management solution for midsized mission-driven, member-based organizations and chambers. MemberClicks combines user-friendly, yet sophisticated tools to boost membership value and increase revenue with a platform of integrated solutions. 

With MC Professional association leaders can leverage the following features:

  • Membership database: Allows you to track and update member information to build meaningful relationships based on the data you collect over the years. 
  • Online payments: Automate dues renewals and centralize accounting and payment processing to boost retention and provide a better member experience. 
  • Event management: Manage event registration and schedule speakers and other event activities all in one system. 
  • Communication management: Build targeted email campaigns and measure their success.
  • Website creation and management: Choose from nine templates to create a customized, professional website, or integrate their existing site with their new database.
  • Community resources: Empower members to get more involved with your association through discussion forums, a messaging platform and more engaging features. 
  • Reporting and analytics: Generate easy-to-read reports to gain insights on the many aspects of their organization. Going forward, leaders can base decisions on the history and data gathered in these reports. 

Organizational leaders can leverage these features to not only make their jobs easier but improve their members’ experience, too. 

Why Choose MC Professional

The suite of MC Professional features and tools are aimed at enabling association leaders to: 

  • Automate processes that were previously manual to save time and effort.
  • Offer an integrated platform for all association activities.
  • Allow team members to work from anywhere using the cloud-based system. 

Using Mc Professional, smaller and mid-sized professional associations and chambers can eliminate outdated, clunky processes and adopt a streamlined system that acts as a digital assistant. 

Staff members at smaller organizations typically wear many hats and don’t have a ton of extra room on their plate to become software experts. With the MemberClicks system, you don’t need extensive technical expertise to be able to leverage the system effectively. 

MC Trade

Overview of MC Trade

MC Trade is a tailor-made solution for mid-sized to larger trade associations and chambers to drive revenue and expand membership. They’re great to track organization-to-member and member-to-member relationships. If organizations are your members, then MC Trade is built for you!

This solution features similar elements as the MC Professional platform but includes more robust financial and reporting capabilities to accommodate the needs of larger-sized organizations with more complex needs. Features include:

  • Relationship management: Organizations can store and track member and prospect data to increase engagement and convert prospects into long-term members. 
  • Event management: Staff can create high-quality events with a smooth registration process for attendees. 
  • Financial management: This feature allows association leaders to track and report on financial performance in a system that integrates with any existing accounting software. 
  • Reporting: Leaders can quickly access built-in, custom reports for improved insight. 
  • Communications management: Associations can foster improved communication with mass messaging or by sending specific messages to targeted groups. 
  • Website management: Staff members can fully control your website through your centralized software system and access multiple theme options to create a well-designed, professional site. 

These features set MC Trade apart from other association management software options.

Why Choose Mc Trade

If your organization requires a more comprehensive solution for financial analysis and reporting, the MC Trade system can facilitate this process. You can manage, track and report on your finances in an extensive system that also integrates with your current accounting software. 

Built-in and custom reports provide the data overviews needed to be confident with decisions and strategies. You can quantify membership value and build out a report library to reference at any point in time. 

Organizations turn to MC Trade because it can:

  • Foster complex relationships through promoting and tracking member relationships, helping attract and retain members and boost revenue.
  • Give performance insight through highly configurable financial and data capabilities. 
  • Organize all mission-related activities in an all-in-one solution. 

The features of this system give association leaders the flexibility to adapt their data to changing needs and empower them to get to know their members on a deeper level. This is the perfect solution tailor-made to help organizations boost membership and expand all forms of revenue, from member dues to event ticketing and more. 

Overall, with almost 25 years of experience in the industry, MemberClicks offers the knowledge background and support to help organizations of all sizes thrive and make the most of their membership management software.

Other Top Association Management Software Vendors

Wild Apricot

Wild Apricot is another top provider of association management software. Over 7,000 associations turn to this solution for member management and plenty of other solutions, including:

  • A drag-and-drop website builder to create a well-designed, mobile-friendly website to attract new members and engage current ones. 
  • Fast and secure online payment processing to provide a streamlined experience for administrators and members. 
  • Event management features to plan successful events and facilitate registration. 
  • A mobile app for members and administrators to engage communities on the go.
  • A built-in online store to add an additional revenue stream.

Visit their website for example websites and themes, explore free webinars, and sign up for a 30-day free trial.

Personify360

Personify360 is the leading AMS for the largest associations, health and wellness organizations and charities in the United States. 

With a robust constituent management solution, Personify360 customers can:

  • Manage constituents with a 360 member view that adapts to membership structure.
  • Conduct e-business to drive multiple revenue streams. 
  • Leverage online event tools to engage attendees in virtual, in-person, and hybrid events.
  • Enhance member experience with forums, groups, and multimedia elements. 

Personify offers scalable solutions that work with organizations at every level to drive engagement and revenue. By investing in their software, associations also gain access to a client community to share practices and connect with other similar organizations. 

Head to the Personify website to view all their products and virtual tools.

123SignUp

123SignUp offers association and event management software for professional, trade and healthcare associations, plus clubs, societies, educational institutions, and association management companies (AMCs).

Their platform facilitates tiered membership management to personalize the member experience. It also has event management software to handle all aspects of event planning. 

123SignUp is a great option for alumni groups, faith-based organizations, military and veteran groups, nonprofits, and special interest clubs.

iMIS

iMIS is a nonprofit, association and membership software solution with a history of assisting clients of all sizes and organization types. iMIS provides solutions for well-known organizations such as the Country Music Association, The Guide Dog Foundation, The Canadian Bar Association and many more. 

Organizations turn to this software option for its cloud-based tools powered by Microsoft Azure, the world’s leading cloud computing platform. iMIS also offers a web development platform to manage e-commerce pages, provide a staff interface, and extend your system with third-party or custom-built apps. 

MemberLeap

MemberLeap offers basic member management services to track member interactions, foster member collaboration and engagement, and plan events. 

Associations appreciate this software option for its QuickBooks Interface that can be used to create invoices for members and manage payment transactions. Organizations can also create a mobile app to give members access to a variety of actions, from submitting calendar events and registering for events to sharing photos and messaging fellow members. 

GrowthZone

GrowthZone offers basic membership software designed for association professionals. Their tools include streamlined payment processing, custom website design and onboarding services to get clients quickly up-to-speed with the system. 

GrowthZone’s marketing automation module helps improve outreach with automated email campaigns, prospect marketing and a drag-and-drop email designer. Organizations that turn to this solution run the gamut — real estate associations, agricultural groups, chambers of commerce, and many other organization types use this system. 

memberplanet

memberplanet offers multi-chapter association management. This grants individual chapters access to a full suite of engagement tools and allows association headquarters to manage the entire organization. 

Through this structure,  organizations can share financial information transparently, maintain brand consistency, and manage the larger group with one system. Check out their website for a host of other software tools available such as constituent surveys, group text and email tools, and mobile optimizations. 

Raklet

Raklet is an all-in-one platform for member management, marketing, and event planning. Nonprofits also use this system for organizing fundraising campaigns and collecting donations. 

Raklet offers a plethora of apps and integrations that organizations can use to more successfully manage their operations, with everything from the messaging platform Slack to social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. They also offer software tools for individuals such as podcasters, yoga studio owners, educators, and more.

SilkStart

SilkStart is a comprehensive, yet simple-to-use nonprofit and association management software option. Organizations turn to this option for its broad range of features, including but not limited to a member interface, job board, donation platform and multi-chapter services.

Through their MemConnect service, groups can simplify member engagement through centralized messaging forums that facilitate collaboration. Organizations can even designate trusted members to moderate content, taking the responsibility off of busy staff members.

StarChapter

StarChapter helps chapter leaders overcome challenges such as low member participation and declining overall membership with an all-in-one AMS.

Volunteer board members, association professionals, and chapter relations professionals all rely on StarChapter to grow membership. This system facilitates improved communications, better events, and more effective management practices. Additionally, clients value this provider for its extensive onboarding and training processes that gets software users quickly in the know of best practices. 

Tendenci

Tendenci offers open-source association management software, meaning organizations can freely customize the system to suit their needs. Associations and nonprofits use this solution to manage donations, membership information, newsletters and other marketing content, website updates, and more. 

Organizations looking for a 100% customizable framework appreciate this solution for its flexibility and affordability.

NimbleAMS

Nimble AMS is a membership management system built on Salesforce, the #1 customer relationship management (CRM) system in the world. Association leaders using Nimble AMS can track lifelong member relationships, automate workflows, and analyze key trends using powerful dashboards.

Additionally, their user community platform, Nimble Communities, helps drive connections among members. An additional suite of free tools assists with creating personalized content, configuring integrations, and examining data.

Aptify

Aptify offers membership software for large organizations. Associations, labor unions, and international organizations use this flexible, configurable platform to engage members and streamline processes. 

Aptify is completely cloud-based, meaning users can access the software via any browser. They also offer a free administrator mobile app for association staff members to work directly on their phones, send updates to team members, access all membership data, and more. 

Novi AMS

Novi AMS is an association management software solution that integrates with QuickBooks. This means that all data logged in the AMS is seamlessly transferred to an online QuickBooks account for easier bookkeeping practices. 

Novi AMS was created by a team of association insiders with the needs of associations at the forefront. Associations of all sizes use this solution to add efficiency to operations and save time through the QuickBooks integration. 

Doubleknot

Doubleknot offers integrated digital solutions for cultural organizations and nonprofits.

Organizations such as Boy Scout and Girl Scout Councils, zoos and aquariums, nature centers and botanical gardens, children’s museums, science centers, and other museums use Doubleknot to handle management processes. These processes include admissions and visitor services, POS and mobile sales, customer relationship management, fundraising, and more. Doubleknot also offers implementation and ongoing support services. 

YourMembership

YourMembership is a membership software option for small-staff associations. Along with membership management solutions, associations can offer learning and career center solutions to members.

Organizations can also create a custom website to connect with members and create a mobile event app to engage attendees in event content. 

Almabase

Almabase is a comprehensive software solution for alumni association management. This solution integrates with top CRM providers such as Blackbaud, Ellucian, and Salesforce to facilitate seamless data transfers and augment existing systems.

Alumni association programs at schools and universities across the country use this system to conduct better fundraising, manage alumni relationships, and plan events. Further, larger organizations can empower individual affinity groups such as chapters, class groups, and other subdivisions to run their own events and fundraising campaigns.

in1touch

in1touch is a software platform for associations and regulatory organizations such as licensing, accrediting, or certifying bodies. 

Associations can use the in1touchTD product to manage member data, plan events of all sizes and types, send personalized communications, and facilitate continuing education.  Organizations can also create and send member surveys to manage voting and elections. Meanwhile, regulators use the in1touchRE product to manage licensing, documents, standardized testing, and other necessary functions.

Euclid’s ClearVantage

Euclid’s ClearVantage is an AMS product for associations of all types and sizes. It empowers association leaders to manage processes on almost any device, from a desktop computer to a smartphone or tablet. 

Organizations invest in this solution for its user-friendliness, customer service, and ongoing support. Additionally, administrators can integrate their AMS with their website and other third-party services with Euclid’s powerful API.


Now that we’ve covered the “who” of membership software, let’s jump to the “how” of choosing one.

How to choose the right association management software

Considering the wide range of tech solutions available on the market today, your software search might initially feel overwhelming. As you start your exploratory stage, break the process down into smaller steps, starting with:

Who To Involve

When organizations begin investigating new technology, stakeholders emerge, all with their own opinions. You should form a team of key stakeholders to manage the search to make sure you don’t have too many competing voices involved in the process.

Choose staff members who will regularly use the software and those who use it for more specific features (such as your events manager, for example). Your software is meant to make life easier for these team members, so their opinions should carry significant weight throughout this process. You should also loop in key leaders within your organization — board of directors, leaders, etc.

Once you’ve got your team in place, it’s time to start your research.

Features To Look For

Have your team create a list of “must-have” and “would-like-to-have” features for your new membership management system. Ask questions like:

  • What problems are you running into with your current system?
  • What would you love your new software to do?
  • Where can you be flexible?
  • What is nonnegotiable?

Regardless of your organization’s ultimate needs, there are a few key association management software features that you should look out for. As you search, look for options that provide these top seven features: 

1. Member Data Management

Your members are the heart and soul of your organization, so you need a system that can manage member data and empower members to create and update their profiles. 

Look for a solution that can track basic member characteristics such as names and contact information as well as custom attributes like member locations, interests, and other specific traits based on your needs.

2. Website & CMS

Your website is a vital tool for engaging with current and prospective members, distributing important updates, collecting payments, and more. P

To help manage each of these website aspects, a content management system (CMS) is a necessary feature to look for as part of your association management software. You’ll be able to make real-time edits to your site to keep your content fresh and avoid having to rely on (and pay for) an external webmaster or IT provider.

3. Tiered Dues Management 

Association members enjoy the flexibility of being able to choose their level of engagement with your organization. Make sure your AMS offers flexible, tiered membership options. Your system should be able to assign different benefits to different membership levels and track each member’s use of those benefits.

4. Email Marketing

Effective marketing for your association doesn’t just involve your website — email is a crucial engagement tool to keep in touch with your members and promote your upcoming events, learning opportunities, and more. 

Find a software system that will allow you to send personalized emails to members, segment members based on shared characteristics, send automated messages such as event reminders, dues reminders, and anything else you need to communicate with your entire membership base.

5. Event Management 

It’s important to have a centralized event planning system to support any type of event you want to host going forward. Look for a system that can handle online event registrations, digital payment processing, form building, promotions and discounts, automated reminder messages, and sponsor visibility. 

6. Financial Management

Organizing your financial data and documentation is an essential part of keeping your organization afloat. You’ll want to look for a membership management system that integrates with your existing accounting system and one that is payment card industry (PCI) compliant. PCI compliance means they’ve taken the steps to ensure that members’ credit card information remains secure and protected throughout any card processing transactions.

7. Reporting

Finally, having access to detailed, accurate reports is a critical component of creating a data-driven strategy for your organization. Look for a system that allows you to configure reports and create customized overviews of different aspects of your organization. This will give you more confidence that your recruitment and retention efforts are going in the right direction.

Questions to Ask Your Association Software Provider

Too often, association professionals get caught up in features only when shopping for an AMS. While features are important, there’s more to it than that. You want to make sure you invest in a comprehensive solution —  with both the software and provider aligning with your organization’s needs.

To ensure you do land on the right software and provider, here’s a list of questions you must ask their sales team or discover on their website during the shopping process:

  • Does the software offer all of the primary features your organization needs to be successful? Think about your must-haves. Does the system offer the capabilities that matter to you most?
  • Does the software pay for itself? The system should ultimately add to your bottom line. How does the vendor help you get a return on your investment?
  • Is the system flexible and configurable? Invest in a system that can grow as your organization grows.
  • Is the software “all-in-one? And how well do the components work together? Automation is key! Components should talk to each other and update automatically so you don’t have to constantly import and export data. This will save time and ensure your data is accurate.
  • Will you be able to save time with the new system? Your software should reduce the time it takes to complete your regular tasks.
  • Can the software be used outside the office? It’s critical to have the flexibility to work with data anywhere in today’s mobile-centric world
  • Does the software provider work with other organizations in your industry? Make sure the company understands your business and unique needs.
  • Does the company have a high customer retention rate? Find out if the company is keeping their clients satisfied. Start by searching online reviews to see the kind of service levels they provide.
  • Will you continue to own all of your data? Ensure that you have complete control over and access to your data.
  • Do they offer additional product packages with more advanced features? It’s important to consider if you might quickly outgrow the system or if the solution has additional offerings designed to grow with you.
  • Does the software offer frequent updates at no additional cost to you? In a world that’s always evolving, picking a provider that is forward-thinking and evolving is important.

This is a big list. But it’s packed-full of the most important questions you can ask as you vet vendors and software. As you ask, you’ll likely discover that some choices stand out above the rest.

Making your AMS choice

Which association management software is right for you? 

Ultimately that’s the question you need to answer. There’s a long list of AMS providers out there, but probably one really great fit for you. 

Reference your “must-have” and would-like-to-have” feature lists throughout your shopping process to make sure you pick the best option before you invest — and review this checklist to guide you through a detailed assessment for each AMS option. 

Don’t forget to check out reviews on sites like Capterra and Google reviews. These sites allow customers to describe and rate each system in their own words, giving their honest opinions. Make sure you go through the entire range of reviews, from 1 star to 5 stars, to get a full picture of each option.

Then, when it comes to investing in your chosen system, you’ll first need to secure buy-in from your organization’s board.

Bonus: How to get your board on board with an association management system

Let’s say you’ve found an association management system you like, but now the hurdle is getting your board on board with that purchase. They’re not yet convinced you need a new AMS, and even if they do understand that, they’re wary of the providers (and prices) you’re bringing to the table.

How can you convince them otherwise and get them genuinely excited about this upgrade for your association? Check out our free ebook guide to get started.

Additional Resources 

As you finalize your choices, you may be looking for even more information to help boost your confidence in your final AMS decision. If that’s the case, check out these additional resources for guidance:

We hope this guide has helped you select the membership management solution that’s perfect for your organization. Feel free to reach out at any time if you’d like more information about MemberClicks!