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Membership Software

How Much Does Association Management Software Really Cost?

MemberClicks Avatar MemberClicks April 15, 2021
Table of Contents
6 min read

So you’ve decided that you’re ready to take the leap and invest in new association management software (AMS), which is exciting: a whole new world of faster, seamless communication, engaged members, and automated processes is within your reach. 

Right after you sort through your pricing questions, that is.

Software pricing can seem mysterious between how quickly technology can change, the different types of add-ons, and of course, all of the support tiers to consider.

But we’re here to give you a peek behind the veil of association management software pricing with six of the top drivers of a software’s cost. Knowing what to look for in an AMS will help you better understand which system will work best for your organization and gives you the tools you need to talk about and negotiate pricing. 

The 6 things that impact AMS price

Here are the six considerations you need to keep in mind.

1. The AMS Feature

When it comes to any technology, you’ll find they share a lot of the same features. According to the  Buyer’s Guide to Association Management Software Report, some of the basic functions of an AMS include: 

  • Database
  • Website & CMS
  • Dues Management
  • Email Marketing
  • Event Management
  • Financial Management
  • Reporting

Knowing that these are the baseline for the average AMS gives you an idea of what is most likely included in a pricing package. The thing to ask yourself is do you want the ability to customize certain things (types of reports, branding on dashboards, etc.)? Do they have add-ons (are the features mobile-optimized)? Depending on the features your organization needs, you may need to pay more — or you may be able to get a deal if you work with a company that offers multiple packaged solutions, as MemberClicks does.

2. Cost of Support

A big part of why many organizations choose one AMS over another is the level of support they’ll receive. 

When it comes to the type of support you’ll need — and how much you should be prepared to spend — you should ask yourself two questions: What are the support staff and capabilities of the AMS like? And what resources would you like to dedicate to support? 

24/7 support may not be needed by some organizations, but it could be a dealbreaker for others (particularly those who work in multiple time zones or have members internationally). Some organizations have larger staff that can offer some support themselves, or they may have a staff member who’s good with tech. Others find the idea of providing any support beyond basic login help nearly impossible given a lack of time and skills. 

Keep in mind that some providers charge extra for premium support. And there can also be charges related to the implementation of your AMS and customization and migration of your data. 

3. Your Organization’s Size

Not only is your organization’s size important to consider when it comes to the type of support you’re looking for, it can also be one of the deciding factors of the cost of your AMS. Some providers calculate the cost of the AMS based on the number of contacts you have in your database, and others look at the number of full members, so make sure you clarify that distinction when purchasing. 

If your organization’s size isn’t a driving factor in the cost of your AMS, your annual revenue is another common way providers price out their systems. Many providers will choose to ask for a percentage of your annual revenue. 

4. How Many Users You Need

In addition to your organization’s size, the number of seats, or people that have access to your AMS, will be considered in some capacity. Whether you have one, two, or eight people that can run reports, send communications from the AMS, etc. can affect how much you’ll pay for your AMS. 

There can also be different costs related to the different tiers of access your organization would like. Maybe your Executive Director and Communications Manager are the only people you want to have full, administrative access to the AMS with other staff members have limited access. Whatever arrangement you choose will certainly be something you want to talk about with your provider, and it may influence the cost as well. 

5. Hosted vs. On-Premise

“Hosted” is just a fancy way of saying that the system and your data are hosted in the cloud. There is no hardware required, system updates are seamless, and data can be accessed from anywhere. The hosted option usually includes updates as part of the cost, but you’ll most likely pay monthly. 

(PS: All of MemberClicks’ solutions fall into this category, meaning they’re easy for anyone in your organization to access!) 

“On-premise” means that your system and data will be kept at a physical location. Some people choose an on-premise option because it’s often a one-time fee, but you’ll probably have to pay for any updates. It’s also harder to access your data on-the-go for you and increasingly remote teams. 

6. The Cost of Time

It can be hard to measure the cost of time. One of the most telling ways to determine the amount you’re willing to invest in your AMS is thinking about how much time you will have to spend setting it up. After all, technology is only as good as your team’s adoption of that technology. If you don’t have time to implement it, train your team, assign roles, etc., it’s probably worth paying for additional training and support. 

And some systems are a little more user-friendly, so if you’re short on time and resources, that could narrow down your AMS options. 

But the other question that’s just as important to ask yourself when deciding how much to pay for an AMS is how much time the system will end up saving you. We know the costs of association management software can seem overwhelming, so it’s good to remind yourself of all the things you’ll be able to do once your AMS is in place. No more excel sheets. No more cumbersome due collection. No more duplicate data! 

Transparent Pricing from MemberClicks

At MemberClicks, we’re committed to taking the mystery out of the cost of association management systems. To that end, we’ll start with our AMS pricing!

For professional associations, our Oasis platform starts at just under $4000. It’s priced by the number of members you have. At that price, you automatically give up to 300 members access to the core features of our system, such as a membership website, a member database, event registration, and more. If you need additional features, you can add on our learning management system, our job board, or our virtual event management platform for an additional fee. 

If you’re a trade association or chamber, our Atlas platform, which supports company memberships, is for you. Atlas also starts at just under $4000, and we price Atlas to take into account an organization’s annual revenue, so it can be more affordable for smaller organizations. It also offers the same, great features of Oasis including capabilities related to invoicing, communication, website, and more, but has more in-depth financial management capabilities. 

Both Oasis and Atlas offer discounts and various add-ons, so you can customize the AMS to fit your organization’s needs.

Reach Out for All of Your AMS Questions

If you’re looking for an all-in-one system with price points that match the needs and goals of all different types of associations, reach out to us today!

Free Member Retention Guide

Ready to retain members and keep them coming back forever and ever? This guide will teach you everything you need to know about member retention. We cover all the basics, like the first steps to member retention and how to map out your member journey. From there, we dive a bit deeper into retention tips.