Thinking of purchasing an association management system in 2018? How can you be sure you land on not only the right system, but the right provider?

There’s SO much to take into consideration: software features, efficiencies, company experience and reliability, future developments, etc. To keep track of it all – and make sure you don’t leave any stone unturned – here’s a checklist of questions you need to ask when going through the AMS 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?
  • Is the software a good fit for your business model? Organizations have unique needs. What works great for one doesn’t always work for another. Be sure the software solution meets the needs of your organization based on your business model.
  • 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’s flexible and that can grow as your organization grows.


  • Is the software “all-in-one?” Are additional systems still required? Will you be able to get away from keeping data in multiple places?
  • If the software is all-in-one, 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 help you 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.

Company experience and reliability

  • Does the software provider work with other organizations in your industry? Make sure the company understands your business and unique needs.
  • Has the company been in business for more than 5 years? Being around for a few years is a good indication that they are healthy, stable, and satisfying the needs of their clients. Recently formed companies may lack the experience, standard operating procedures, or staff to provide the level of service your company requires.
  • 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 own data? Ensure that you have complete control over and access to your data.

Future developments

  • Does the vendor offer partnerships or integrations with other companies? Integrations offer more possibilities to expand efficiencies and member benefits. Even if you don’t need them today, you may want to utilize them in the future.
  • Does the vendor 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 themselves is important.
  • Does the company regularly update the program in response to customer feedback? Without constant feedback and upgrades, even the best software can become stagnant. Make sure your software provider has a clear process for customer feedback and regularly acts on that feedback with frequent software updates.

Now this is just a baseline of questions you need to ask when shopping for an association management system. For a full list of questions (and the ability to do a side-by-side comparison of vendors), check out our free AMS Checklist below!