Shopping for any kind of technology is stressful, but when it’s a small-staff association pro looking for an association management system, things can get extra crazy. There are SO many moving parts. Where do you even begin?!

We’ve taken that crazy process and broken it down into five simple steps. Consider these the five steps to selecting the right AMS:

Step 1: Create a Team

You know what they say, teamwork makes the dream work, and that’s particularly true in the case of evaluating association management software. In order to land on the right AMS for your association, you need a well-rounded team of staff members and/or volunteers to manage the search internally. Your team should consist of people who will be using the software regularly and for a variety of purposes, at that. 

Step 2: Identify Key Requirements 

The only thing worse than managing your association manually is selecting software that only causes you more headaches. That’s why identifying key requirements upfront is crucial

Use your existing system as a starting place. What processes are you using now that need to be replicated? What features need to be improved upon or added altogether? Consider dues renewal, event management and registration, membership management and reporting, internal communications, your website, and payment processing.

Step 3: Research Options 

Once you have your list of requirements laid out, it’s time to start researching various providers to see how they stack up. You may already have a few AMS providers in mind, but if not, you can always find possible contenders by asking around, running a Google search, and checking out software directories.

Step 4: Contact Vendors

Once you’ve identified a list of possible candidates, it’s time to reach out to them and request a demo. This will give you a better idea of how the software will work with your association and, better yet, how some of your current issues can be resolved.

Note: In order to make the most out of your demo, make sure to have the right people involved upfront. This will prevent your team (and the software provider) from having to go through multiple rounds of the same demo. 

Step 5: Make a Selection

Time for all that hard work to pay off! If you’ve landed on an AMS provider, give them a call and get started on your path to improved communications and problem solving!

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t panic. There are still a few things you can do to help narrow down the selection. Try reviewing customer testimonials, checking out discussion forums, and reviewing third-party sites.

Still need help with your AMS selection? Check out our free buyer’s guide below!