The work never stops for small staff associations and chambers. While you’ve heard about membership software, can it really take all that work and simplify it? We’re here to help you see if it’s time to invest in small staff membership software and to give you the tricks to finding the best software for your specific needs.
First things first: What is membership software?
When you start looking at tech for your association, you may not fully understand what membership software is. Well, don’t feel bad! There are so many options and types of membership software that it’s very easy to feel confused.
On a very basic level, membership software is a type of technology, usually on a computer, that helps you (or organizations like the one you work for) keep their membership info organized. It’s like a really updated version of an address book.
Membership software does things like:
- Collect and store member into (like names, addresses, emails, contact info, etc.) organized
- Give you the ability to send emails and contact members
- Track historical data like join date, renew date, payment info, communication preferences, etc.
- Build membership website pages and forms
- Allow for online payment of dues
When is your small staff ready for software?
When you are a small staff and you’re just getting ready to really grow your membership base, it can be hard to know when to take that step. Making do with spreadsheets, word docs, custom email lists and Google folders can only take you so far. If you think you might be ready to upgrade to an association management software (AMS) ask yourself these questions:
- Are you ready to scale up your member emails and make them extra personal?
- Do you want to offer more member benefits like events, maybe an online community or even a job board?
- Are tasks like dues reminders and payment collection eating up a lot of your time?
- Do you find yourself wondering “how do I organize this”?
- Are you curious about member data and how you can collect it?
- Would you love to recognize trends in your members habits?
If you answered “yes!” to any of these, then it’s time to start investigating an AMS.
AMS for smaller staffs
Believe it or not, but there is software out there created specifically for growing associations and chambers like yours. These software options are focused around empowering you to do more, focus on adding efficiency into the repetitive tasks that take up most of your time and should be priced out to be budget friendly.
What to look for
Now that you know you may need to invest in software, here’s what you should look for to get the best software specifically for smaller staffs.
This should be #1 on your list. How user-friendly is it? Is it easy to learn? Will you, or your staff, enjoy using the software? And, on top of all this, what is this software like for your members? An AMS often includes a membership website, payment system, forms and surveys. What do these look like from a member-facing perspective? Are they easy to read and use?
Small staff associations don’t always have the biggest budgets. But that doesn’t mean you should compromise on software. You should look for software with bundle pricing or pricing built for different associations on size. This way, you can grow with them as you do.
If you’re going to invest in a membership software, you want it to help you do all the things you do. Ideally, you want your software to:
- Help you build a website (or connect to your current one)
- Automate emails and regular communications
- Allow for online payments
- Collect member data via forms
- Create reports and track member data
- Be secure and safe
When you’re demoing and previewing different software, make a list of all the tasks you’d like to simplify and ask the salesperson if the software can help you with that!
When investing in software, the last thing you need is for it to be a make-work upgrade. Choosing a provider that gives you that extra level of support for problem solving, onboarding, data uploading and setting up your system is a huge help. In these demo meetings, make sure you ask about what type of support they offer.
Investing in membership software is a great sign you’re ready to grow. So, why not pick a software that can grow with you?
MemberClicks, for example, is a part of the Personify suite of products. So, as associations grow, they can add on other products to help expand their member benefits. Online communities, event management, job boards and an LMS can really expand what you can do for your members. Not having to change your software is a huge help with this.
Top small staff membership software options
Now you know that your small staff needs membership software and you know what to look for in it, here’s our top options for small staff tech to get your search started.
MemberClicks has two software options: MC Professional and MC Trade. Chambers of commerce and trade associations can find a great fit in MC Trade while professional and individual-member associations can utilize the functions of MC Professional.
Memberclicks was built for small staffs and was designed to streamline the most taxing daily tasks. Our team would love to hear about your association goals and see if we can help you do everything you’ve dreamed of.
- Built for small – mid-staff organizations.
- Founded in 1998.
- Joined the PersoniFam in 2020.
- 4.4 stars with 449 reviews on Capterra.
- Trusted by thousands of associations and chambers (many with small staffs like yours!)
Also a part of the Personify suite of software products, WildApricot has a reputation for supporting volunteer-based and non-profit organizations. WildApricot is available as a free trial and really lets you get a feel for the software first.
- Perfect for non-profits and volunteer organizations
- Founded in 2001
- Joined the PersoniFam in 2017
- 4.5 stars with 519 reviews on Capterra.
Getting started with membership software
So, you’re ready to begin the journey of demoing and seeking out the best membership software for you. But what’s next? We’ve got some resources to keep your search going.
- Bringing up AMS to your board? Build the perfect agenda.
- Get a deeper understanding of what an AMS really is.
- Going online can mean cyber security concerns. Learn more about this important topic.