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If you’re sending more than five RFPs, you’re doing it wrong.
31 March 2016, by , in Executive, No comments

I once heard of an association who had worked with a consultant on selecting a new AMS. The consultant had the association staff sit through a week’s worth of demos from 10 different vendors. TEN vendors! That’s malpractice. There are never going to be ten different vendors that your association would have to so seriously consider that you would need to sit through ten different demos to make a choice.

If you’re searching for a new AMS, and you have more than five vendors on your list to send the RFP, you haven’t done all your homework. In almost all cases, five vendors should be plenty to consider for any association. Yes, the list of AMS vendors is long. But not all vendors are meant for all associations. Some vendors focus solely on small associations, while others focus on very large associations. A simple phone call to each vendor will help you determine that.

However long your list of potential vendors is, before you send the RFP, you should have a phone conversation with each vendor to determine  a potential fit. Most vendors will be very honest with you if you tell them your association size, functional needs, and budget. Vendors don’t want to waste time completing an RFP if they can’t meet your functional or budget needs, and you shouldn’t waste your time reviewing RFPs and sitting through demos of products that don’t fit your needs or budget.

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“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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