I often hear from association executives (particularly from very small associations, e.g., under five staff) that they can’t afford to buy an off-the-shelf association management system (AMS). Thus they will continue to use with a homegrown Access system or a bunch of separate Excel lists and Outlook distribution lists, and suffer the consequences of the weaknesses of such an approach.

But with the advent of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product pricing, even smaller associations can afford to buy really robust AMS software.

Obviously, “affordability” is relative and in the eye of the beholder. But I would strongly argue that if your organization cannot afford several hundred dollars per month (for SaaS fees) for access to a database specifically designed to manage membership and related processes, then you have bigger issues than database management.

So which packages am I talking about? While this list is not exhaustive, I would include the following, in alpha order:

  • Association Management Online
  • Avectra
  • Computility
  • Internet4Associations
  • Memberclicks
  • YourMembership

I’m sure there are others.

Given the availability of these packages, even with their inherent limitations, I can’t understand why some associations choose to suffer with their current systems rather than upgrading to one of these.

Full disclosure: EDM is an independent third-party consulting firm. This means we have no financial relationship with any of the vendors mentioned in this blog. We provide unbiased opinions on what we see.