If you have a car that was manufactured in the past ten years and you’ve taken it into the shop, you’ve probably noticed something interesting: One of the first things your mechanic does is plug your car into a handheld computer, to run diagnostic tests. Today’s cars have so many computers on them that in order to diagnose what, if anything, is wrong with your car, you have to plug it into a computer. (I once owned a Jaguar that had, allegedly, 32 distinct computer chips on it!)

While the mechanic may ultimately use some tools that have been around forever (think wrench and pliers), she can’t do her job effectively without that handheld computer.

So why do so many associations continue to use decades-old technology to manage their association’s data? After all, you wouldn’t trust your car to a mechanic who doesn’t have the computer, would you? Yet too many associations continue to give their staff turn-of-the-century tools to manage the organization.

Given the broad array of AMS products available today, and many of them extremely affordable for even the smallest associations, it’s simply malpractice to continue to force your staff to use old tools. If it’s good enough for your auto mechanic, isn’t it good enough for your professional organization?