Be flexible, especially for unusual requests

Be flexible, especially for unusual requests

One of the great benefits of off-the-shelf association management software (AMS) products is that the products are "built for the masses," meaning the functionality that most associations need (e.g., membership, events, committees, etc.) is already built into the system in some form or another.

Because the products are meant to appeal to the broadest array of customers, by definition the more unusual your request, the less likely you are to find that functionality in an off-the-shelf system.

For example, I had a client recently who has a "frequent flyer" program; as their members spend more money with the association, the members earn "bucks" they can use to spend on other association products and services. In my experience, this is not a common practice among associations, and therefore not functionality commonly found in AMS products.

The good news is that some AMS vendors had functionality close to what was required that would help address the need, and other vendors could build processes that would address the need. But none of them have a "frequent flyer" program as base functionality.

So as you are considering off-the-shelf systems, keep in mind that the more unusual your request is, the less likely you are to find that as base functionality. And be open to finding alternative ways to address your need. Flexibility is key!

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