"Can't you just tell me which shovel is best?"

When I work with clients on selecting a new AMS, it’s not uncommon for me to hear some variation of the following question: “Can’t you just tell us which AMS is the best one?” I’ll often hear something along these lines, too: “I think I could design the perfect AMS that every association would use. It’s so obvious.”

If you search for “shovel” on Amazon, you’ll receive over 400 results. Why? Because there are different shovels for different needs, and no single shovel can serve every need. Assuming that one AMS could be designed for use by all associations is akin to saying you could design one shovel for everyone’s shoveling needs. It’s just not going to happen.

So the proper way to look at this is to ask: “What functionality do I need from my AMS?” and “Which AMSes come closest to addressing those functions?” Of course, you also have to ask “How much am I willing to spend on this solution?”

So don’t fool yourself into thinking there is one AMS out there that will serve all associations’ needs. It’s quite possible there isn’t even one to serve all of YOUR association’s needs! You might find that 80% is good enough!

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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