Apparently, a lot of associations feel this way. In Marketing General’s recently released 2011 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report (available here), associations were asked “What is your organization’s single biggest challenge to growing membership?” 8% of the association surveyed responded “inadequate association management database.”
Two other high responses were “insufficient budget” (12%) and “insufficient staff” (16%). Interestingly, a well-chosen and well-implmemented AMS could be used to augment small budgets (by providing more effective and efficient marketing communications) and insufficient staff (by automating existing manual processes).
As it happens, I know a guy who is really good at helping associations successfully select and implement new data management systems.