When I help associations seek out and select new association management systems, one of the first questions I ask them is: “What’s your relationship like with your current AMS vendor?” (Assuming they are using a vendor.)
Too often the response is something along the lines of “We don’t talk to our vendor except when there is an emergency.”
This is a dangerous arrangement, and in most cases will lead to disappointment and ultimately abandonment of the current system.
As I’ve written before, when an association buys a new AMS, it’s not buying a product; it’s entering into a relationship much like a marriage. It’s a relationship that requires continual nurturing (much like a marriage), lest the relationship goes bad.
In order to nurture the relationship with your vendor, you need to look at them not only when you have an emergency, but when times are good, too. When was the last time you spoke with your vendor when it wasn’t a complaint or an emergency?
“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”
“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”
Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan
“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”
Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance