There ARE "Affordable" AMS Systems

I often hear from association executives (particularly from very small associations, e.g., under five staff) that they can’t afford to buy an off-the-shelf association management system (AMS). Thus they will continue to use with a homegrown Access system or a bunch of separate Excel lists and Outlook distribution lists, and suffer the consequences of the weaknesses of such an approach.

But with the advent of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product pricing, even smaller associations can afford to buy really robust AMS software.

Obviously, “affordability” is relative and in the eye of the beholder. But I would strongly argue that if your organization cannot afford several hundred dollars per month (for SaaS fees) for access to a database specifically designed to manage membership and related processes, then you have bigger issues than database management.

So which packages am I talking about? While this list is not exhaustive, I would include the following, in alpha order:

  • Association Management Online
  • Avectra
  • Computility
  • Internet4Associations
  • Memberclicks
  • YourMembership

I’m sure there are others.

Given the availability of these packages, even with their inherent limitations, I can’t understand why some associations choose to suffer with their current systems rather than upgrading to one of these.

Full disclosure: EDM is an independent third-party consulting firm. This means we have no financial relationship with any of the vendors mentioned in this blog. We provide unbiased opinions on what we see.

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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