What Associations Think About Their AMS

Because of the type of consulting I do, I’m talking to associations daily that are having trouble with their database. After all, when they call me, they’re either looking to switch to a new system, or they want help to improve how they are using their current system. So very often, all I hear from associations is how bad things are with their database.

I wanted to get a sense of how associations really feel about their AMS systems. I knew how my clients felt, but how does the broader market feel?

So I conducted a non-scientific survey of association executives, asking for their opinion of their AMS. I received 183 responses, covering 27 different off-the-shelf AMS products, as well as custom built systems. I found the results very interesting.

The first question I asked was:

  • On a scale of 0 – 100, with 0 being: “awful”, 50 being: “OK”, and 100 being: “Perfect”, how would you rate your current system in terms of its effectiveness and meeting your organization’s needs?

The results:

Mean = 56
Median = 57
Mode = 50

Based on these results, the‚”average‚” association finds their AMS software to be just above merely OK when it comes to software meeting the association’s needs. In fact, the most common answer (mode) to this question was 50, or OK. Not good, not great, just OK.

The second question I asked was:

  • On a scale of 0 – 100, with 0 being: “definitely not‚ “50 being: “neutral”, and 100 being: “definitely would”, assuming the system could meet their needs, would you recommend your system to another association?

The results:

Mean = 59
Median = 65
Mode = 50

So when an association executive is asked if they would recommend their product to others, assuming it could meet their needs, the‚ “average‚” association rated this just above neutral, meaning they would recommend it, but not very strongly. But oddly enough, the mean and median of this question are higher than the first question. In other words, associations aren’t terribly pleased with their AMS software, but they are likely to recommend it to their colleagues.

So what does this all mean?

  1. Associations need to work harder to make their systems work better for them. The AMS is at the heart of the association’s operations. If most staff view the AMS as just OK, do you really think they’re getting the most out of that system and providing the best possible member experience? I’d guess it’s not likely.
  2. The vendors who provide these systems need to up their game. They need to be more engaged with their customers to better determine what needs to change in their product that would move the needle from just OK to closer to perfect (while acknowledging that perfect is unattainable).

Where does your association rank? Is your AMS just OK, is it performing really well, or is it underperforming? And if things aren’t better than just OK, what can you do to change that?

Here are a couple of white papers that will help you focus on improving data management within your organization:
9 Keys To Long-Term Success
AMS Checklist

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