Why “AMS Consortiums” Don’t Work

Why "AMS Consortiums" Don't Work

About once a year I will get a call from an association executive who has partnered with one or more "similar" associations in search of a new AMS. The group of associations believes they can find one AMS to serve all of the members of the group, and by pooling their resources they can get more bang for their buck.

Sadly, I have to inform them that in my 22 years of consulting, I've never once seen this idea work. Here are just a few reasons why:

  1. No matter how similar the organizations are, their needs will be different enough that the system cannot be set up in just one way to allow the groups to manage their data successfully.
  2. Priorities for each association will be different. Some will want more power under membership, while others will want stronger event management, for example.
  3. No one wants to cede control of their database to someone else, even a group they've willingly joined.

These are similar to the reasons why there isn't just one AMS to serve every association in the world. The simple fact is different organizations have different needs, and different products have different strengths and weaknesses.

While most associations do most things in a similar manner, the reality is that most associations also do one or two or more things very differently from most other associations. We're all unique in our own ways, and that's why there isn't a single solution for every association.

As I like to say, "If there was one product that worked best for all associations, I would own it and be very rich."

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