It is important that you select the right membership solution to fit with your business requirements, so what should you look for when selecting a membership management solution? There are many membership solutions on the marketplace; some are much more wide-ranging and technically sophisticated than others. However, membership managers need to be sure that the investment they make is future proof. This means the software you select must be able to develop and adapt as your organisation grows, the members evolve and technology expands.
The specific features that make a sophisticated and quality membership management solution are:
Integrated Communication Tool
In order to meet the needs of a busy membership organisation and connect with your members you need to ensure you manage your member data efficiently by ensuring all communication is maintained, targeted and relevant.
Membership subscription and renewals are fundamental determinants for all membership organisations, therefore to attract new members you first need to understand what motivated your current members to subscribe and renew and utilise this information within your member outreach communication strategy.
Being able to communicate with your members through both traditional and online methods are essential for any membership organisation, enabling you to communicate via:
- Mail merge (both Word and Email) – Direct mail campaigns
- SMS Support – Through an SMS gateway provider
- E-Communications – Powerful, integrated and fully functional email marketing tool
- E-Surveys – Integrated and automated feedback management tool
- Social networking – Interaction with third party social sites
- Instant Messaging
A membership solution will ensure your communication and engagement programme delivers important and relevant personalised interaction with your membership society whilst continuously developing and managing community relationships.
Membership Web Portal
A membership management solution that offers you a fully web based portal will allow your members access to their personal information at any time and from any location. Your members should be able to simply log in using their unique username and password and update/amend/edit their personal information.
Any amendments made by the member will automatically update the system to ensure your record of the member is always accurate. A membership portal which is offered by a membership solution provider will enable each member to access relevant tools and content for each member type, such as blogs/forums/wikis etc encouraging member-to-member interaction and cross interaction between different groups.
A comprehensive membership software solution will ensure relevant information is captured for each individual member account. A comprehensive member web portal should offer a number of modules which include online capabilities such as:
- Account management
- Invoice payment
- Event management
- Forum interaction
- Blogs, wikis, etc
- News and content aggregation
- Member to member communication
Reporting and Analysis
Improving the service you offer your membership base can really only be achieved through the measurement and analysis of the feedback you get from your members. This can be a multifaceted and very time intensive activity and can sometimes get pushed aside as there always seems to be more pressing matters!
Having the ability to understand your membership clusters, such as profiles, geographic breakdown, job title, dashboards and KPIs is crucial. The segmentation of your members and the provision of detailed reporting information will ensure you are able to analyse multi-dimensions of your members such as the who, what, where and why, whilst still ensuring you target each group accurately.
As organisations develop and change, it is vital that the membership software is able to grow with them. In selecting the right membership solution, the reporting functionality within the membership software will make it easy for membership managers to create off the cuff reports and new reports on demand.
Selecting a membership software solution that integrates into your business makes for a more resourceful, efficient and complete internal business solution. Business applications such as Finance and CRM solutions all contain member data that will need to be updated on a regular basis. The finance system will need to process invoices for subscription and renewals and your CRM system will need to be continuously updated with the member’s latest activity. Being able to automate the process of updating internal business applications will make managing your members that much more efficient.
Technically advanced membership software solutions will have the flexible architecture which will allow integration with all other business systems whether it is now or in the future.