New Year, New Beginnings.
With Jan 1st out of the way, Membership Managers the world over can take a collective sigh of relief as we turn our attention to the new year.
Now that we’re no longer drowning in the work of driving and processing member renewals, we’ve got a fantastic opportunity to think about our membership strategies, and find ways to improve them. Last years successes and failures will help us find out what worked and what didn’t, and with renewal season over, we can focus on addressing inefficiencies to make this year more successful (and easier!) than last.
In the spirit of the new year, lets take a look at 2018 and see what we can learn to get the most out of 2019!
Out with the Old.
Applications take forever when you’re not using some form of Membership Management Software (MMS), because you’ve got to perform so many tasks manually.
The process of gathering form data, creating contacts, processing payments, managing membership benefits, directories, etc. is time consuming. You’ve got to pass information through a labyrinth of services and software for every one!
The 15 minutes it takes to accept a member may seem trivial, but multiply it by the number of applications you got last year. What would you do with that time, if you could devote it to a more meaningful project this year?
The story is same for membership renewals. From your first email reminder, through to successful renewal – how much time do you imagine it takes you (on average) to process one? Multiply that time by the number of 2018’s renewals.
With MMS, you’re empowered to invest this time where it matters by automating your applications, renewals, and more.
In With the New.
MMS eliminates the need to manually handle common, time-consuming work like applications and renewals. Software frees you from the need to handle processing, gets the work done faster, and allows you to confidently focus on more important work.
If you don’t already use one, finding an MMS could be one of the best decisions you make for your organization this year. Find the one that best suits your needs, and the benefit of saved time alone are often worth the investment, making the positive impact it has on the rest of your work all the more enjoyable!
Now is the time to find Membership Management Software.
With the onset of 2019, now is the time to be thinking about MMS.
For most member-based organizations, renewal season over, and we’ve got the most time we’re likely to have all year to devote to finding an MMS, and learning to use it.
A new year also means a new budget is available. We can approach this task with clear expectations regarding our ability to invest in new software and processes.
Despite this, it can be difficult to know where to start. You’ve got complex processes, and the prospect of finding software that’s compatible with them can be intimidating. A single search for ‘Membership Management Software’ reveals a huge selection of available options, and it’s easy to feel lost in them.
That’s why we’re here to give you a few tips that can help see you through it.
How to Find MMS (Without Going Crazy)
Member365 is an MMS, but we don’t presume to be right for everybody. Every organization has different needs, and every MMS is designed differently. Finding the software that works best for you is a matter of evaluating what’s out there, and finding the one for you.
1. WRITE down your needs. (Including Pricing!)
If you don’t know what you’re looking for – you’ll never find it!
Thats why documenting your needs, and budget, is such a helpful technique to finding the right MMS.
Jot down a short list of your top 3 needs from an MMS, and a rough budget. Don’t worry about being comprehensive. Allow and expect yourself to modify this list as you search, so you can refine it as you learn more about what’s available.
Most, but not all, MMS providers charge a monthly fee as well as a one-time onboarding fee. Consider both of these when documenting your budget!
Like a compass, this list helps you navigate the hundreds of platforms out there designed to manage members, and it works better as you learn more about what’s available on the market!
2. Make a list of MMS that seem like they could meet them.
After the compass, you can consider this step as making your map!
Searching ‘Membership Management Software’ will expose you to hundreds of different platforms designed to manage members.
With your needs and budget explicitly known, you can far more easily sort through available software. Your budget lets you instantly eliminate everything that’s too expensive. Your list lets you tailor search-terms and filters to cut through the confusion and see only software likely to meet your needs.
Pick through these more focused results, and make a list as long as you’d like of MMS you think might suit your needs, so that you can move on to step 3.
3. Book Demo’s, Register for Free Trials.
One thing you’re likely to learn when searching for an MMS is that you are typically able to evaluate them either by registering for a free trial, or booking a demo.
If you find that your list contains any services that only offer demo’s – it’s wise to book those first. Typically free trials are available instantly, so taking care of the demo-booking now will let you access the demo-only options after you’ve learned more about MMS from poking around some free trials.
Then Free Trials.
With Demo’s booked in your calendar, which of the options left are you most interested in trying? Register for your free trial with them, but brace yourself!
Evaluating trials can be difficult and confusing, as each one is complex and designed differently, and trying multiple only adds to confusion!
Keep your feet on the ground by always keeping in mind your explicit list of needs. Do you feel this product capable of meeting them? Do you feel confident, or that you can become confident, using it?
4. Don’t Forget Quality of Life!
It’s important not to restrict your search criteria to only product features and tools. Keep in mind how easy it is to learn, use, and live with an MMS by thinking about quality-of-life considerations like:
No software is perfect, which is why support ought to be a critical component of your decision-making process.
What does support mean to a given provider? Technical help and bug reporting, or accessible advice and guidance?
How quickly can you expect to connect with support agents for resolution?
Is Support included, or an additional price?
Get to know the knowledgebase:
A good knowledgebase is a fantastic tool to instantly learn how to use software. You should be able to easily search through a library of articles to find documented resolutions to a variety of problems. If you’re on a free trial, get an impression of the quality of the knowledgebase by learning how to do a few new things!
Tackle 2019 with the best MMS for you.
Member365 is committed to helping you do better with MMS. If that means using Member365, of course we’re happy! But we don’t expect to be the right software for every organization.
Our intention with the advice above is to help you cut through confusion and pick the MMS right for you, so that if you pick Member365. This decision belongs to you, our goal is to help you make the right one!
Now go out and evaluate some MMS’s! We hope that you include us as one of your free trials!