7 Key Questions to Ask When Evaluating Membership Database Software

Membership Database Software

If you’ve landed on this post, chances are you have already discovered the numerous benefits of membership database software. So now you are probably asking which is the best software for your club’s needs? As with any software, there are a lot of providers to choose from, all offering different features and benefits.

Even though they all have numerous features and functions to offer, it goes without saying you need to select the one that best meets the needs of your club. Of course we hope you will choose PaySubsOnline.com to manage your club membership. But we understand that every club will have different requirements.

Software in any sphere is rarely a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Moreover, the potential benefits to your club are too great to leave to chance. That is why it is imperative you ask these seven key questions when evaluating any member management software.

7 Key Evaluation Questions:

1. Is it easy to use?

Having membership software that has a large range of features and options is pointless if you do not know how to use them effectively. Software that is not user friendly will require a lot of training time and is more likely to promote human error. Club administrators aside, if the software is not easy for your members to use, they may well abandon it, leaving you to return to the manual admin methods of old.

2. Does it serve its purpose?

Be careful not to choose a provider whose software is too basic to manage your subscriptions adequately. Many clubs make this mistake while searching for user friendly or low cost software. Consider using providers that offer free trials or demos to see if the functionality suits your needs and discover just what else it can do for you.

3. Is there help available if I need it?

Even opting for database software that is simple to manage does not guarantee that there will be no kinks in the learning process. Should you need assistance with navigation or operation, it would be beneficial to have customer support services readily available. Consider too your members – will they be able to access customer support should they need it?

4. Is it reliable?

Having the best membership software available would be mute if it were never functioning properly. With most systems running via the cloud, uptime is a vital consideration. A system which is down more than it is up will be of little use to you and your members. Most providers are happy to share their average % uptime with you, so don’t be afraid to ask. A figure in the very high 90%’s is what you are looking for.

5. Will my information be safe?

A security breach can put you and your member’s information at risk resulting in identity theft or worse. Any software provider should have systems in place to ensure the integrity of confidential data. This security is important if you are to encourage your members to use the system, especially when asking them to enter financial information. Your first indication that the system is secure is https:// appearing in the address bar at the top of your browser. Or you may see a padlock icon appear.

Any membership database software provider based in the UK that stores information about your members are required by law to register with the ICO as a data controller.  You can perform a search on the ICO website to see if the members software company you’re evaluating is registered (give it a try now – search on Pay Here Limited – the legal entity in which PaySubsOnline.com trades under).

Always check the Privacy Policy of the providers.  Some organisations may state they share your members information with others, others may not (at PaySubsOnline.com, we never share your members data with any third party).  It should all be in the small print so worth checking.

These are a good start but it is always advisable to seek further assurances from the provider.

6. Is it a fair price?

Many people believe in the saying’ “You get what you pay for.” So while a membership database plan may be affordable, it may be too basic to be useful and therefore a false economy. Therefore, do not decide on price alone. Instead, compare the whole package and then determine its worth.

Software providers will often provide a range of price plans with different available features. Often these plans will be based on the size of your club and the number of members you have. The larger your member pool the more you will pay. Others may set prices according to the number of administrators you want to have access. Plan prices may be annual or they may be monthly. Custom plans may also be available whereby you can negotiate the price and features to suit your club and budget.

7. What are others saying about them?

It goes without saying you want to choose a provider who is reliable, secure and affordable. You will want help and support should you or your members need it and you will want a plan which offers all the features you need at a price you can afford. So your final stop on the evaluation process should be to check out reviews and ratings. Look at social media too by searching for the provider by name. No reviews/mentions is not necessarily a bad thing and may mean the provider is new to the market. In this instance you may want to wait a while to see how they perform before signing up.

Finally, ask around other clubs and member organisations to see what membership database software they use. Their responses can give you valuable insight into how different providers perform and even throw some new names into the pot!

Selecting the best membership software for your club may require a lot of research and comparison. In the end it will come down to the provider who offers the best range of features for your club needs and budget. But, knowing that you have made the right choice is worth the effort. Before signing up for any software plan, take a free trial first so you can see how it works first hand. Most providers will be more than happy to offer trials ranging from a week to 30 days.

To evaluate PaySubsOnline.com why not sign up for a free trial or contact us for a demo, where you can experience all the features we offer before you commit.  We also provide a free Buyers Guide that explores the functionality you’ll need when switching your membership management online.  Download your free copy below.

Membership Database Software

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