Hopefully by now your festive hangovers have cleared and you are ready to implement all those new year resolutions you made. The start of a new year is often a good time to reflect on where things can be improved. Not just personally, but professionally as well. The same is true of your club or member organisation.
For many organisations, the new year begins with a raft of resolutions such as increasing member numbers, retaining existing ones and raising funds. Two key areas most will want to improve are administration and payment collections. Both of which can often be achieved through the adoption of membership software.
In this post we will look at why implementing such software should be top of your list and how it can help you better manage your membership.
Confused About Membership Software?
You may already be familiar with it, perhaps you researched providers before. Or you may be completely green. But it can be easy to become confused, especially as this software comes in different guises. Sometimes called subscription management software, membership management software or database software, you will notice different providers offer different features and functions. What they do have in common is they will enable you to manage your member information and manage dues.
You or others in your organisation may be asking why the need for change? Will switching to this software really benefit us? Will it help us grow and improve our efficiency in key areas such as new member applications, renewals and payment collections? Often the answer to these questions is yes but if you want to understand more about why your organisation should switch to membership software read this blog post from October.
Of course the main influencing factor will be the benefits to your organisation. After all, you are unlikely to convince the committee to switch your administrative systems if they cannot perceive any real value in doing so.
Many providers will offer:
- Database features for managing member information
- Payment options for collecting member fees
- Email features for sending out member communications
- Reports and accounting tools
Other features you will come across include:
- Fundraising and donation tools
- Automated renewal notices
- Event management tools
- Marketing and social media tools
- Application form widgets you can add to your website
- Multiple administrators allowing other organisation officials to login whenever they want
The benefits to your organisation will depend on those areas you identify as needing improvement and it is recommended you carry out a full audit of your existing process to determine what these are. This is especially important as not all providers or software are created equal, with pricing and inclusive features varying widely.
For most organisations the key benefits come down to:
- Time saving features like automatic payment reconciliation and passing the responsibility back to the member for keeping their information up-to-date.
- Improved payment collection rates because members have the option to pay online and your organisation has better audit ability through tools designed to keep track of who owes what.
- Improved retention rates as renewal notices are automatically sent out.
- Improved member communications with integrated email tools and the ability to segment members into groups for the purposes of sending personalised group specific notices.
Making The Right Choice
No one wants to sign up to a system which quickly proves ineffective, unreliable and fails to meet your needs. Not only does this cost you time and money but it can upset your members too, especially if they are unable to login to their accounts on a regular basis.
Having identified the key areas for improvement, you will need to evaluate different software providers. It is always a good idea to test the software before you sign up so look for free demo’s and/or free trials so you can test several providers before committing yourselves. Another key area to look at is what is included for the price. Some providers may offer a flat rate for all features, while others will offer packages based on features and/or the size of your organisation. Be careful of signing up for packages with features you will never use or a small membership package which you will outgrow very quickly – consider predicted member growth in other words.
For more tips and advice on evaluating software and making the right choice, take a look at the following posts:
- 7 Key Questions To Ask When Evaluating Membership Database Software
- Membership Database Software – Choosing The Right Solution For Your Organisation
- Are You Considering Adoption Membership Management Software in 2016?
Taking your organisation administration and member management online can be the best thing you could do this year to help improve growth and drive your organisation forward. But it is not without its pitfalls and you will need to do your homework carefully. Why not begin with us and take a free demo to see all PaySubsOnline.com could offer you?