4 Signs Your Membership Management Software Needs an Upgrade

Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2020 | Tags: Associations, chamber of commerce, JCC, Membership Management Software, nonprofit

Membership management software is the hub for much of your organization’s activity. It’s where your staff goes to manage your members, and where your members go to engage with your organization. Staff and members interact with the system constantly. So it’s in your best interest to facilitate a smooth experience for all parties. 

Forcing your team to engage with a subpar system, in whatever capacity, can often lead to staff inefficiency and displeasure and member frustration or loss. Nobody wants that, right? Your membership management software should be an asset to your organization, not a hindrance. How will you know which yours is? If you’re experiencing one or more of the following issues, your current software could be hurting more than helping and in need of an upgrade. 

Poor User Interface and Online Functionality

If the membership management software is the hub for activity, the user interface, website, and mobile app are the paths in. Those paths need to be welcoming and easily navigable. If yours aren’t, you run the risk of frustrating your staff and pushing away potential members.

Staff members want to work within a system that is intuitive and non-obstructive, one that gets out of their way rather than one that yells, “Hey! Look what you can’t do!” A system that is too difficult to navigate, too complicated to use, and/or that requires too much training will quickly be pushed to the side and avoided.

More importantly, though, is the fact that your current members and potential members—especially younger ones—expect a seamless web experience across all systems and devices, mobile or otherwise. In an age characterized by instant access and limited patience, no one can afford to offer anything less than a great online experience; there’s too much competition. If your website and mobile application have hiccups and raise too many barriers to entry, your members will find their needed services elsewhere.

Dated Technology

How is your online experience? Updating your user experience should be painless. If your software operates off dated tech—like many do—that process can feel more like banging your head against a wall. It can hurt you in the wallet, too. Many membership management software providers are so deeply invested in older technology that depends on expensive development software that the thought of reinvigorating their product with current technology seems daunting—akin to starting from scratch. Their solution to this problem? Double down on the familiar tech rather than risk something new.

The speed with which internet technologies progress will render these dated programs even more obsolete in short order. If you’re using a dated system, you risk becoming equally obsolete to your members. Does your membership management software provider deliver an all-in-one solution, or is your system a mash-up of various third-party applications? If it’s the latter option, it’s high time to get rid of that Frankenstein’s monster of a software program.

Excessive Third-Party Integrations

Excessive third-party integrations suggest that the software wasn’t developed with the big picture/end goal in mind. More likely, the product was developed reactively, with the provider responding with quick fixes any time an issue popped up. The problem with this approach? 

The fixes don’t always integrate well with existing applications and sometimes create new problems. It often results in a cobbled-together mess of a system that is extremely difficult to use. You want a system that encourages staff usage and efficiency, not one that gets in the way at every turn.

Fragmented Data

If your organization employs multiple software applications to meet your membership management, website, event software, marketing, and sales needs, you are more likely than not fragmenting your data, isolating it in many different locations. Doing so can result in the unnecessary duplication of thousands of records and the housing of extraneous, outdated data. 

While on the surface this may not seem like that big of a problem, data entry is time-consuming; those duplicate records and extra data represent a lot of wasted working hours, hours better spent working on ways to serve your members. With an integrated solution, you will cut down on wasted time and increase efficiency.

What next?

If your organization has or is experiencing any of these issues, it is time to look for a new membership management software. We know this can be overwhelming and that you may not know where to begin. But fear not! The next post in this series will arm you with 6 pertinent questions to ask when searching for your organization’s best solution

Want to learn about a total software solution that can upgrade your organization? Learn more about Freedom Software

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