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The 5 Best Ways to Convince Your Board to Switch AMS Software Platforms

Posted by Julie Dietz on Fri, Aug 05, 2016 @ 08:30 AM

5 ways to convince your board to switch AMS software platforms.

Think back to the last time you purchased a product or service you didn’t like. Your last cable provider might come to mind. When you realized that you didn’t like the product, what did you do? Did you keep using it? Maybe you did, but once your contract was up on that TV or wireless provider, you probably went right out and switched to something better.

As consumers, we’re not accustomed to putting up with poor products and lousy service. When something doesn’t work for us, we make a change. Associations professionals, unfortunately, don’t often follow that trend – at least where their association management software is concerned. Even if they don’t like their system, they stick with it.

According to association technology consultants, Lehman Associates, AMS software satisfaction ratings are low, with most a score of less than six out of 10. But while association professionals are dissatisfied with their membership platforms, changing systems is seen as expensive, complicated, and risky. Many executives, IT managers, and their boards especially, don't want to deal with those potential negative effects, and choose not to switch.

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However, there comes a time when it is in the best interest of the organization and members to switch. When the time is right for your organization to make a change, how do you convince your board to switch systems so you have the tools, ease of use, and support you need?

The key is not to focus solely on explaining the benefits and why you want to switch systems. You also need to address and alleviate your board’s top concerns.

Top Concerns about Association Management Software

According to research from leading nonprofit software website, Capterra, some of the top AMS system concerns include:

  • Ease of use
  • Functionality and features
  • Price
  • Support

These concerns are also the same reasons why associations ultimately decided to change their AMS software. Closely following those issues are implementation worries such as training.

Here are five ways to address these types of concerns and make switching AMS platforms an easy decision for your board.

5 Ways to Overcome Your Board’s Concerns about Changing AMS Software

Way #1) Knock Out Budgetary Concerns

Switching AMS platforms is a huge financial commitment not only because of monthly costs, but also due to implementation fees. Implementing new AMS software may cost tens of thousands of dollars, which can be a large chunk of your budget. All that for a system you can’t be sure will fit your organization.

With so much money on the line, if your board has price concerns, they’re well-founded.

The best way to deal with budgetary issues is to get rid of them entirely. Monthly fees are inescapable, but implementation fees are not. Choose association management software that does not have implementation fees, and you’ll cut out thousands of dollars’ worth of concerns.

Way #2) Reduce the Risk

Selecting the right membership software for your organization is often seen as a lengthy, stressful, and risky process. Even without implementation fees, the monthly software cost can be high, the platform may be complicated, and you’re often locked into a lengthy contract. What if you choose the wrong system?

That’s a huge risk for your board, so to convince them to switch select an AMS provider that guarantees their product. If the software doesn’t fit your association, or those using the system every day don’t like it, you can leave with a full refund.

Way #3) Eliminate Integration Stress

In your association’s technology stack, your membership software doesn’t exist in a vacuum. When you bring up switching AMS platforms with your board, they don’t just have to deal with a new AMS software proposal. They also have to deal with the trouble of integrating that new system with all the other systems you’re using. If integrations aren’t done well, they could make daily work for your staff, management, and IT group more complicated and increase training time.

Integrations are a headache that no one in your association wants, so make your AMS switch easier by reducing the other systems your board and staff need to integrate with.

An all-in-one AMS software platform should have everything you need to run your organization. That includes a website and email engine, marketing tools, private member community, dues system, and event management system. With everything included in one platform, you take care of both integration and functionality concerns. Your staff can do everything they need, and your board no longer has to think about integrating with outside systems.

Way #4) Offer a Seamless Transition

Not everything your board is worried about revolves around technology challenges or price. A large part of your board’s priorities probably focus on the member experience. Will the transition to new AMS software disrupt and annoy members?

You need to address this issue directly, providing a plan for a seamless transition that members won’t even notice. The best association management software providers will make this easy by taking your new site live as soon as your old one is taken down. All member information should be migrated to the new system before it goes live, so your members don’t need to reenter any information.

Get Your Free Report with 3 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Switching Your Membership Platform by Over 50%

Make sure your board knows that switching AMS systems doesn’t have to disrupt your members even a little bit. There will be a transition for your employees, but the right technology provider will make the switch easy for staff as well. They’ll employ an iterative implementation process so staff can freely communicate their needs throughout the process. This approach ensures that the system is set up in the best way for daily business tasks. Top AMS software vendors will also provide initial and ongoing software training to get staff up to speed quickly and improve ease of use.

Way #5) Take Customer Support Worries Off Your Board

According to Capterra, the fourth largest factor influencing association management software purchases is support. Why? Because your board doesn’t have time to deal with blowback from unexpected problems that may arise in a new AMS platform. They’re busy with strategic initiatives and the member experience.

Choose a software provider that’s known for excellent support so that system problems and their consequences never have to make it to your board. The best AMS providers will deliver fast, effective help for any issues that comes up. They’ll also make it easy for your team to pick up the phone and talk to a real person, as well as email in questions or follow-ups.

Convincing Your Board to Switch AMS Platforms Takeaway

Purchasing new association management software and migrating your organization over can be stressful, but it’s often necessary. You should not have to put up with a system you’re not satisfied with, especially if it doesn’t have the functionality and ease of use that you need.

Overcoming your board’s objections is often a big part of the process. Convince your board to make the switch by finding the best software from the best provider to help you address all of your board’s concerns. Risk, price, ease of use, support, and integrations are good places to start.

When you recognize your board’s concerns and their validity, then take steps to alleviate them, you’ll have a much better chance of convincing them to switch AMS platforms.

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Tags: Association Executives, Membership Management Software, AMS Software

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