7 Easy Tips to Improve Your Luck with Membership Software

 

Membership Database Software: 7 Luck Tips to Improve Success

For membership-based organizations, membership software could be the most important software purchase of all. In this article, we offer up 7 to do’s when choosing the right membership software to meet all your organization’s needs. Before you begin the process (or continue), here are important factors to consider:

7 Lucky Tips in Finding the Best Membership Software 

7 Luck Tips to help find Membership Management Software

Pain & Gain

Invite staff, at all levels, to share job challenges, such as routine bottlenecks and chronically incomplete information. Identify problems that your new membership management software must address. No pain? It may be pertinent to sing an oldie but goodie tune from Mr. Stephen Stills called “Love the One your With”. 

Look Ahead

Organizations, like swift rivers, change from day-to-day and year to year. If you anticipate major growth or shift in direction, build that into the software evaluation process. You need to look ahead to determine what success will be after achieving your “Wildly Important Goal” of finding and implementing a new software solution.

Understand Your Current Technology

Take an inventory of current software and hardware. View membership management software through this lens. In other words, if one package would require costly upgrades and another doesn’t, that’s valuable information. The assets you have may be the most valuable.

Weigh the Pros and Cons

Software as a Service (SaaS) such as Salesforce.com refers to applications that are hosted by the vendor, rather than residing on your organization’s computers. With very few exceptions, this should likely be the model for most small to mid-size associations today. However, SaaS has both pros and cons. As a great deal of software is now offered in SaaS format, it’s important to weigh benefits and concerns against the needs of your organization with regards to membership site software.

Develop Your Software Vocabulary

The software industry has a language all its own. Before talking to vendors, familiarize yourself with key terminology of membership database software. For example, what does “Cloud” mean to the vendor or you? I find it interesting to even simply ask, “What does CRM mean to your organization”? The answer is quite interesting!

Control the Conversation

I enjoy learning about new software solutions. As a result, we work with many software vendors which sell in the non-profit industry. Sales people have more experience with their software products than you do. And, the good ones are professionals who truly desire to help solve business problems. However, they also have an arsenal of persuasion techniques to expedite the sales process as well. As a result, I encourage our clients to enter every conversation with clear objectives, and be prepared to hold your ground when the vendor tries to change the course of the discussion. It’s a good idea to have a few staff people from different departments participate in the process.

Understand the Bottom Line

Membership Database Software packages can seem like apples and oranges, until you understand exactly what features each offers and for what cost. Be sure you understand the upfront price and any ongoing or future charges.

When it comes to making a major software purchase like membership tracking software, unbiased expert advice is invaluable. If you don’t want to “go it alone,” SmartThoughts is here to assist. Our team members are experts at helping associations make smart choices when it comes to software. To find out how we can simplify the process, please contact us.

Until then, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Our AMS Smart Checklist may help you in your membership software project!

Keys to Achieving ROI of Membership Websites

Nonprofit Software designed for membership organizations should be focused on ROI

Most would agree that taking some time to read a very good book to gain some perspective is a a good idea. Recently, I reread a good book which sparked my contemplation and fueled my desire to write this article. Below I outline some ideas on how software technology should be used to deliver ROI with your nonprofit website.

Keys to Achieving ROI of Membership Websites

As mentioned, I had the pleasure of reading a good book over the holidays, “The ROI of Membership” by Ed Rigsbee, CAE, CSP. If you are not familiar with Ed, he is the Chief Member Evangelist at Rigsbee Research Consulting Group. He has authored 5 books and over 2,000 articles on business and organizational collaborations. I highly recommend the book.  To be sure, Mr. Rigsbee’s book made me think about how the software tools available today for membership organizations are helpful (or not) in helping their organizations with membership recruitment and retention.

By now you realize that having a website is crucial for connecting with your donors, members, and constituents. But, creating and maintaining a website that actually can influence the decision to join or renew is another matter entirely. Your website should communicate to non-members and members through real dollars that membership is smart career, business, and or financial decision. One statistic cited from an American Society of Association Executives study reported in Mr. Rigsbee’s book outlined  the following:

Of Members who did not renew, 73% was due to lack of perceived membership value.

So, what are some ways for your organization to overcome this? In our opinion, technology can and should help customers join and stay. And, since many databases used by nonprofits and their website can be connected, it should be easier to do than ever before. That noted, here are a few important aspects to developing engaging and value driven nonprofit websites:

State the ROI You Expect from the Website 

Who is your website selling to? Organizations should state the ROI of membership. If you are using your website for both recruitment and retention, list the member-only features. Then, write a benefit statement as to how the feature will make the membership prospect’s life better.  A Nonprofit’s website likely more so than for profits should prove the ROI of Membership. Your website should communicate to non-members and members through real dollars that membership is smart career, business, and or financial decision.

Personalization is Key To Your Website 

Today, members are empowered in the Buyer 2.0 role, and demand value and service. Your website should demonstrate that you know and understand your constituents’ wants and needs. Create a personalized space for your constituents where they can access their information, keep track of any necessary data and history, and find meaningful content. This will keep them coming back to your website as a habit, and your organization will be at the top of donors’ lists when it comes time to donate to a charity. Web technologies are not only for internal benefit. In fact, successful engagement through a web presence is all about making life for your constituents better. Whether you want to improve e-commerce or get closer to donors and members through online communities, engaging constituents with a personalized web experience is key, and it all starts with how your website is powered.

Provide Self-Service Transactions

Your website should allow your donors and constituents to engage with your organization through personalized e-Commerce. Implementing self-service options for membership renewal, donations, and registration are important but they aren’t necessarily new. What may be new to some is using an integrated database and website so that your members may socialize with others in the community while experiencing and transacting business on your website. Exclusive Information, training courses, conferences, & products etc. can all be used to sell the value and benefits of participation in your organization. Do it!

Create communities on Your Website 

Your organization is competing with for profits and other nonprofits today for participation. This key takes the social aspect a step further by creating communities on your website for your constituents to turn to and interact with. Sure, your constituents can interact with each other through other forms of social media. But keeping them exclusively on your website keeps them engaged with your brand and organization. You can monitor the online communities to learn more about your constituents’ habits and preferences as well as any concerns or recommendations they have for your organization. With an integrated website and database, every single day of the week you could warmly remind your members of the real dollar value they received because of their ongoing participation in your organizations website.

Be Sure that You Go Mobile

There’s just no getting around it. On-the-go constituents must have easy access to your site through their mobile devices if you want them to stay connected to your organization. You will need to take some time to determine whether you need a mobile app, mobile website, or both. From there, you can work toward developing a mobile version of your site that is relevant to your constituents’ needs.

Understand Search Engine Optimization

Pew Internet conducted a survey that found 92% of adults online use search engines to find information, and nearly 59% of them do it daily. What does this mean? Your Association is competing with Google! The discussion of return on investment of resources (time and money) is critical. Nonprofits need to underscore how your work in knowledge management, how your organization stores, organizes, and makes industry specific information easily available to members, delivers a membership benefit. Your website should be used to provide content to help compete against “search engines” but the intellectual capital you provide shouldn’t be given away either.

Your staff and your members need the right tools for the right job. Using a Membership Management System is for most the easiest way to create an engaging online experience for your donors, members, and constituents. If you are searching for the right tools, we would like to help. Please Contact us for more information on which Membership Software may be best suited for your  non-profit organization.

 

 

 

Download your free non profit database management software for non profit list here!

 

 

3 Strategies For Selecting The Best CRM Software For Your Nonprofit

Nonprofit CRM Software is critical to success at your organization!

Investing time in building relationships delivers the best returns, and for a nonprofit  leads to exceptional results.  In this article, we discuss 3 quick items you must do before seeking a CRM software for your nonprofit to help build and develop your relationships.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is designed to alleviate the heavy workload of managing donor records, planning and executing campaigns, tracking progress and many other time-consuming tasks.Freeing up time to pursue new donors, volunteers and plan major events is a constant challenge for many nonprofits, regardless of their size. At SmartThoughts, it’s our mission to assist you in finding the best possible nonprofit database management system for your organizations unique needs.

Keys to Selecting A CRM System 

There are literally thousands of non profit CRM software options designed for nonprofits today. Finding the one that best aligns and strengthens your nonprofit’s mission, vision and goals is a challenge. We’ve found three key strategies to keep in mind when looking for a CRM system for your nonprofit’s needs:

Create a Strategic View:

Create a strategic view of your nonprofit that includes all the present and potential communication channels you will use to reach donors. Many Non Profit  CRM systems today are built to support multi-channel communication, marketing and selling. Defining all the possible channels of communication you want to connect with donors will help to define the best possible set of CRM systems for your unique needs.  

Prioritize:

Prioritizing the most and least effective alumni, donor and volunteer strategies today and the time it takes to complete them is essential. CRM software for not for profits are excellent at automating routine tasks, freeing up valuable time. Concentrating on the most important strategies and delegating routine, manual and time-consuming tasks to a CRM system frees up many nonprofits to accomplish more.

Define Success:

Defining what success looks like for your nonprofit in terms of analytics. One of the most important aspects of selecting a CRM system for your nonprofit is determining which measures of performance (sometimes called metrics and key performance indicators) you’ll use to measure performance. A good software advisement firm will work with your nonprofit to understand how you measure success, so the best possible CRM system is selected using SMART Goals (Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic and Time-Bound).

These are few quick ideas to get your search started as you review software for your non profit organization. For assistance in selecting the best non profit CRM software for your organizations needs, contact us today.

Until then, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Download your free software for non profit list here!