AMS Software Review of ClubExpress Database

ClubExpress Software Review

Isn’t it time to get rid of that Microsoft Access database! In our ongoing “Search of a Membership Database Series”, we have prepared a quick look at ClubExpress Membership Management Software in this database software review. Please note that this summary below is not intended to provide our full report but rather should serve as a quick snapshot of the ClubExpress membership database software.

For those interested in learning more, we have prepared a detailed “Smart Report” for Executives  in the not for profit industry who would like the full view.  The full report, is available upon request and verified by our staff. The database software review provides 30 plus pages of detailed information about the database reviewed including background on the company, functional capabilities, screen shots, client reviews, pricing, & support capabilities in an easy to read question and answer format.

Review of ClubExpress

Membership Software 

Introduction:

I am excited to introduce ClubExpress membership software. It is exciting to me because while ClubExpress has been around for 13 plus years, it is actually new to me since I have not had the opportunity to take a deep dive into it’s capabilities. In my mind, it is an exciting new Software-as-a-Service platform designed to help membership driven organizations manage their front office and back office. In fact, they have a purported thousand plus organizations using their platform today. In my review, ClubExpress demonstrated a very capable combination of power, flexibility, and ease-of-use for smaller associations that are run by volunteers or a small, paid staff. Quite impressive!

Brief Summary: 

ClubExpress provides smaller associations (up to 5000 members) with an Internet platform to manage both front-office and back-office operations. ClubExpress combines the association web site with the membership database, secure online member signup, renewals and expiration’s, credit-card processing, membership directory, discussion forums, event calendar and online registration, E-commerce storefront, committees, documents, interests and other modules based on what clubs and associations do. The platform includes a full suite of administration tools to run the organization. There is no programming or HTML experience required; everything is controlled by menus and dialog boxes, and all changes are immediately live. We use state-of-the-art security, there’s no advertising and associations own their data at all times.

Key Features which  ClubExpress Software includes?  

  • Content Management System
  • Website with areas for the public, members, and admins
  • Each member has own login to view member-only content and update a personal profile
  • Online signups, renewals, and expiration’s
  • Any number of member types, including memberships with multiple people
  • Expand the database with additional questions; answers in 20+ formats
  • Event calendar with online registration and payment for events
  • Built-in modules for document libraries, committees, member interests, blogs, FAQ, directory
  • Surveys module to create multi-page, multi-question surveys
  • Discussion forums including list server capability
  • E-Commerce Storefront module, including support for digital content
  • Volunteering module
  • Donations module
  • Built-in merchant account or you can use your own
  • Unparalleled support for multi-tier organizations (chapters, etc., up to 4 levels incl. top)
  • Blast emailings function
  • Powerful website design tools, including templates
  • Unlimited photos and photo albums
  • More than a dozen optional modules for an additional one-time fee

Where does ClubExpress Software likely Fit?

Smaller associations (up to 5000 members), run by volunteers or with a small paid staff. Membership-based organizations, including professional and trade associations, networking groups, business groups, chambers of commerce, regional associations. It’s not just small clubs! 

ClubExpress Membership Software Visuals: 

ClubExpress Software Demonstration: 

Interested in learning more about the ClubExpress Database?

We have prepared a detailed “Smart Report” available for qualified executives interested in learning about our view of this database software. Please take some time to request your complete “Smart Report” by clicking below:

Please stay tuned to our ongoing Searching for A Smart Membership Software software reviews where we will continue to provide further insights into other Membership Database Software and Donor database software options designed for 501(c) 3 organizations.

Is ClubExpress AMS the Best Membership Software for Your Association?

We don’t espouse to the belief that there is “one best AMS” for everyone. But, ClubExpress may very well be your best fit.

However, to answer this question with certainty, we need to know more about what makes you unique. And, discuss other insights about this platform which we have curated, clients interviewed, and discuss more detailed information beyond just this summary.

Please know that our detailed analysis and expertise is available upon request. To be sure, our software analysis is not a “pretty brochure”, “marketing noise.” or a “sales pitch.”

Rather, we provide a free objective dialogue and insights designed to help nonprofit executives make a smarter software business decision.

If you are interested in some help with reviewing your options and comparisons, please check out our “vendor matching” services here.

Want More AMS Membership Software Reviews?

Please stay tuned to our ongoing “Searching for A Smart AMS Software” where we will continue to provide further insights into membership database software options designed for our 501(c) 6 membership focused organizations.

For the most recent published reviews, please click below:

And, to obtain a sample list of the database software reviews we have, you may follow the link here 

If you work for an AMS database software system and you would like us to include your firm in our software review process, please contact us.

Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind. Happy Software Buying!

ClubExpress Software Review

5 Key Questions To Ask Before Googling Membership Software

Questions to Ask Before Searching for Membership Database

For most Associations, Membership Software is a vital part of your existence. And, the primary goals of a membership program are storing data, communication, building relationships through focused collaboration, and building value for your members. In order to achieve your mission, nonprofits must have the right membership management software to deliver value and remain a valuable resource. In this article, I dig into some of the key requirements I hear when helping associations select software today along with key questions to ask before embarking on the search.

Key Requirements of Membership Software 

The Need for Automation

During almost all of our projects, association executives express that they want to do better at maximizing staff time and productivity. As a result, time involvement and automation play a big role in deciding on online database software. In order to be efficient, software needs to be as automated as possible. Setting up routine email campaigns is often one of the most common form of automation desires. But, having the system be able to handle the dues remittance process and recurring payments are also expressed as crucial in keeping funds flowing into an organization. Without question, nonprofit software executives, are looking for higher levels of automation in their membership software.

The Necessity For Ease of Use

Over and over again, I hear during a software selection engagement is that the database software needs to be easy to set up and use. Again, this is a matter of time and efficiency. Many member focused organizations do not have the time or the staffing to deal with complicated software set up. Nor, do they want to have their members calling up if they can’t log into the system or register for an event either. Mobility of the solution is also a huge factor in the belief that a tool is easy to use or not. Everyone needs to be able to get on and do their business wherever that may be.

While not directly related to the actual database system, the software companies need to provide great customer service and tutorials to get the attention of association’s executives too. While nonprofit organizations want software that everyone within the organization can use and understand, they also want it to be less complicated. The days of having only one or two people which are able to use it are over. This means the software should be easy enough for the least tech-savvy person within the organization to grasp.

The Basic Right of Database Management

It is important for organizations to be capable of managing their membership database. You must be able to access member information easily. Organizations want the ability to pull statistics and crucial reports from their member database without having to call the software vendor. From my findings with nonprofit executives who are seeking a new management software, executives and board members alike want to know things like when their membership numbers are declining, increasing and why.

It’s all about your members right? They give life to your organization. And, therefore, members too want to get data out of your system too. The ability to manage membership data allows organizations to determine this important information. This is key for most executives today.

5 Key Questions to Consider Before Googling

Ask any nonprofit executive who has tried to do it recently, and I believe they will all agree that trying to find the right membership management software for their nonprofit association is a “mind-googling” experience to say the least. While you may have an idea of what you want or share some of the key requirements above, there are a multitude of membership management software options. They range from nearly free to way beyond the budget of any sane executive.

We keep track of nearly 100 membership software programs. And, the list is growing each and every month it seems with new offerings hitting the market. While I enjoy doing so, most sane people don’t!

Today, even the simple database software platforms offer solutions for dues billing, accounting, and event registration. And, as the systems grow in size, some of them have bells and whistles for marketing automation, education management, social media collaboration communities, & government relations .

As one of my recent clients expressed to me, “Isn’t there one membership management software out there that can fit all the needs of the association?”

With the insights into what most associations are seeking today, here are 5 thought-provoking questions to consider before you call that vendor or venture off to the Google God to begin your search for a membership management software for your association:

  1. Does the staff, members, & the board agree on the goals? In The End of Membership as We Know It, author Sarah Sladek emphasizes that the “era when associations could count on members joining and renewing” has passed. One of the top priorities in any association should be “technology-eased access to content and community”. Your metrics for success will help you make a decision on the right software program. But, unless everyone is on the same page, a decision will be harder to make and likely will produce a poor result. Like your organization, each software vendor is unique too. Matching the harmony between the two’s (nonprofit and vendor) uniqueness will provide the best fit.
  2. What is the difference between CRM, Membership Management Software and Association Management Software (AMS)? Though used interchangeably by vendors, there is a difference in all of the above. What is right for you? CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software alone is different than Membership Software. Membership Software can be used by for profit organizations too sound that actually adds to some confusion who embark on the “Google” route. As for Membership Software vs. AMS Software, both track and store member contact data, dues and interactions; yet AMS’s typically offer a bundled suite that integrates accounting, education, events, committees, benefits, and renewals etc. You can easily get side tracked in your “Google” search if you don’t know what you need. And, searching for membership software alone in various search engines may likely lead you into a rabbit hole to hell if you are not keen on the differences. And to put more salt on the psyche, even if you get the nomenclature right, figuring out which one “fits” your size , budget, etc. can exhaust tons of time and effort by staff.
  3. Will our needs change in the next 3 years?  It is the unfortunate truth that many smaller associations are having trouble staying relevant and being able to offer what their members want. Be sure to look for a software that is able to grow and adapt with your association, just in case there is a merger or new objective which the board pushes your way in your future. I can’t stress this enough, just because you can afford it, doesn’t make it the right fit.
  4. What if you do nothing? I don’t care what anyone tells you, a software technology change of any kind is a drain before the glory of rewards. Therefore, you need to be prepared to know why you are doing this and what you anticipate to gain from the headache of doing the search and ultimately the implementation. Doing nothing is usually not an option but digging into that question can help define the key metrics by which you will gauge success in your project.
  5. Do you need a software advisement firm to assist you in finding the right membership software? The marketing noise pushed out today about the “Best Software” is plentiful. Suffice it to say, there are a number of posts online that talk about their software prowess; but what works for one nonprofit association, may not work for another. Like Thanksgiving, everyone’s plate is unique! With a software adviser, you may be able to more efficiently manage the software selection process and make a smarter decision in the end much faster with greater chance of success. But, like software, it’s not the right choice for everyone.

Having thoughtfully answered strategic questions before the search, can help streamline your project and assist you in making the best choice for your needs today and long term. After doing this for years, it’s interesting to me that many organizations usually have a tough time with the reality of what can be accomplished with technology. Further, they tend to avoid asking the hard questions before trying to find the magic pill to fix everything. Googling your way to finding a solution is a bad idea.

It’s critical to take the necessary time to delve into “The Man in the Mirror” so to speak. Certainly, knowing what to expect and what can be accomplished with membership programs before moving forward in a software selection search is paramount.

For a more in-depth assessment on your current technology and future software fit, contact us today to learn more about how we can assist with developing a strategy that is line with your budget and goals to help reach a return on your mission.

Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Top 10 Checklist for Searching for Membership Software

7 Quick Tips to Avoid Armageddon in Association Software Projects

Membership Management Software

It is clear, a Membership Management Software project can provide great rewards and commensurately significant challenges to many associations embarking on an implementation initiative of association software. In this article, I share a few insights to help possibly avoid pitfalls in your next association software implementation project. One hint: Crossing fingers doesn’t help!

Implementation Tips for Association Software Projects

Do you remember the classic movie tale from 1978 called Animal House with John Belushi and Kevin Bacon? For most, it has likely been some time, therefore, let me refresh your memory. In the grand finale of the movie, a local peace keeper, played by Kevin Bacon, is charged with keeping order with the crowd and stood watch while complete “Armageddon” transpired during the Faber Homecoming Parade calmly stating to the panicked and unruly crowd, “Relax, All is well, All is Well!”.

For some, this scene may paint a pretty vivid picture of how some 501c 3 nonprofits and associations too feel about a prior or even present database management software project. I am not going to sugar coat it. It is not easy. And, before things get better, there will be pain. But, at the end of the road hopefully, you will get your peace of mind back.

Below you will find 6 quick tips to consider to help avoid some of the pitfalls which may plague your implementation projects

  • Begin with the ” End in Mind”: Association Management Software should start with vision and goals. Although you may end up in a good location by chance, it is far more likely you will end up lost or run aground if you do not discuss and document why you decided to purchase the software in the first place.
  • Quantify the Value of Your Program: With your Executive team, quantify how the technology can be used to automate your business. For example, if you are hoping to maximize staff time and productivity, how does that impact your organization? You need to focus on early wins and those items which are going to be the most impactful so that your staff gets on board early and stays in tune.
  • Create a Roadmap: A software roadmap clearly defines key people, process, & technology milestones. 
  • Build Your AMS Governance Structure: You must define a structure within your organization so that everyone understands roles and responsibilities. And, understand that this project will never be completely done. It’s a long term program. 
  • User Adoption: If you do not secure buy-in, your project is doomed. The system must be viewed as a “blessing” not a “curse”. 
  • Keep an Eye on the Prize:  A smoother software program can certainly improve not only an organization’s administrative efficiency, but literally increase revenues and improve the public perception of the organization itself. Pull out for your team why your organization made the decision to move and implement a new tool to begin with. By all means, an ongoing reality check during the heated months ensuing your purchase may be very well received!
  • Communication, Communication, & Communication: Email is a wonderful tool for all of us in the business today. But, if saturated by them and scattered among all the staff involved in the project, it can be a royal pain in the rear end. I suggest having one person consolidate the correspondence and then meet at least every other week to be sure that everything is moving along well.

In summary, these are 7 quick steps your staff can take to avoid “Armageddon” during your Association Management Software project. Unfortunately, I don’t usually get called when things are going well with their membership database. So, it is so exciting for me to hear of association software success. Your staff you must be prepared and realistic about the process. The process to find the right technology solution is important but after the selection has been made, the second half of the project is honestly so much more important.

If you treat the implementation project of your association management software as a long-term investment ( a journey not a race) your organization will be in a greater position to enjoy the excitement of the parade rather than doom of the “Death Mobile”.

We work with very competent service specialists who specialize in project management and implementation services for association software. So, if you need some guidance, we can help with find a competent implementation partner to help with your membership software projects. Due to our years in the market, we are positioned effectively to provide you the leadership required to ensure a success of your selected service provider.

Please give us a call or fill out our contact now request form anytime.