5 Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Association Management Software

By Brian Bruffey posted Sep 30, 2015 04:19 PM


Like any association, you use association management software (AMS) to help improve efficiencies and streamline your member communications. But what if the software that you implemented years ago is slowing you down because you’ve grown too big for your system or changed internal processes? It is important that an organization’s system match the size and needs of the association itself to provide the greatest value. If you’ve seen any of these five warning signs, then it is time for you to find a new system that is a better fit.


  1. System is underperforming: Data is the backbone of an AMS and association management in general. Without engagement tracking, how do you know which programs and offerings work and which need refinement? You can’t make decisions if you’re unable to measure results. If you have trouble accessing or understanding your system’s data, find a new solution.

  2. Technical needs have changed: Certain processes may require customization to function the way you want. But, if your system is overly customized, lacks vendor support and service, taps disparate data networks or leads to redundant user interaction, find a system that streamlines operations.

  3. Functional needs have changed: Effectively running an association requires multiple software applications. An AMS should integrate with all of the solutions you need to not only maintain members but grow memberships. If your system is too narrow in scope or sits in a silo, it’s time to move on.

  4. The system is too high-maintenance: A good vendor will set you up with a solution that works, with a clear upgrade path and predictable budget. Don’t commit time and resources to putting out system fires. If technical difficulty becomes a daily occurrence, your system and operations don’t sync.

  5. The system is underutilized: You could have the best system in the world, but it doesn’t matter if your team isn’t on board. If your staff avoids or works around the system, talk with them and identify improvements to make. If even your “super users” are avoiding the software, find a system that is easy-to-use and meets the needs of each department.     

If your current AMS doesn’t cut it anymore, take action to find and implement a new solution. Specifically, you should:

  • Audit your processes and identify your needs: Take an honest look at your system, people and operations. What are your “pain points” and what’s required to alleviate them?
  • Do your due diligence researching vendors: Approach the selection process confidently. Interview candidates and ask pointed questions to uncover their skills, experience and history. Assess each company’s stability; you don’t want a vendor that might go out of business or could be acquired. 
  • Prepare for data migration: Eliminate duplicate data and redundant processes to make any transition as smooth and clean as possible.

Knowing when it’s time to upgrade your AMS is important to preserve value and efficiency. Look for these five warning signs and take decisive action to avoid critical issues, such as losing members. Also, take a look at this checklist to see if your AMS is helping you achieve the top seven increased efficiencies.


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