LMS for Associations, Association Training

3 Types of Association Software that Help Small Teams Do More With Less

by Debbie Williams

If there’s one thing an association needs more of, its resources - funding, staff, and tools - so they can deliver more value to members. Association software can help, providing multi-purpose tools that both ease the burden on staff members and provide value that brings in new members and convinces current members to renew.

The Technology Associations Need to Succeed Today

Modern associations must gather online donations, generate advertising opportunities for supplementary income, deliver effective professional development training and certification to members and staff, and more. These tasks can become overwhelming when employees are few and you have a lot of members to serve. Association software can help ensure members have a great experience no matter the size of your staff.

But  technology isn’t all your organization needs to succeed and overcome challenges. You also need leaders and employees who see technology as a critical contributor to success.    

“Association technology efforts are most successful when technology is embraced as a critical component in association-wide strategic planning,” stated The Center for Association Leadership.1 “In successful organizations, technology strategy is aligned with, serves, and is reinforced by organizational strategy.”

A few types of technology that can support your association and be integrated into its strategic planning include association management software, fundraising tools, and learning management software.

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Manage Members and Grow Your Organization with These 3 Types of Association Software

Looking for association software that will help you serve your members while growing your membership base? Consider these:

1. Association management software (AMS) -- One of the most popular types of software used by membership organizations is association management software, or membership software. It is designed to help organizations provide services to their members and personalize the member experience.

Association management software is essentially a database that includes supplementary technology that helps manage dues, finances, events, surveys, websites, and fundraising. It can also have email marketing and social media integration features, although many organizations find more success with dedicated marketing software.

Instead, associations rely on their AMS to track members and report on their donations, spending, and renewals. Migrating these tasks from simple spreadsheets into dedicated software can improve staff workload through automation tools and customized reporting.    

2. Learning management software (LMS) -- Most associations use LMS systems to promote training for members, but it can also be used to train staff and volunteers. A major advantage of learning management software is that it enables association staff to make industry training and certification available as a member benefit for their large member bases. Additionally, an LMS helps organizations:

  • Engage members
  • Improve reporting and insights
  • Manage member certifications

Organizations that already use association management software but need to train staff and members more efficiently should consider purchasing an LMS and integrating it with already-existing association management software.

Related Reading: TOPYX -- a Top LMS for Associations    

3. Cloud-based fundraising tools -- Cloud-based fundraising tools such as Blackbaud are widely used by associations. Blackbaud assists membership organizations with managing scholarships, streamlining financial processes, becoming more visible to donors, increasing productivity, and enhancing the overall member experience.

Software such as Blackbaud is designed to make raising funds less labor intensive for employees and encourage peer-to-peer fundraising to increase impact. It also aids associations with marketing and financial aid management.

What Software Does Your Association Use to Resolve Challenges?

Is your organization using association software to solve problems, reach long-term goals, help with strategic planning, and make the member experience exceptional? If not, what type of software listed above do you feel is most likely to help your association in these areas? If an LMS might be the right tool to help your association, check out our page on association training & development.

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  1. The Center for Association Leadership. Two keys to tech success. https://www.asaecenter.org/resources/articles/foundation/2016/two-keys-to-tech-success.

Debbie Williams

Debbie Williams

Director, Marketing