There’s an old saying that goes “it takes a village to raise a child.” While the maxim’s origins extend way back, it’s found repeated life as a rallying cry for politics and general community causes. It takes a village to do a lot of stuff, as it turns out. Individuals are capable of some fantastic feats. But ask any truly accomplished person and they will say their impact was only made possible by a passionate group of like-minded supporters — both at a distance and in the trenches.
Professional associations, many of which are not for profit, bring together diverse sets of people to focus their sights (if only for a brief moment in their schedule) and work together to make a difference in their fields. Community association management teams work tirelessly to sustain communications between everyone, recruit and onboard new members, promote events or updates and push calls to action as they arise. And while it takes a village to make a mark, it takes an enthusiastic team of conductors to bring the villagers together.
Association management software provides a centralized hub for organizers and administrations within these collectives. These tools can offer a variety of features related to registration of members, event planning, fundraising and community engagement that make life easier for all involved — as well as accounting, for keeping bucks in a row. They helps thousands manage their community online free of third parties and scribbled scraps of paper lining the office.
In the U.S. alone, there’s a plethora of active professional and trade associations: Everything from the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) to the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Other groups, such as the National Association of Asian American Professionals, empower their members with a supportive network and offer resources to help nurture leadership and success. Though these organizations are many and varied, they’re alike in terms of structure and execution. And whether ten members or ten thousand, proper community management is a crux of the whole shebang.
We’ve assembled some of the top community management tools used by awesome associations to aid in their daily efforts. The following featured products have been reviewed on G2 Crowd by verified users, and reviews are overwhelmingly positive, which is reflected by their star ratings.
Product Name: Fonteva for Associations
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews: 20
Fonteva for Associations is built on the Salesforce cloud, and the inherent benefits include a wealth of support, easy implementation and some of the most trusted technology on the market off which to improve. At an immaculate 4.9 out of 5 stars after 20 reviews, users are clearly winning when they utilize Fonteva in their own organization.
Some of the primary features of the platform include simplistic member management with drag-and-drop reporting, private online member communities, intuitive event management and a complete online fundraising solution. You can watch the software in action through a demo video on the Fonteva website.
Its relationship with Salesforce is a defining aspect of Fonteva for Associations that gives it a number of advantages over other products. This is highlighted in a generous Fonteva for Associations review from Alexander H.
“As a developer/technical consultant, when a customer is mentioning use cases involving ‘customer engagement’ or ‘organize our member base’ the first product that comes to mind is the Fonteva Membership application (now called Fonteva for Associations),” reads the aforementioned review. “This product easily saves me months of development for a product that I couldn’t even compete with. Just like you don’t want to build your own cloud-based CRM product, why build your own customer engagement Salesforce functionality, when someone already did it cheaper, better, less buggy and with a technical support team? Choosing Fonteva’s software is often a no-brainer for my team and my customers.”
Product Name: iMIS
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews: 40
In addition to a being an all-in-one tool for association management, the creators of iMIS promote the tool as a solution for nonprofits, regulatory bodies, public media and ministries. As of press time, iMIS is the only Leader on the Grid® for Association Management, with the high market presence to match its user satisfaction.
The website for Advanced Solutions International (ASI) frames iMIS as a “the world’s #1 member and donor engagement management system (EMS)™,” that will help grow revenue, reduce expenses and improve performance. Reviews from G2 Crowd users are liable to agree. Albert P. said they’ve been using the product for more than 20 years, and wrote in a five-star iMIS review that it’s, “A great database which allows us multiple ways to track our members and their interests.”
Significant users of iMIS include the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) and Country Music Association (CMA), but clients undoubtedly include hundreds of smaller, startup associations. The long list of helpful features included with the platform, as well as instructions on getting a demo version, can be found on the iMIS website.
Product Name: GrowthZone
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews: 11
Minnesota-based GrowthZone dates back 20-some years, developed soon after the parent company’s launch of ChamberMaster, a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution for chambers of commerce. The mission statement of GrowthZone, formerly MemberZone, is threefold:
1. Grow your membership faster with Association Management software.
2. Keep your members engaged. Keep your members longer.
3. Do more in less time.
This comprehensive suite of tools for association professionals includes convenient and secure contact lists, full event creation and management, billing and optimized communication. GrowthZone also offers a flexible mobile application on which organizers can scan business cards to upload contact information, check-in or register event attendees, and process payments.
In a five-star GrowthZone review, Barbara C. wrote, “We love GrowthZone! We have a new employee and she cannot say enough about it. She came from another association and she said this is the best system she has worked with. It has simplified our lives and streamlined so many tasks. From dues invoicing, events, name badges, on-site payments using integrated payment processing to the members database and member information center where members can view their accounts, pay their invoices, see what events and programs they have attended. It all works seamlessly. They also duplicated our website that we had just launched. Mobile apps are awesome.”
The full GrowthZone AMS is available with no contracts, no software to download and a money-back guarantee. If your association is in need of an attention-grabbing website, GrowthZone also offers website design services. (If you need inspiration, check out the Best Friends Animal Society website.)
Product Name: MemberClicks
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews: 22
MemberClicks, a High Performer on the Association Management Grid® alongside Fonteva and GrowthZone, provides a nice collection of case studies on its website featuring clients such as Little People of America and Women of Wind Energy. If you’re still new to membership software, you can download “What Is an AMS,” a helpful introductory guide produced by the Atlanta-based developer. The company also provides excellent free resources titled “Best Practices for Online Member Acquisition” and “Ultimate Guide to Membership Management.” MemberClicks has the appearance of a company that is truly out to make lives easier — not just make a profit.
The software itself comes with several classes of features, from membership databases to email marketing to a content management system (CMS) for association and “members-only” websites. Pricing is tiered based on the number of custom profiles, prospect profiles and emails the association plans to send each month. You can start small depending on the size of your association and upgrade as you see your reach extending. MemberClicks also offers website design packages, and a portfolio of some of their past work can be found here.
Reviewers raved about the MemberClicks support team, which lines up with the “people first” impression left from the free resource guides. In their MemberClicks review, Brandon R. wrote: “MemberClicks’ customer service is what really sets them apart. The entire experience from proposal to implementation to ongoing support is very hands-on. This made for a very easy and smooth transition among team members through the process. Even if I wasn’t talking to the right person about a particular topic, there was NEVER an attitude of ‘not my job.’ The team at MC takes pride in their work and product. It shows in their customer service.”
Product Name: MemberLeap
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews: 11
MemberLeap is advertised as an “all-inclusive and flexible membership management solution for small, medium and large organizations.” Along with all the requisite features of a top association management system, MemberLeap integrates with QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online for ease of accounting. Website design, development and hosting services are also available for purchase. You can schedule a free, guided demo of the platform that takes a unique approach — exploring the backend Admin for a fictional Pastry Chefs of America association. Call it a tour-amisu.
Susie T. wrote in their MemberLeap review that the product is the “best decision we have made.” In another positive MemberLeap review, Tiffany D. wrote: “The MemberLeap software is easy to use and understand and has made managing our non-profit much easier with membership rolls, dues, events, etc. I couldn’t do the daily work we do without it.”
Just because many associations don’t profit does not mean they aren’t serious business. Getting hundreds of adults in a room together and focused on an issue, particularly in these Snapchat times, is a thankless grind that only so many people can handle. Thankfully they have technology like the featured products above at their disposal.
In any community association management is a cornerstone — working overtime to provide meetups and learning opportunities for diverse collections of individuals. If you or someone you know is a leader in your community, association and membership management software can be a building block to inspire, educate and unite around different professions and causes. It takes a village … and behind every great village is a great organizer.
* Please note: Reviews have been edited for spelling and grammar.