Not-for-profit organisations have a very particular set of challenges when serving their members. Primarily, they need to provide the same high levels of service that people expect from commercial companies. But whether they are trade unions or charities, the responsibility to be financially prudent with member subscriptions and associated services also requires them to achieve this with fewer resources and less waste. This means that the association management system (AMS) at the heart of their operation needs to simplify every process and delete as many manual actions as possible; all while offering a streamlined, personalised service to members. Integrations provide the most flexible and cost-effective way to accomplish this but it’s important to select the right areas on which to focus.
- Integrated payment solutions are critical because they minimise any friction between a member wishing to pay and the organisation receiving that money in its bank account. Whilst robust security is now an entry-level requirement, the way that the integration performs can also tell a member lots about how an organisation values the transaction. A simple interface, seamless user experience, clear confirmations and receipts can all help to build confidence around professionalism and financial governance, much like that provided by our ClearCourse partners, ClearAccept.
- The integration of identification and verification software can also have a significant brand building effect. Systems such as those provided by our ClearCourse partner, Fetchify, can auto-complete addresses, manage postcode lookups and validate phone numbers, email addresses and banking details. They simplify and enhance the user experience and help the member to know that their data is being properly checked and cared for.
- The integration with an organisation’s website is another area where the user journey can be improved whilst also minimising management time within back-office systems. From the member perspective, being guided seamlessly between the brochure pages and the transactional self-service journeys such as member joining/renewal and event booking are an area that is expected by members in 2021. Being able to accommodate this while also serving all other aspects of content management, tracking and analytics can be transformational for the organisations’ workload and strategic insight.
- Similar benefits are delivered via the integration of marketing tools such as automated emails, digital promotions and confirmational SMS messages. Whilst traditionally these were considered relatively blunt instruments, the intelligent segmentation opportunities provided by seamless integration can allow behavioural data to be analysed to maximise response rates while also simplifying the process of sending and responding.
- The fifth integration we’d recommend prioritising is learner management software. A recent survey by one of our partners found that 48% of members who belonged to a membership organisation gave career development as the primary reason for joining. Addressing this need with a sophisticated professional development offering is an excellent way to attract, engage and continually provide value for members. But doing so without a robust technical integration in place is also an astronomical drain on resources, so it is important to continually survey members to understand the exact benefits that would be of value to them.
The purpose of any good AMS or CRM is to provide levels of service, personalisation and value to members that would otherwise be impossible with the organisation’s available resources. And while members’ needs continue to broaden, their expectations for a seamless user experience also grow with every new software update from tech giants such as Apple or Android. Selecting a flexible membership management solution and applying integrations such as those listed above is the best way for NFPs to achieve more with less.