Higher Logic Blog

How to Engage Members Using Your Member Database

Written by Joshua Paul | February 24, 2011 at 1:30 PM

This was the second slide in a presentation led by DelCor and designDATA during last year's ASAE annual meeting entitled, "Selecting an AMS/CRM - Audience Shootout for Medium to Large Associations". While later in the presentation, they laid out why this is not the case, it was an acknowledgement that large and mid-sized associations want more from their member database software.

In the session, the expert panel of association executives also confirmed that larger associations don't want association management systems that can run every aspect of their organization. They recognize that this leads to one company doing a lot of things fairly instead of doing a few things really well. More often than not, larger associations are looking to integrate best-of-breed systems in each area with their member database.

Their boards, staff, and members demand more than a back-end database and a website where members can update their contact information and renew their membership. Here are ten ways that larger organizations are integrating member-facing features on top of their AMS database:

  1. Learning Management Software
  2. Member Engagement Platforms
    • Member self service
    • Online communities and groups
    • Chapter microsites
    • Forums and listservs
    • Public and private social networks
    • Event management systems
    • Blogs and articles
    • File and media libraries
    • Wikis
    • Group and committee calendaring
    • State and national legislative tracking
    • Grassroots lobbying and advocacy
    • Content management
    • Surveys, voting, and polls
  3. Email Marketing Systems
  4. Online Stores and Shopping Carts
  5. Vendor and Advertising Programs
  6. Job Boards
  7. Abstract Management
  8. Fundraising
  9. Analytics Engines
  10. Mobile Apps

The good news for larger associations is that most of the major association management software providers, such as Aptify, Avecta, TMA Resources, Daxko, and iMIS, have modern APIs that can easily connect with other software to extend their functionality.

The list above was compiled from dozens of large associations. Keep in mind that not all of these member-facing features fit all organizations. Start by establishing your association's member engagement objectives and developing your strategy. Then, find the tools and technology that lets you implement the functionality that best supports your organization's goals, staff, and members.

How has your association extended its member database to better engage members?