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Finding the Best Association Management Software: A 2024 Guide

9 min read
March 29, 2024
Neon One Staff
Choosing the right association management software can be critical for your organization and its members.

There’s a lot more to managing a membership association than simply tracking member records and payments. Every interaction with a supporter builds a story about your organization’s impact on their life. Unfortunately, when you only track names, addresses, and membership status, that story can fall a little flat. 

That’s where association management software (AMS) comes in. With the right system, you can track and analyze more member data, craft personalized communication and forms, and even free up more time for one-to-one member interactions by automating time-consuming tasks.

Don’t know where to start? That’s perfect. In this shopper’s guide to association management software, we’ll cover some key  features of the best association management systems and review seven of the most popular AMS solutions available. 

What is Association Management Software?

Association management software is a database tool that nonprofits and associations use to track  their membership rosters and engage their members. 

By helping staffers automate various administrative tasks, association management software can give them more time for managing relationships with members and creating a more active membership base.

The capabilities of an association management software can vary based on which solution you choose. But using most association management tools comes with the benefits of less manual data entry and, in turn, less human error.

Key Association Management Software Features

Your options for association management software will run the gamut from simple databases to complex, comprehensive solutions. And which one you choose will depend on your organization’s needs and resources. 

Just remember: With the right system features at your disposal, you can control all parts of member engagement and improve your processes and communications with the information you gain. 

As you research association management software options, here are nine key features to keep an eye out for for: 

FeatureFunction
Member DatabaseAssociation management software needs data to work. An integrated member database will allow you to use all of the features effectively.
Communication ToolsYou need to keep in regular contact with your members so they’ll stay engaged with your organization. Your association management software should make that easy with tools for email management, event reminders, automated workflows, registrations, and member contacts. 
Member PortalSelf-service options for members are very important. Your software should include a portal where members can access exclusive features, pay renewal fees, register for events, and connect with other community members.
Analytics & ReportingAnalytics and reporting are central to improving your performance and reaching your goals. The ability to track engagement metrics like event attendance, email open rates, and other membership activities will help you improve your future outreach efforts.
PersonalizationGeneric mass emails that aren’t customized for the recipient aren’t as effective as targeted, personalized messages. Good association management software will allow you to customize your messages based on your constituents’ membership type, activity, participation level, or other factors.
AutomationAutomated tools can help you with things like sending emails and receipts, setting tasks, and tracking renewals and other member retention activities. The right association management software will allow you to set triggers in your system that will kick off these automated tasks. For example, a new member registration might schedule a series of welcome emails, or an approaching renewal deadline could trigger a reminder message.
Cloud-BasedCloud-based association management solutions allow you to work with others in real time while ensuring your membership information is secure and accessible. It’s also much easier to manage peer-to-peer fundraising and integration with other programs like Eventbrite or MailChimp. 
CustomizableCustomizability is a critical tool in association management software because it makes it possible to manage data based on organization-specific categories. It also makes personalized communication easier, as you can track small details that are unique to your members.
Scalable: As an organization grows, so does its database. The platform you choose should support your organization as it grows, allowing it to scale up members, records, users, and other finite features as needed. The simplest solutions bill based on your organization’s revenue, making the cost far more predictable.

7 Top Association Management Systems (Updated 2024)

With all the available association management platforms, it can be hard to narrow down the right choice for your organization. There are a whole bunch of factors that go into finding the pairing—from ease-of-use to overall capability to (of course) cost. 

To help you find the right association management system for your organization, here are some quick capsule reviews for seven of the most popular platforms in the space—with information on their feature set, price, and some elements you may want to consider while you shop.

1. Neon CRM for Associations

Neon CRM for Associations is our solution for member management and engagement. It includes a membership database and all the tools needed to communicate with and engage constituents. We also offer robust reporting and membership tracking along with automated workflow and communication features. This is an excellent tool for midsized and rapidly growing organizations.

Price

Neon CRM follows a revenue-based billing model to allow flexibility for growing organizations. Our base plan for a small organization starts at $109 a month.

Key Features 

  • Membership management tools
  • Unlimited forms and templates
  • Unlimited records
  • Unlimited users
  • Optional website builder
  • Payment processing
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Customizable features and dashboards
  • Email tools
  • Personalization tools
  • Automated workflows
  • Revenue-based billing
  • Extensive integrations 

Drawbacks 

Costs can be higher for enterprise-level organizations and some of our more advanced features have a bit of a learning curve, though support is always available to help.

2. MemberSuite

MemberSuite is a comprehensive solution to association management, combining member management tools with e-commerce and accounting software. This cloud-based platform is focused on midsize to large associations. 

Price

Pricing requires a quote, though the company website notes that plans start at $2,000 per month.

Key Features 

  • Membership management
  • E-commerce support
  • Custom branding features
  • Accounting software
  • Reporting and analytics 
  • Comprehensive management 

Drawbacks 

The $2,000 minimum prices out just about all but the largest associations. However, for those enterprise organizations that can afford it, this is an all-in-one solution.

3. Wild Apricot

Wild Apricot is a well-known name in association management software. It offers a range of tools for member management, communication, events, and more. It’s targeted at small to medium-sized organizations.

Price

Wild Apricot bases its pricing on contacts. Personal plans of up to 100 contacts start at $48 per month, and larger enterprise-level plans with 15,000 contacts start at $420 per month.

Key Features

  • Event management
  • Website builder
  • Payment processing
  • Email marketing
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Customizable membership forms and invoices
  • Free trial 

Drawbacks 

Users of Wild Apricot have mentioned limited customization options in the website builder as well as a shortage of integrations, reporting, and analytics.

On the Hunt for a CRM? Considering Wild Apricot? Explore our side-by-side comparison to see which platform would be best for your organization.
On the Hunt for a CRM? Considering Wild Apricot? Explore our side-by-side comparison to see which platform would be best for your organization.

4. NimbleAMS

Nimble AMS offers member management, e-commerce, reporting, and other tools for running midsize to large associations. This cloud-based system is built on Salesforce and offers automation, ongoing upgrades, artificial intelligence integrations, and other advanced features.  

Price

Quotes for Nimble AMS are based on the specific needs of the organization and require a quote.

Key Features 

  • Member management
  • Event management
  • E-commerce
  • Website building tools 
  • Extensive integrations 
  • AI and automation tools

Drawbacks 

This platform can reportedly be expensive for small organizations. Users also report difficulty in setting up the software for the first time and migrating data.

5. Novi AMS

Novi AMS bills itself as a platform “built for associations by associations”. This cloud-based solution offers a wide range of member and event management features, as well as reporting, eCommerce, and financial management. 

Price

Novi AMS bills its clients based on their annual revenue. The lowest plan is for associations that make less than $400,000 annually, with a base price of $719 per month along with the $2,995 onboarding fee. 

Key Features 

  • Member database
  • Events management
  • Mobile friendly design
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Communication tools
  • eCommerce 

Drawbacks 

Novi AMS can be an expensive tool for smaller organizations. Users also report limitations as far as reporting and analytics.

6. CiviCRM

CiviCRM is one of the few open-source solutions on the market—which means that the source code of the platform has been made publicly available. This free option helps nonprofits manage their contacts, outreach, events, and more. This is a solution that’s best for organizations that have existing in-house technical talent.  

Price

CiviCRM’s base plan is free but users can customize it by purchasing additional modules separately. 

Key Features 

  • Contact management
  • Event management
  • Grant management
  • Free to use open source software 
  • Customizable features
  • Easily accessible documentation and support
  • CMS integrations with WordPress, Drupal, and more

Drawbacks 

This may be challenging for organizations without a lot of technical knowledge or support. Costs can increase quickly as modules and features are added.

7. MemberClicks

The final solution on our list is another cloud-based option designed for small and midsized associations. This provides basic association management tools as well as website-building support. There are also additional modules and features organizations can add.

Price

MemberClicks adapts its pricing based on the association, with plans starting at $4,500 annually.

Key Features 

  • Event management
  • Email marketing
  • Payment processing
  • Mobile-friendly design
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Website support
  • Customized pricing 

Drawbacks 

Users have reported challenges with the website builder, and pricing may be too high for smaller organizations.

Why Neon One’s Association CRM Stands Out 

As you move through the association software buying process, make sure you keep this article bookmarked. While finding the best system for your organization will depend on a ton of factors, you’ll never go wrong by simply weighing features against cost. 

Then again, if you really want to make buying a new system easy on yourself, you can just take our (only slightly biased) word for it and choose Neon CRM for Associations.

With Neon CRM, you can do more than merely track your members’ information; our system includes the tools you need to create beautiful membership enrollment and renewal forms, automate workflows, create a storefront, and send personalized emails—all within a single platform. 

Neon CRM for Associations is association management software that empowers your organization to attract, engage, and members. To learn more, sign up for one of our 30-minute group demos. You’ll get a full overview of what Neon CRM can do—with zero pressure to buy. 

Just click the button below to sign up. We’ll see you there!

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