Inefficient as it sounds today, it was not uncommon in the 1990’s to hear that an association was going to build their own Association Management System (AMS) rather than purchase an existing one. When we heard that, we’d generally put a reminder in our sales tracking system to contact them again in 18 months. By then, most would have spent a lot of money, failed to achieve the goals established by the organization, and lost some or all the technical staff who were working on the project. For those who persevered and were mildly successful, they were still challenged with retaining their key technical talent and keeping the system up to date. By the mid-2000s, you seldom heard of an association taking this approach.
When Gravitate CEO Tim Ward and I released Avectra’s NetForum in 2004, it was not uncommon for an Association Management System (AMS – or sometimes known as a Customer Relationship Management system - CRM), to join the organization’s accounting system and website as the three primary systems that an association needed to successfully operate its business. At the time, we had successfully stamped out most of the data silos that plagued associations in the past.
Early in my career, I was asked by a large scientific society to write a report for them that compared year-over-year and month-over-month membership renewal numbers. They were running a SQL-based association management system (AMS) so I embarked on a journey to write a complex stored procedure to support a Crystal Report. For those of you who have experience writing stored procedures, I had to employ many temporary tables and While Loops to achieve the desired outcome.
I worked for two trade associations – the National Association of Broadcasters and 340B Health – both of which were obsessed with member retention and delivering member value. Not an uncommon pursuit at any association. One of the best ways to illustrate the value you are delivering a member is to show them the Total Member Value (TMV) your organization provides them.
For years the chosen method to demonstate value to members for their dues payment was to provide them a profile report from the Association Management System (AMS), which generally listed all the products and services they received and all the other activities in which they participated. This approach had the following weaknesses:
When we analyzed our Nucleus data across all our clients, we discovered that, on average, the Association Management System (AMS) or Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) comprises less than 20% of our client’s data – and that only includes the systems our clients have asked us to manage. What’s more is that this percentage is falling as data in solutions such as email marketing, web analytics, and social communities grow at a rapid pace.
Topics: Data Governance
I attended Association Trends' AMS Fest June 5-6th in Chicago at the Catalyst Ranch. The facility and its furniture were a little quirky (think: Central Perk Café in the sitcom Friends) but worked well for the size of the group, which was about 160. I enjoyed seeing a lot of old friends and colleagues from the years when Gravitate’s CEO (Tim Ward) and I were developing NetForum while at Avectra. I was also inspired by the technical advances many of the companies discussed and demonstrated.
I just attended my first conference as a member of the Gravitate team – the .orgCommunity Innovation Summit in Chicago.
I’ve known Sherry and Kevin at .orgSource for more than 20 years and it’s fantastic to see what they have built.
Topics: Data Analytics