Handling all the administrative tasks for a nonprofit association or club can be exhausting, particularly if you’re not using the right tools. Managing your organization with spreadsheets or paper files involves time-consuming manual data entry and is prone to errors.
Membership management software can come in a variety of forms, but the most common is a cloud-based platform that allows you to handle many member-focused tasks online, including collecting personal details, processing applications, taking payments, and more.
The software stores all of your member information in a centralized database that is easy to search and edit, so you can spend less time on admin work and more time growing your organization’s membership. To help you choose the right software for your organization, this post will introduce you to five of the most popular options.
5 top membership management software solutions
Wild Apricot is an all-in-one membership platform: You can update your member database, build a website, and set up event pages without the hassle of connecting multiple tools.
“Wild Apricot features impressive automation when it comes to admin tasks, such as handling membership applications and renewals and sending notices, reminders, and receipts to members,” says Daniel Carter, founder of Zippy Electrics.
You can save hours of work each week by setting up your system to automate everyday tasks, including emailing confirmations to event attendees, sending thank-you notes to donors, and setting up recurring payments for member renewals.
With Hivebrite, you can create membership plans and accept applications, but the main value is in the community management features. “Hivebrite has an advanced, all-in-one community management and engagement platform that helps you build brand engagement,” explains Aaron Simmons, founder of Test Prep Genie.
To encourage your community to network, you can create subgroups for like-minded members to post information or organize events. Members can search your directory by location or expertise, set up mentoring, and privately message each other directly through Hivebrite. You can also add a job board so members can share and apply to opportunities.
For both staff and members, paper forms can be a nightmare. They take longer to complete and require people to mail them or drop them off in person, and then your staff has to decipher the handwriting on them.
Whether you need to get updated contact information from existing members or collect a full membership application, you can build your forms from scratch to gather the exact information you need.
Once your forms are ready, you can share the links with members in emails or embed your forms directly into your existing website with a few clicks.
Jotform integrates with more than 30 popular payment providers, including PayPal and Square, so you can securely connect forms to your chosen gateway and take online payments for membership dues, donations, and event tickets.
GrowthZone is membership management software specifically designed to help associations grow.
As well as handling your membership directory, event listings, and payments, GrowthZone offers the option to add advanced features, like marketing automation with email drip campaigns or certification tracking and management for ongoing education.
These modules mean you can adapt the platform to suit your association, but it’s worth remembering that the additional features come at a cost.
GrowthZone also allows you to handle association business when you’re away from your desk — with the free Staff App, you can check in event attendees, take event payments, and scan business cards to upload contact data.
“memberplanet is an extremely easy-to-use platform,” says Brack Nelson, marketing manager of Incrementors Web Solutions. “It certainly is a one-stop shop for all information — from group texting to mass emailing, fundraising and payment collection, membership, and event management tools.”
If you work with a charity that relies on fundraising, take a look at memberplanet’s robust donation features. You can quickly launch a fundraising campaign by customizing a donation site template or adding the donation campaign widget to your existing site. You can also encourage peer-to-peer fundraising — members can set up personalized donation pages on the platform to share with their connections.
Switching between membership management software solutions can involve a steep learning curve, so take the time to choose a platform that will continue supporting your organization as you grow.
Look for providers that offer resources and technical support that will help your staff and volunteers get the most from the features. And, if possible, try each platform out for yourself with a free trial or demo before you make a decision.