Optimize Your AMS Experience

Optimize Your AMS Experience

Association management software is one of the biggest financial investments your association makes. It drives the day-to-day of your team across multiple departments and it’s one of the most critical pieces of your ecosystem that drives the member experience. That’s a big deal, right? It’s important that you get the most out of it. 

Since multiple departments depend on the success of your AMS platform, pull them in for a discussion on what they need from the system. With the help of your team and your technology partner, you should be able to walk away with an AMS that delivers – not just for the needs of your staff, but also for your members. 

Examine Your Processes

Do some research and ask your staff what processes are the most frustrating or the most complicated for them. Ask what’s wasting their time. Are they using a certain process because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” or an older system forced them to? Are they manually entering data when it could be automated? Are they correcting entry errors by hand when a little coding could standardize how contact information is displayed?

Ask team members what would happen if you stopped doing something difficult. Would the world stop or is there a better way to tackle those difficult tasks? Once you know what the most frustrating tasks are, brainstorm ways to make them easier.

Ditch Spreadsheets and Personal Databases

Convincing your staff to use an AMS comes down to trust. Your staff members have to trust they can retrieve the information they need from your system. If your previous AMS didn’t perform well and staff members designed new workflows to get the work done, you’ll have to convince them to give up their personal solutions. Replace spreadsheets with well-designed reports. Make sure that your staff members go through all of the training – they’ll feel more comfortable using the platform and you’ll be ensuring you get the most out of your investment.

Review What Data You’re Collecting

Are you collecting the data you need? Can you stop collecting data you don’t need? This sounds like such an easy task – just get rid of what we don’t need. Coming to a consensus about what we don’t need may be harder.

It helps to ask why you’re collecting certain data. For example, if need to know how your membership breaks down by age cohort, collecting birth years might be helpful. Collecting an entire birthdate may not be. We’ve seen examples of members who felt certain data collection was intrusive and many refused to provide personal information.

Your mission will inform your decision to keep or give up data. We’ve seen associations continue to collect data just because they’d been asking for it for years, not because it was necessary. If you aren’t using certain data, discuss why you continue to collect it.

 Consider Ways You Can Grow into the System

As your association grows and develops new programs to offer your members, you may need to add additional apps or integrations to your AMS portfolio. With an innovative AMS, you can expect new functionality to come out often. Make sure to keep an eye out for new functionality launches and examine what they can add to your experience.

It’s important to have a customer success manager that understands the unique needs of your association. They should have a good pulse on all the new features that benefit your organization, and how to best use them. If there are any older functionalities that you’re interested in, ask your CSM how they could serve your organization. 

Partner with an AMS that has strong integration capabilities and an ecosystem of partners – and that keeps a list of their partnerships somewhere that’s easy to access and consume. When your AMS has strong partnerships, it gives you the ability to add new systems to your tech ecosystem and you know that they’ve been well vetted and integrate well with your AMS. 

Invest in Additional or Advanced Training

If there are any areas of the platform that you use infrequently, a quick refresher can give you the confidence you need to make the most out of your investment. Bonus points if your AMS provider has an on-demand library of training videos that you can revisit anytime you need without having to pay training fees. 

If there’s something you need a deeper dive on, contact your customer success manager and ask for a member of their team to do a walkthrough. Remember, customer success should be ongoing. 


Your AMS is the foundation for the technology that can help you manage your association. Small-staff associations can greatly increase their staff reach with well-chosen technology and large-staff organizations can multiply their services with it.

We recommend that you approach technology selection, implementation, and use from an evolving perspective. What works today may not work in two years, but with thoughtful assessments, you can ensure your technology stack provides efficient, useful tools so your association can serve its mission.

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