With so many membership management software choices, it can be difficult to choose the best one for you. We understand moving to a new membership software is both an investment in time and money. To help you make the most of your resources here are 5 common pitfalls to avoid when evaluating options so you can be confident in your choice.
Depending on Future Software Upgrades
When you look at a software system it may be that they tell you they are planning to add in a certain feature that you need. It is important to know that development projects can sometimes take longer than expected or turn out differently than originally imagined. That is why we always recommend that people evaluate our software on the way it currently is, not on features planned for the future.
Relying on Feature Lists
Feature lists are a great place to start, but they can often be misleading. A listed feature may not work the way you envision or need it to. For example, a membership software provider lists that it has a feature for member and guest event tickets. However the software limits the event registrant to choosing just one type of ticket when completing the registration form, which does not allow a member to register themselves and bring guests on a single registration. Such limitations are not obvious when simply comparing feature lists.
The best way to know if a feature works how you’d like is to try or test it yourself, or have someone demo or walkthrough the feature with you. Compile a list of those features that are important to you and your members, then evaluate how the software implements each feature and whether would work for your organization.
If you are scheduling a demo with us, emailing us the list before your demo will allow us to design the demo around your needs, that will help you get the most from your time.
Expecting to Keep the Same Membership Workflow
If you’ve been working with a software for a long time, you probably know it backwards and forwards. You’ve got your processes set and know exactly where to go to find the information you want. This can sometimes lead people to look for the same exact workflow with the new software that they follow with their current solution.
Remember that there is a reason you’re leaving your current solution. You are looking for a new software that has added features or does some things differently. When moving to a different membership software, the workflow will be different. That may not be a bad thing. Be open to learning and developing new ways to accomplish your daily goals, and you may find that the new process is better or faster overall.
Some organizations are tempted to think that hiring a developer or firm to create a custom solution will help them maintain the workflow they want while also improving upon their current challenges. Custom membership software development is almost never a good idea as it’s difficult to anticipate all of the issues that can arise.
Mistaking the Sales Person for the Product
I went to a job interview once that I thought was going really well. At the end the interviewer said that while on a personal level he had really enjoyed talking with me and would like to hire me, in reality I just wasn’t the right fit. I was disappointed at the time as I needed a job and thought he would have been a great boss. But he was completely right, I was not a good fit for the position and if I had been hired we would have both been unhappy in the future.
As you listen to demos there will be some people you really make a connection with. Make sure as you’re evaluating the software that you judge it by how well it will meet your needs and not how engaging the demo was.
Choosing a Solution that Relies on a Volunteer
I once worked for a chamber whose website was absolutely beautiful but displayed information that was woefully out of date. One of the board members had a tech company and they had designed the website and managed it on a volunteer basis.
This was absolutely great in the beginning but by the time I was brought on board that board member had become busy and no longer had time to make updates. No one else understood the software and there was no training available so the website continued to provide outdated information until another one was designed.
Board members, volunteers and employees will come and go. Having a membership management system that is easy for new people to take over is a key to long term success. Choosing a software that offers free training to your new employees and volunteers will help your organization’s long term success in managing your members.