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Good professional and trade associations can bring a lot of value to their members. They provide wonderful networking opportunities, relevant training and education, great vendor discounts, and one strong voice powered by the strength of all the members. They also send the message that the companies and individuals who are members are trustworthy.

Even with all this going for them, many associations tend to be too idle when it comes to staying current with the latest technology and, according to the post, 5 Technology Trends Every Association Exec Should Follow, investing in exceptional talent. But this is a huge disservice to association members and their businesses.

Two of the most important things association leaders can invest in to avoid becoming complacent, and outdated, are member engagement and a good Association Management System.

Association Management System

In the simplest sense, your Applicant Management System (AMS) is computer software that enables you to collect, store and track information, as well as provide members with your information and services. With the right system, however, it becomes a way to generate interest, connect with members often and cultivate relationships.

It’s important to select an AMS that is built on an open platform that is highly configurable so you can continue to add or modify options as your needs change. In addition to being able to spread out costs over a longer time period, the great thing about investing in a platform that allows you to add on stand-alone products at your convenience is that you don’t have to have all the answers about what you need before you actually know what you need.

While you may find that your specific needs change and grow, one constant will be the ease of use.  Be sure you have an AMS that emphasizes quick data search, sort and retrieval, easy administration and dynamic web capabilities.

Member Engagement

A good AMS will also be pivotal in successfully engaging association members. With one system that collects and contains all member information and activity, you can analyze the data to adapt your focus.

Stay aware of what members really want and need. Provide the kind of information, assistance and services that help them solve problems and address their concerns. And do it in a variety of ways so you capture their attention and continue to keep them interested.

When you know your audience, you can actively engage with them through regular emails, video posts and seminars, social media and virtual communities. Many options for staying connected can be automated through your AMS while still conveying a personal feeling. The key is to keep in touch and continue to provide significant information and resources your members find valuable.

Engaged members use association services, provide feedback, are active in online forums, attend meetings, network with other members, offer suggestions and ideas, and are advocates of the association.

And, an added benefit of having engaged members and a great AMS is that you will have plenty of information available, at your fingertips, to search for potentially great talent to add to the association’s leadership or administrative team.

There are many great options available to help you keep your association current and valuable. If you’re not sure where to start, or have questions about improving your current association management strategy, please visit, call us at 888-280-0808 or email

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