My first experience working in nonprofits was an interesting one. I worked for a relatively young nonprofit that operated on a “bring-your-own-device” policy and utilized multiple programs for operations. I was managing store orders through Google Sheets, building labels on Microsoft Publisher, recruiting new members on my own Facebook account, and tracking donors on Salesforce.
When these job functions happened to intersect, the constant switching between separate programs would waste precious time and make my job that much harder.
Many of these functions could’ve easily been managed under a single membership management system, making my job and the jobs of my coworkers more efficient and less mistake prone.
When considering membership management software, there are certain features that you cannot do without, at least not without difficulty. Here are the top five features every membership management software can’t live without.
5. Website/Social Media Management
Online marketing is taking over and it is only continuing to grow.
Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle at Forbes put it best:
“Automated marketing solutions help make consistent, frequent updates to all these channels nearly turn-key, and the data that’s tracked from social media, email marketing and other online strategies offers more than enough of a reason to make it a priority.”
Your membership management software isn’t just made for storing information about members and donors, it is also an invaluable tool to reach out to new people and potential donors. Website and social media management features help turn that information into a seamless data highway when developing online campaigns.
Bridging this gap between membership management means less programs used broadcasting your message online, acquiring donors, and less disconnect between what members want and what is marketed to them.
4. Email Marketing
While working in nonprofits, one of my biggest frustration was having to transfer member lists over to a separate email marketing program. Sometimes names would be lost or duplicated. Sometimes finding the data was the biggest headache, especially when sorting through tons of folders dedicated to member data storage.
I would’ve done anything to have a single system that managed member lists as well as sorted out email marketing.
Email marketing saves you time and effort spent on transferring lists, correcting mistakes made in transfer, and formatting emails to send to members and donors.
3. Payment Processing
Separate payment processing services charge a percent fee (average amount being 2%) for every payment made through them. While this may not seem like a lot at first, these fees can add up and cut into your budget.
In order to solve this issue, some membership software providers, such as NeonCRM and MemberLeap, offer free payment processing as a feature included in their software. This will save you money in the long run as well as further integrate your nonprofit onto a single streamlined system.
2. Dues/Donation Management
Dues and donations are the lifeblood of any nonprofit organization, so it makes sense that managing all of this money would be of such high priority. Your membership management software should not only be able to keep track of those who join, but also those who pay, how much, and when they pay.
Having all of this data available on one software system makes success measurement and reporting that much easier. It sure beats pulling from separate excel spreadsheets and payment software.
1. Member Database
There are things that simply wouldn’t be without certain ingredients. You can’t make fried chicken without chicken, you can’t make a sandwich without bread, and you can’t have membership management software without a member database.
Sure, you could always store your members and donors in Excel spreadsheets and other similar programs, but doing so opens you up to losing data while using it in your day-to-day operations.
Depending on the size of your organization, cloud-based member databases may be the perfect solution for your nonprofit. With cloud-based membership management software, you will be able to rest easy knowing your data is sufficiently protected and always accessible so long as you have an internet connection.
Now that I’ve moved onto bigger and better things in my career, I work in a far more streamlined work environment and it has made all the difference. There are tools and features that I cannot get through a day without using and I would either be severely inconvenienced, if not lost without them.
What have your experiences been with your membership management software? Are there any features you feel like you couldn’t do without? Let us know in the comments below!
Looking for Membership Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Membership Management software solutions.