Your association is responsible for creating engagement opportunities—from continuing education courses to conferences and events—to help your members grow in their careers and meet like-minded professionals in related fields. Association management encompasses all activities related to achieving these goals, including program development, member communications, and recruitment.
All of the processes that comprise association management are easier for your team and much more helpful for your members when you have the right software solutions on your side.
Most of the software solutions your association will consider implementing are designed to excel in one or a few key functions. That’s why your best option is often to choose several software systems that are the best in their specialized fields and integrate them. This way, your association will have all the tools you need to provide both your staff and your members with the best possible experience.
Let’s take a look at some of the top software options available to you when it comes to facilitating the most essential aspects of association management:
- Learning Management System (LMS) Software for Associations
- Association Management System (AMS) Software for Associations
- Advocacy Software for Associations
- Data Analytics Software for Associations
- Proposal & Abstract Management Software for Associations
- Community Software for Associations
- Marketing Automation Software for Associations
- Conference & Events Software for Associations
One of the most effective ways your association can help your members develop as professionals is by providing them opportunities to learn new knowledge and skills via continuing education courses. These opportunities begin with the right learning management system to suit your members’ needs.
1. Best LMS Software for Associations
CourseStage LMS by Web Courseworks: Overview of this Association Software
CourseStage LMS by Web Courseworks is a fully customizable association learning management system designed to address the educational needs of learners working in a variety of fields. CourseStage makes it easy for your association to create engaging course content for your members, track their progress, and provide them with the certifications they need to advance in their professions.
Designed to make the learning process as enjoyable as it is helpful for your members, CourseStage LMS encourages participation through:
- Customizable courses and modules. Ensure that your association’s members are learning and being evaluated on the most important content for each topic with fully customizable courses and modules. If you create a particularly successful module and want to incorporate parts of it into a future course, you’ll be able to save, update, and reuse it.
- Personalized learning experiences. The most effective learning experiences are those that are tailored to your individual members’ needs. CourseStage LMS offers adaptive quizzes and customized exam feedback so that learners know where they’re excelling and understand how they can improve in other areas of the course.
- Social learning options. Discussion boards and live chat options help learners engage more deeply with their course material and gain new perspectives through interaction with their fellow members. Additionally, CourseStage LMS facilitates registration for live learning events and allows you to upload materials afterward for learners who were unable to attend in person.
Using interactive elements such as drag-and-drop experiences, multimedia features, and learning games, CourseStage makes learning fun and encourages members to keep expanding their skills through subsequent courses.
Why CourseStage by Web Courseworks Stands Out
No matter the current size of your association, CourseStage can expand to meet your needs. You won’t have to purchase additional custom features. CourseStage integrates with your AMS, CRM, event management software, and other important tools to make managing your members’ continuing education credits and records even easier.
Blue Sky eLearn: Overview of this Association Software
Blue Sky eLearn is a learning management solution focused primarily on webinars and virtual events. Through Blue Sky eLearn, your members can purchase courses, register for events, and complete evaluations.
Within the LMS, your members will be able to:
- Access content from any device. Mobile-optimized content means that your members can watch webinars and complete courses wherever they may be. Your LMS administrators also have access to the content on desktop, mobile, and tablet devices.
- Purchase and complete courses branded to your organization. Branded courses and optional white labeling for your entire Blue Sky eLearn LMS encourage members to access courses through your familiar association website.
- Marketing and eCommerce opportunities. Boost your association’s revenue by selling courses to members, offering discounts and group rates to incentivize purchases.
Additionally, Blue Sky eLearn offers unlimited storage through its cloud-based technology. This way, your association can create and distribute multimedia content such as webinars without worrying about data overages.
Why Blue Sky eLearn Stands Out
Blue Sky eLearn integrates with several of the most popular webinar tools, making it easy for your members to find, register for, and participate in these educational resources. These integration capabilities make Blue Sky eLearn an effective choice for a webinar-focused continuing education program.
CommPartners: Overview of this Association Software
CommPartners’ Elevate Learning Management System is another webinar-focused LMS that also offers social learning options. Elevate LMS helps your association create a digital library of uploaded content from past conferences, webinars, and other live learning opportunities.
Elevate LMS helps your association:
- Livestream events. Conferences and events provide excellent learning opportunities for members, but not everyone is always able to attend, especially within larger associations. Make event content accessible to all your members by streaming them.
- Produce webinars. If your continuing education program largely comprises webinars, Elevate LMS offers professional production services to make this content even more valuable to your members.
- Host virtual conferences. Bring your members together wherever they may be to share in the conference experience, discussing the presented material with other attendees and engaging with exhibitors and sponsors.
Your association understands how valuable conferences and similar events are for your members. Elevate LMS makes it possible for more of them to attend and benefit from these learning opportunities.
Why CommPartners Stands Out
If your association’s continuing education strategy is largely focused on conferences and webinars, Elevate LMS can help you engage more members by improving the production of your video content and distributing it more widely.
2. Top Association Management Software for Associations
Personify: Overview of this Association Software
Association management software helps your organization provide your members with opportunities tailored to their professional needs and interests by gathering relevant information that you can incorporate into your programming. Personify’s robust AMS and community tools keep member data accessible, organized, and updated.
Personify offers your association:
- Cross-channel membership management tools. Keep track of your member data across all the channels you use to engage with them and store updated information in a robust AMS.
- eCommerce features. Boost your association’s revenue with an eCommerce system designed to help you appeal to your members and other supporters. Personify’s consulting services will help your association set up a successful platform.
- A cloud-based solution. Keeping your software solution and all of the data it contains accurate and refreshed is easier when your software system updates automatically without requiring you to purchase and install additional components.
Why Personify Stands Out
Personify’s Studio allows you to customize everything your members see when they login to your AMS, from the layout of their screens to the notifications they receive. This makes it easier to ensure that they’re receiving the most pertinent communications and other information related to their membership.
For associations using Salesforce as their member database, Fonteva Membership is one of the most convenient and effective AMS solutions available. Fonteva is a native Salesforce app built directly onto the CRM, so all of the data you already have stored is automatically transferred into the AMS.
In addition to being native to Salesforce, Fonteva Membership offers:
- An event management platform. Register members for events, combine registration with eCommerce opportunities and share event agendas using micro-sites. Because registrants won’t need to input data already stored in your CRM again, the registration process becomes more efficient.
- Engagement tools for member communities. Especially within large associations, it can be difficult for all members to benefit from in-person opportunities such as conferences and events. Fonteva’s member community tools allow leaders of committees, regional chapters, and other subgroups to communicate with their members, host events, and more.
- Automated communications. Ensure that your members never miss communications regarding dues payments, upcoming events, or other news about your association by sending automated emails to all of your members or select groups.
Why Fonteva Stands Out
Because Fonteva Membership is built on Salesforce, associations already using this popular CRM will be able to put all of the member data they already have stored to good use. Additionally, Fonteva integrates with many supplementary software systems that help you provide more opportunities for your members.
iMIS by ASI: Overview of this Association Software
iMIS by ASI is another cloud-based association management solution that’s also used by many nonprofits. iMIS integrates with many email automation platforms and member community software solutions to strengthen communications between your members and your association.
iMIS provides your association with:
- Contact management features. Track the number of contacts your association has engaged over defined periods of time to chart your progress and develop new ways of connecting with members.
- Certification capabilities. Develop the criteria for certification programs and track your members’ progress toward achieving their credentials or licenses.
- Self-service portals. Members can help your association ensure your data is updated by making changes to their information themselves through their individual self-service portals.
Why iMIS by ASI Stands Out
The donation acceptance and fundraising features included with iMIS make this association management software solution a particularly good choice for nonprofits and other organizations that accept contributions and gifts from members and supporters.
3. Top Advocacy Software for Associations
Muster: Overview of this Association Software
Intuitive, user-friendly advocacy software lets associations hit the ground running, reach out to supporters, and influence policy. Muster’s advocacy software gives associations the tools they need to organize their supporters, launch campaigns, and track their results, all in one place.
Muster’s advocacy platform gives associations access to:
- Unlimited campaigns. Launch campaigns that reach out to elected officials at the level of government that fits your cause without your software imposing limits on who you can connect with.
- Customizable action alerts. Stay in touch with your supporters and get them mobilized through action alerts, urging them to reach out to their representatives through email, phone calls, social media, and direct mail.
- Real-time engagement analytics. Determine both the open and response rate of individual messages sent by supporters and the effectiveness of your campaigns as a whole.
Why Muster Stands Out
Muster’s software equips associations with a user-friendly database of legislative officials at all levels of government, allowing grassroots movements to find elected officials at every level of government with intuitive search features. In combination with Muster’s customizable action alerts, associations can direct their supporters to start advocating while immediately gathering data to ensure they’re running the most effective campaigns possible.
4. Top Data Analytics Software for Associations
Acumen by Association Analytics : Overview of this Association Software
Comprehensive and up-to-date reports help your association better understand how your members are interacting with your programming and other offerings. Acumen by Association Analytics allows your association to generate reports without needing a full-time IT staff.
Acumen’s hosted analytics platform offers:
- Visual analytics. Easy to use and understand, visual analytics help every member of your team understand the most important trends and patterns related to your association.
- The right modules for your association. Simplify your team’s process by selecting the modules your association needs, including event and email marketing options. As your association grows, you can easily add additional modules.
- Built-in integrations with your other software solutions. Continue using your current AMS, event registration platform, communication tools, and accounting software by integrating these solutions with Acumen.
Why Acumen by Association Analytics Stands Out
It’s likely that most of your team of association professionals aren’t experienced tech professionals. Acumen’s hosted solution means that they handle generating the reports so that your team can focus on analyzing them and making better decisions for your members.
Nucleus by Gravitate Solutions: Overview of this Association Software
Every member of your association’s team benefits from understanding reports about your members because your entire team contributes to your members’ success. Nucleus by Gravitate Solutions is a data analytics platform that everyone can understand and use.
Some of the top features of Nucleus include:
- Easy setup and interface. Nucleus requires essentially no training to use, and your team members can access reports using a simple, mobile-responsive interface.
- Real-time goal tracking. See progress happening wherever you may be by tracking the goals you set in real time.
- Integrations. Pre-built connectors allow Nucleus to gather data from the other association management solutions you’re using.
Why Nucleus by Gravitate Solutions Stands Out
Nucleus provides cross-system reporting, allowing your team to view data from all of the systems you use in a single place that’s easy to access and use. This solution simplifies the process of gathering the information you need to make data-driven decisions for your members.
5. Top Proposal and Abstract Management Software for Associations
The Planstone Group: Overview of this Association Software
Conferences and events are highly valuable opportunities for your members to interact with others working in their fields and make professional connections. The Planstone Group provides associations with a highly customizable conference management software solution that is branded to your organization.
Planstone integrates with your AMS, CRM, and website platform to help your association create sessions and presentations for your next conference. You’ll be able to:
- Collect abstracts. Planstone guides your speakers through the abstract submission process and automates communications with them to save your team time.
- Review submitted abstracts. The program is designed to make the review process efficient and seamless, even for large conferences with many abstracts to review.
- Create sessions. Transform submitted abstracts into presentations and other valuable sessions for your attendees with multiple easy options for forming grouped and individual sessions.
Why The Planstone Group Stands Out
In addition to its abstract management capabilities, The Planstone Group’s software solutions also facilitate speaker management, continuing education evaluations, and credit tracking for your members.
OpenWater: Overview of this Association Software
OpenWater is an abstract management solution that also helps your association review submissions for grants and other awards. Using OpenWater, your association can review abstracts, group them into sessions, and create an agenda for your attendees.
Some of OpenWater’s top features include:
- A customizable review process. Set up the criteria your association is looking for before your team begins reviewing abstracts so that you know exactly what to look for.
- A schedule builder. Once you’ve grouped your abstracts into sessions, you can use OpenWater’s calendar to order the sessions and create a schedule for your event.
- Mobile tools. Both your team and your attendees can use OpenWater via their smartphones. OpenWater’s app provides attendees with access to the event schedule offline.
Why OpenWater Stands Out
OpenWater integrates with major AMS and CRM solutions including Personify, iMIS, and Salesforce, helping to keep your member database updated and saving your team time by speeding up the data entry process.
6. Top Community Software for Associations
Higher Logic: Overview of this Association Software
Higher Logic facilitates the creation of an online member community that allows your members to learn from one another while staying connected to your association. Higher Logic’s community software is designed to boost your association’s member engagement, membership numbers, and revenue.
Higher Logic benefits your organization by offering:
- A central location for members-only content. Make your association a source of knowledge for professionals in your field or industry and attract new members with content that addresses your members’ interests and needs.
- A fully mobile-responsive website. Members can access their online community whether they’re using their mobile, tablet, or desktop devices.
- Advertising capabilities. Advertising is an effective means by which your association can increase non-dues revenue to support the opportunities you offer your members.
Why Higher Logic Stands Out
Higher Logic’s protected member-shared content helps transform your member community into a valuable source of industry knowledge, making membership in your association beneficial to anyone working in your field.
Small World Labs by Personify: Overview of this Association Software
Small World Labs is a solution offered by Personify, a popular choice for association management systems. Small World Labs encourages your members to share content and collaborate to accomplish goals.
Small World Labs’ top features include:
- Member communication options. Member forums, groups, and blogs all provide opportunities to share information relevant to your association and the field or industry in which you operate.
- Gamification tools. Badges, contests, and leaderboards encourage sharing and member interaction, making participation in your association fun.
- Multimedia elements. Photos, videos, and other multimedia elements give members a strong sense of your association’s mission and values. They’re also an excellent educational resource.
Why Small World Labs by Personify Stands Out
Small World Labs integrates with Personify360 or your association’s CRM, making it easy to keep member data organized and up-to-date without having to resort to manual reentry.
7. Top Marketing Automation Software for Associations
Highroad Solutions: Overview of this Association Software
Highroad Solutions helps your association grow your member base and increase engagement among your current members by keeping them updated via automated communications and email marketing. Highroad Solutions takes a custom approach to each association’s specific marketing and outreach needs.
Associations using Highroad Solutions will benefit from:
- Marketing automation. Automate communications tailored to different groups of recipients, from potential members thinking of joining your association to the attendees at your most recent event.
- Email marketing. Emails are an efficient and effective means of staying in touch with your members and keeping them updated on your association’s current offerings. You can customize automated emails before sending them, saving your team time.
- Integrations with your AMS. Highroad Solutions integrates with the most popular AMS solutions so that you have automatic access to useful member data such as email addresses.
Why Highroad Solutions Stands Out
Highroad Solutions provides your association with expert support in the form of consultation before you implement your automation programs and email campaigns, helping you create strategies for success before reaching out to your members.
Higher Logic: Overview of this Association Software
In addition to its member community features, Higher Logic offers marketing automation features that allow your association to create targeted campaigns and automate recurring processes. Higher Logic combines community-building features with effective marketing techniques to reach your members where they already are.
Some of Higher Logic’s top features include:
- Automated marketing campaigns. Plan, create, and track effective email marketing campaigns that engage members and encourage interaction with your association’s offerings.
- Template creation. You don’t need design experience to create beautiful templates for your upcoming email marketing campaigns. Higher Logic’s built-in tools and editors make it easy to create templates that you can rework and reuse.
- Social media integrations. Reach out to your members on social media by automatically publishing email content on these popular platforms as well.
Why Higher Logic Stands Out
Higher Logic’s comprehensive tracking, reporting, and analytics features help your association measure the success of your email marketing and other outreach campaigns so that you know how best to communicate with your members.
8. Top Conference and Events Software for Associations
CadmiumCD: Overview of this Association Software
Designed to help you share presentations and other content from your most recent conferences, CadmiumCD is a cloud-based event software solution that you can use before, during, and after your next event. CadmiumCD facilitates engagement with your exhibitors, presenters, and attendees.
CadmiumCD helps your association:
- Manage exhibitor data. Before your event, your association can use the platform to sell advertising and physical booth space to exhibitors and gather their information.
- Chart the layout of your event. Once you create your event floorplan, you can share it with attendees, exhibitors, and presenters so everyone knows just how to find their way around.
- Content production and distribution. Members who can’t attend your event in person can still benefit from video recordings of key sessions, created and distributed through CadmiumCD.
Why CadmiumCD Stands Out
CadmiumCD’s range of event planning and management capabilities makes this software solution valuable to your association’s team and your members throughout the event cycle due to its wide range of features.
Cvent: Overview of this Association Software
From selecting your venue to registering guests to evaluating the success of your event through reporting, Cvent offers a comprehensive and robust platform to improve your association’s event management. With Cvent, you can reach out to your members using marketing tools and a branded event website.
Cvent provides your association with:
- Flexible registration tools. Not all events your association hosts are the same size. Adjust your registration system according to variables such as the number of registrants you’re expecting.
- A customizable event website. Your event website, branded to your organization, provides a trustworthy and easily accessible place for registrants to gather all the information about your event they may be looking for.
- Referral marketing tools. In addition to integrating with your existing marketing automation tools, Cvent facilitates referral marketing so that your registrants can spread the word about your event to their friends.
Why Cvent Stands Out
Cvent is highly customizable to the needs of your association and the specific event you’re hosting. Its range of features makes this software an excellent choice for mid-to-large size associations that host conferences and other events with many registrants.
EventMobi: Overview of this Association Software
EventMobi keeps your members connected to your association throughout the event cycle with customized mobile apps and other features designed to drive engagement. EventMobi facilitates interaction from registration to gathering feedback after the event is over.
With EventMobi, your association can:
- Keep members informed with conference apps. Want to make sure that members take part in everything you have to offer at your next conference? Customized apps help them navigate everything you have to offer.
- Promote networking. An activity feed, group discussion features, and messaging capabilities keep attendees connected throughout your event and afterward.
- Motivate attendees through gamification. A little friendly competition encourages more engaged participation in your conference offerings and increased networking with other attendees.
Why EventMobi Stands Out
EventMobi works well for events of all sizes, from large conferences to smaller training activities for your association’s staff. By encouraging networking among attendees, members, or staff, EventMobi is an effective tool for bringing your association together.
The right association software can transform your management processes, encouraging your members to get involved and saving your team valuable time and energy. With effective solutions like these, you’ll be able to better serve your members.
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Choosing the best association software to suit the needs and interests of your members and staff is an essential component in making your organization the best it can be. The following additional resources offer more valuable information to help you during your research and selection processes.
- LMS Selection: 7 Features Associations Need. Association members change and grow, so it’s important to grow with their needs with a learning management system. Learn the features you should look for when selecting one.
- re:Charity’s Best LMS Software Providers: Our Top 5 Favorites + Why. As your association researches potential LMS solutions to suit your members’ learning needs, check out re:Charity’s guide to a few top picks for additional guidance.
- How to Maximize Attendance to Your Learning Management System (LMS). After you’ve put in the work to build out your learning management system, you need to market your online education options to your members. Find out strategies to do this with our helpful guide!