The Role of Technology in Association Management

December 1, 2022
Group of four people around a table having a discussion
A good technology ecosystem is essential for association management. When associations tailor their association management technology to their specific needs, they are able to more easily steward, connect, and support members. There are many tools custom-built to simplify association management, so you can spend more time creating enrichment opportunities for your members. 

When your association management is at its best, you can shift your focus to community engagement to keep members involved and satisfied with their membership experience. 

Community management is integral to association management, so it is helpful to look for technology that works to improve both aspects of your association. According to Fonteva’s association management software solutions guide, here are four useful features to look for when adding to your tech stack. 

Membership Management  

Managing members can be difficult if there is not a centralized database to store valuable member information. To create experiences more on par with member interests, it’s helpful to keep track of member preferences and personal information. 

Here are some piece of common member data that can be easily tracked with membership management features: 

  • Registration. Store dates and times of member registration to evaluate patterns of popular event times or topics. 
  • Payment. Membership fees grant access to your association, so it’s important to keep track of which members have paid or still have outstanding dues. 
  • Meeting and event attendance. Consider how engaged individual members are by looking at their attendance. This can also help you evaluate which meetings or topics have a higher interest. 
  • Personal information updates. It’s essential to track data updates to ensure all your marketing and communications with members reach the correct email addresses

Data can be accrued potentially from any member interaction with your association and stored in the membership management database. Member information can also be used to communicate better by evaluating patterns of engagement and interests. 

eLearning Software

Some association management platforms include or can integrate with eLearning software. Your members likely joined your association for more connections to their industry and opportunities to grow their skills. With eLearning software tools, you can enhance your members’ experience by managing educational courses and certificates available to them. 

Depending on your association’s industry focus, you can offer different types of online courses such as: 

  • Team-based. Courses with collaborative projects can help foster community among your members as they learn applicable skills for their industry from each other. 
  • Discussion-based. Some courses test member knowledge by having them post their answers on discussion boards and review their peers’ ideas. 
  • Project-based. Some industries aren’t conducive to multiple choice or discussion board tests, so they are more project based with individuals or teams submitting assignments. 

You can also use eLearning software to monitor individual member progress through courses and assess which learning content is most valuable. By providing more opportunities for members to grow within your association’s offerings, you can increase their engagement. 

Event Management

Planning association events can be tedious when organizing the venue, speakers, vendors, and marketing. With hybrid and virtual events, associations have the opportunity to expand their audience base so members from all over can join. Any type of event can be time consuming to plan, but event management tools can help you stay organized. 

Look for association management platforms that offer event management features such as: 

  • Scheduling
  • Venue management
  • Registration 
  • Marketing and communications
  • Event streaming

Events, especially networking components, are one of the core functions of associations. So, the more efficiently your association can plan them, the more time you can spend on optimizing the overall event experience for your members. 

Marketing and Communications 

Communicating with your members is key to creating an engaging experience within your association. You’ll want to be able to meet members where they are to inform them about upcoming meetings, events, and learning opportunities. 

Look for association management technology that has communication features that allow you to send messages through different methods such as: 

Along with reminders of upcoming events, inform your association about big achievements or awards their fellow members have received. Highlighting accomplishments shows your association cares about members and reminds them of the valuable connections they have in their industry through their membership. 

Some association management platforms also include customizable templates for communications, like templates for email newsletters, mail brochures, and even text messages. Customize these templates with your association’s brand voice to strengthen your communications and make them more personal to your members. 

Association management technology now enables associations to create a close community and tailor their offerings to members’ preferences. Once you’ve chosen your association management platform and tools, you can get started crafting better member experiences. To ensure you continue to improve your member experiences, request feedback from members every few months—especially after special events and meetings. Log this information in your association management software to help inform your next steps. 

Now that you have an idea of how technology can help your association management, just remember to always keep your members in mind when choosing your software.

About the Author
Erin Lemons is the Senior Director of Marketing at Fonteva. Erin Lemons joins Togetherwork Association Solutions with over 15 years serving as a marketing director, event producer, and project manager creating robust marketing campaigns and initiatives that focus on the growing and ever-changing technology needs of the association industry. She leads the marketing teams and strategy at Fonteva and Protech.

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