Organizations are always trying to balance time, resources, and to-dos. The right AMS can help address these challenges. Your AMS is not just a database – it can automate admin tasks, process payments, simplify event workflows, and keep you connected to members. It moves you away from shadow systems and tools that lead to duplicated data, security holes, and hidden costs. Below we list the 5 challenges we hear most often, the keys to solve them, and the dos (and don’ts) of AMS selection.
We hear: “There are so many options!”
This is true – and it can seem overwhelming. The good news: you don’t need to consider each one. Some may be too underpowered and others too complex. Some may focus on an area you don’t even need!
The key: Get to know yourself better before reaching out
- DO whittle down your choices
- Don’t let analysis paralysis stop you
To start: build a must-have list, understand your requirements, and ensure you have the support and budget within your organization. Once you have this information, you’ll see some systems quickly drop off the list until you reach a manageable number. A reasonable short list allows you to really dive deep, learn about each AMS, and make the right choice.
We hear: “Selection (and implementation) are a full-time job; I already have one of those!”
Of course! There are limited hours in the day and no one person can do this alone.
The key: More hands make less work. Bring others to the table and get them involved
- DO get the input you need
- Don’t get overwhelmed
Here are two tips to make this less burdensome.
- Do some early homework. Get your business requirements done early, so selection and implementation will go smoother.
- Expand your team. A bigger team will take work off your plate. It also drives engagement in the project and encourages adoption of the new system, a double win. You can also bring in independent organizations to assist in the selection and implementation by serving in a project management and business analyst role.
Remember: The one thing you can’t outsource–Project ownership!
We hear: “We know what we want, we don’t know how to get there.”
AMS selection and implementation is not a sprint. It’s going to take time.
The key: Take it step by step
- DO create a plan
- Don’t underestimate the length of time selection and implementation will take
Like any initiative or project, a little bit of project management goes a long way. Add these tasks to your project timeline:
- Build a cross functional team so you have the right representation across your organization.
- Find your champions. A cross functional team of champions ensures each department is well represented–they’ll be so valuable throughout the process.
- For selection: make sure you know (read: document) your requirements before talking to vendors. You want to discuss your needs, not their capabilities.
- For implementation: most vendors have their own project management methodology that helped deliver prior success. Adopt it and commit to it as much as you can. If it doesn’t mesh well with your organization, talk it through with the vendor.
We hear: “It’s a big investment, I don’t want to choose incorrectly.”
That is everyone’s worst nightmare. There is a “right” solution out there for you. In fact, more than one solution may fit your needs. During the selection process, you have many chances to see product demos. Listen. Take notes. Ask questions. A lot of questions. Then, ask more questions. And, not just ‘if’ the system does what you need. Ask HOW it does what you need. You’ll (hopefully) have the system in place for many, many years, so invest the time now to find your organization’s right fit.
The key: remember you’re the SME on your organization
- DO find a match for your requirements, budget, and culture
- Don’t let fear impact your choice
Know your needs (requirements), your budget, and your culture. Find that AMS partner that meets your requirements and your budget. But then look for the one that “gets you”- the group that gets your culture. You want to have a long relationship.
We hear: “We want all the bells and whistles; do we NEED them?”
There are quite a few impressive AMS presentations.
The key: focus on what you need not what the vendor can do
- DO focus on priorities
- Don’t be lured extras
Before getting into deep conversations with AMS partners, know your wants and needs. What are your priorities? Be ready to communicate these to potential partners. You may find some add-ons are truly needed. In other cases, they’re just nice-to-have. Make sure the system meets your requirements first. Then entertain the extras.
When it comes to the dos of AMS selection, you don’t have to do it all alone. Use the keys outlined above but remember there is help. Independent organizations can help with the selection process while providing insight into the AMS vendors. They can ensure that your organization finds the one that meets your requirements (not the vendors’).
Want more “Dos of AMS selection and implementation”? Reach out to our team!