Friday, June 16, 2006

Selecting a Membership Relationship Management System

Many have requested sample guidelines in evaluating membership relationship management systems. Here is a general list of the key considerations. These would need to be customized for your specific situation, but hopefully a start.

Core Association/Membership/Business functionality
Membership management, events, professional development, governance, member
value and relationships, advocacy, and marketing capabilities
Personalization & customization capabilities; interest code tracking or activity tracking
Web self -service interface (usability)
Forms creation and integration with core database
E-mail management, server, and integration with core database tracking

Technical architecture and capabilities
Tools for supporting configuration and customization
Ability to configure, customize, quality of tools to support configuration
User and role management, access rights, security
Work flow and management
Documentation and support
Tools for supporting data integrity and quality

Integration capabilities
Availability of web services, XML interface, or SOAP services
Availability of standards based application program interfaces (APIs)
Direct interface support for relevant 3rd party applications for financial and accounting system,content management system, and other applications

Vendor’s capabilities
Business Strategy
Business track record
Development experience, association-specific solutions, R&D, service and support, financial, relevant client experience

User interface & Support
Ease of use
Custom layouts, custom record types
Work flow and alerts
Customized context sensitive help
Tutorials and on-line aids

Analysis and reporting
Standard reports
Ad hoc reporting tools (ease of use)
Campaign analytics and management indicators
Key Indicator dashboard
Web analytics activity tracking support
Graphics support

Services
Implementation experience
Project team
Project management process
Implementation methodology and process
Customer support
Technical Support
Response time
Quality of service
Training and e-support

Cost
One time
Annual maintenance
Hosted solution options (security,back-up, quality, security, bandwidth)
Upgrade support costs
Total cost of ownership

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