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4 Jargon Terms All Association Professionals Should Know About

Technology Audra Hopkins

You might think you know everything there is to know about the association world, but with things changing and evolving everyday, there could be some new lingo to catch up on.

As an association professional, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest trends and keep learning about new trends and topics. After all, if anything new comes out that could potentially help you run your association easier and earn more members/engagement/revenue, you’d want to know about it.

And while you may see yourself as an expert in your field, the truth is that new association terms come around. Terms about different software your association can use to attract and manage members, terms that other professionals use to talk about association situations, and just terms that you should plain know about.

So, what terms are floating around the association world that you’d like to know more about?

While it’s important to stay on top of your research in order for your association to thrive, it can be easy to fall behind on jargon. That’s why we’re presenting you with 4 association-related terms you should know in order to drive success for your organization.

Take a look at our list and brush up on what you should know!

 

1. Association Management System (AMS)

An association management system, or AMS, is a tech tool that solves a lot of problems for associations seeking it out. But is it right for your association? Let’s dive into the term more and figure out what it all means.

An AMS is a tech tool that allows you to keep better tabs on your association’s membership. If you’re an association that struggles to manage a large membership, or if you’re tired of having your membership organization spread out onto different systems and want the convenience of having all of your information in one place, an AMS can do the trick.

Basically, AMS providers work to allow associations an easier way to keep tabs on members.

Many systems offer a “member database” feature, which allows associations to easily access data on their members and use that data for analytic reports- as well as a myriad of other reasons. Think of it as a way to keep all of your member information in one place and organize the way your association wants.

AMS tools also typically give you security in your database, ensuring all of your member information is safe from leaking. You can set your own passwords and create levels of permission to keep only secured association staff members in control of your member data.

You can also use an AMS to keep track of any payments and process them in one easy place. There’s so much that an AMS can provide for your association, so knowing what it is can get you started on the right path.

2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Directly relating to AMS, Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, software is an extension of what we just spoke about- but with a specific emphasis on your association’s members.

CRM software allows you to manage and analyze the customer profiles of your members in order to better understand the way they consume what your association offers them. You can look at interactions your members have with your association, such as the history of their member journey, the purchases they’ve made in the past, what they prefer to purchase in terms of your association’s offers, etc.

CRM software also allows you to track leads and conduct marketing tasks with ease. This is great for any association looking to fine tune its target audience, keep a close eye on potential members, and learn how to better market towards them.

Many AMS services are now considering offering a CRM software within their already existing service because of the value and capabilities that it holds. And those AMS that already include CRM are looking to improve their software even more to meet the always increasing market demand.

With a CRM, your association no longer has to wonder about customer buying patterns and preferences- it can see your members’ purchase history and plan accordingly in order to attract more revenue in the future.

 

3. Association Management Company (AMC)

Now that we know what an AMS is, it’s time to introduce you to another tool that can help you manage your association- say hello to association management companies.

An association management company, or AMC, is a firm/organization that helps to provide management services to associations looking for help managing their membership, public relations, accounts, and any other part of an association that you could possibly think of.

But why should you trust an AMC with your association and its members? It’s because of the people that make up an AMC that help ensure your association is safe with one.

Typically, AMC’s are built off of a team of experts in all different fields. There are specialists in social media management, membership management, accounting, budgeting, and even just nonprofit management as a whole. These experts work together as a team, much like your own association’s team does, to provide the best service possible in order to grow and maintain the parts of your association that are difficult to keep up with.

AMC’s often work on a fee-per-service basis- which is great for associations only looking for help in specific areas.

For example, let’s say your association only wants someone to manage its social media pages, or maybe someone to handle finances. You can pay for just that service, allowing you to get help but also sticking to whatever budget you might have set in place.

 

4. Return on Investment (ROI)

Now let’s talk about something that is a bit more general, but that associations still can encounter in their daily work: Return on Investment.

When talking about things like revenue and data, Return on Investment (ROI) is commonly used no matter the organization or company. And you may even see other associations and nonprofits talk about their own ROI when it comes to member data, non dues revenue, or other widely dealt with problems. So, what does it mean?

Well, ROI is a pretty in your face term. It literally means Return on Investment, meaning what your association will gain from any investment it makes. Investments on member acquisition, more revenue channels, more found data, etc. There are so many facets of the association world that have a focus on ROI.

In fact, your association probably invests time looking at its ROI without knowing it. Whenever you analyze the outcome of your money, time, and effort spent on a specific project, you’re actually analyzing your ROI.

And now that you have a better understanding of what ROI stands for and applies to, you’ll have a much easier time analyzing the end results of any project your association puts its effort into.

While this is just a small percentage of terms that are floating around the association world, they all have their place in your vernacular and should be treated as valuable as they are. Make sure your association studies up on its jargon, and you could actually save yourself some time (and stress) down the road.