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Guest Post: How to Make the Most of Your AMS Reporting Features

A robust AMS can improve your association's management in a variety of ways. Learn more about association management software in our latest post!

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The following post is a guest contribution from Novi AMS  - an association management software. Whether your association is working to increase new member recruitment or bring in more non-dues revenue, there are plenty of solutions for improving your association's management. From investing in social media marketing to elevating events with trending tech, it can be daunting to decide which solution is right for you. Your association most likely already has an asset to guide your efforts - your association management software. By making the most of the reporting features, you can identify areas for improvement, and which improvements would be the most effective. This post will explore the following points regarding how to use your AMS's reporting features to the fullest:

  1. How to Make the Most of Reporting Features
  2. Four Ways to Make the Most of Reporting Features

How to Make the Most of Reporting Features

Your association's AMS functions as your most comprehensive database of member information - from contact details to logs of every interaction between your association and members. It's a goldmine of information, but the raw data itself will do little to help your management improve processes from the top - there's simply too much information! This is where reporting features come into play. Custom reports organize the specific data you need for any point in time. From this data, you can create new strategies based on membership activity to target specific interests so you're able to create an informed strategy - making leadership more successful and efficient in improving membership experiences.

Here are a few best practices to follow that unlock the opportunities offered by AMS reporting features:

  1. Invest in an AMS with robust, built-in reporting features. While you certainly want the ability to build out custom reports, it's also helpful to have standard reports to speed up the process.
  2. Develop consistent data hygiene practices. In order for your AMS to generate insightful reports, it's essential to have good data. Developing and maintaining consistent data hygiene practices reduces the possibility of errors and complaints from members.
  3. Host a member portal. By allowing members to update their own information - like contact information - your database is likely to stay up-to-date.
  4. Integrate your AMS. The reports generated by you AMS will be less informative and actionable if they're not built on a complete picture of your association's interactions with members. AMS integrations allow data from various management solutions to flow seamlessly into one database, giving you all the information needed for heightened insights.

4 Ways to Make the Most of Reporting Features

Now that we've explored how to prime your AMS to generate useful reports, let's look at a few specific areas of association management that those reports can improve.

1. Boost event engagement

When members join associations, there is usually a networking component that draws them in. By associating with one another, members have the opportunity to connect with others in their field - and association events are one of the most popular methods for facilitating this.Your AMS reporting features help you create events that are more appealing to your members and increase their interest in attending. You'll also be able to evaluate the return on investment post-event.

Generating event-related reports allows you to:

  1. View a snapshot of your membership to discover which events will appeal to them. For example, are your members more interested in educational or networking events? This is also helpful in determining optimal locations to host the event, or if you should host it virtually.
  2. Examine planning efforts in progress to improve operations before your event. For example, stay abreast of the level of interest in the educational programs you plan to offer and make adjustments if reception is lukewarm. Or if your marketing efforts aren't creating the results you anticipated, change strategies to improve turnout.
  3. Learn from your event after-the-fact. Pay attention to what your members liked and what they didn't to improve your future events. Did you introduce a successful new mobile event technology? Did a tactic you thought would be really successful fall flat? Make note of that and be open to trying new things based on the feedback your members provide.

Incorporating data from your AMS technology in your event planning is an effective, budget friendly way to spice up your next association event.

2. Increase non-dues revenue

Non-dues revenue is crucial for the successful management of any association and the information contained within your AMS can help you improve it. Reports generated by your AMS show the strength of various assets, such as social media accounts or websites. These reports can tell you how many people are viewing or interacting with your assets, which shows how captivating your accounts are. Whether it's selling featured directory listings on your high-performing association website (learn more here) or selling sponsorship spots for an upcoming event, having proof that these assets are performing well is a strong selling point. This type of non-dues revenue is valuable in sustaining your association through times of adversity.

Further, your AMS provides insight to certain topics and educational opportunities that are of interest to your members. By targeting high-interest topics, you can create webinars and eLearning courses to offer to members as another source of non-dues revenue. Just as with events, the specifics provided by reporting features in your AMS will help point out opportunities to increase revenue.

3. Improve member retention rates

Any association professional knows that it is more efficient to retain current members than recruit new ones. Recruiting and on-boarding new members requires a significant investment of resources, whereas maintaining positive relations with current association members requires less. Plus it's impossible to grow your membership if you're losing members faster than you're gaining them. The information in your AMS can help your association improve member retention rates by unveiling gaps in your member experience.

Reports generated by your AMS can help you to:

  1. Offer experiences your members desire. The data your AMS can reveal events, eLearning opportunities and networking experiences that interest your members.
  2. Improve experiences that aren't serving members well. If you hosted an event and members were unsatisfied, you can use reports to discover the exact points of discord and improve them going forward.
  3. Strengthening association-member communication. Your AMS stores information on which communication tools are preferred by segments of your association's community, allowing you to contact them in their preferred manner. This increases the likelihood they will view your messages and respond.

Members appreciate it when you tailor experiences to their preferences and interests. Doing so increases the likelihood they'll remain members for the long-run. From something as simple as creating member-focused email content, to something more complex like eLearning courses - members will notice the effort.

4. Recruit new members efficiently

To remain relevant and continue growing as an association, it's essential to have a strong recruiting pipeline for new members. According to these 4 steps to attracting new members, recruiting is a practice of creating, communicating and providing the value membership yields.Reports generated by your AMS give you all the information you need to discover opportunities to recruit new members with higher success:

  1. Through digital presence. Pay attention to data around what medium new members are discovering your association - like social media channels or Google search. Further, if your AMS integrates with Google Analytics, you'll have heightened insights in this area. You'll want to optimize and improve the most popular channels.
  2. Through new member data. What are your newest members interested in or hope to gain when they initially join? There's a good chance other prospective members are interested in similar topics and opportunities.
  3. Through incentive offerings. Have you ever offered incentives to members when they initially joined? Whether it's an eLearning course or an interesting webinar, consider which incentives you've offered that brought success and consider offering them again.

A robust AMS can improve your association's management in a plethora of ways. Learn more about association management software through this Novi guide. The reporting features of your AMS provides valuable insights to boost event engagement, increase non-dues revenue, improve member retention and more effectively recruit new members. By positioning your AMS to generate useful reports, you'll have actionable insights to improve your association's management going forward.

Author Bio: Pete Zimek is the founder and CEO of Novi AMS. He has been an active participant in over a dozen associations, volunteering in roles ranging from committee chair through President.