Did You Know?

Association Membership Management Systems: No Clear Winner

By Association Adviser staff • November 26, 2012

If you talk to as many trade association leaders as we do, you hear one common refrain: “It’s never been tougher to recruit and maintain members.” As you might expect, associations of all types and sizes are using a variety of software and database management tools to help them with online dues collection, manage their online communities and membership websites, gather valuable business intelligence and provide members with increased value.

What surprised us is that there’s no apparent market leader, according to our latest online reader poll. Based on the first 234 responses that came in, no vendor appears to have even 10 percent of the market and more than one-third of association leaders (35 percent) said they either don’t use membership management software of any kind or they rely on spreadsheets, internally built systems or other home-grown solutions. In other words, they don’t pay anyone to help them track and understand their members.

As NaylorNet Vice President Marcus Underwood observed, the market for membership management systems is “very fragmented.” The so-called Big Three: AVECTRA, ImIS, and TMA “own the large association space,” and everyone else fights it out for the small- to mid-size association.

NOTE: See Underwood’s story in today’s issue about optimizing your website and email for mobile devices.

As our survey showed, each of the Big Three has a high single-digit share of the market and their full-featured and often highly customized product offerings can be cost-restrictive for smaller associations. The remaining vendors below control another 40 percent share of the market and tend to charge less for their core services.