How modern financial management will grow your membership

Financial Management is an essential part of running a member association, so much so that at we have included it as one of the 5 Pillars of Association Management Solutions. Implementing efficient processes for managing fees, discounts and renewals, among other financial obligations, is a fundamental part of keeping your organization functioning smoothly—all successful organizations are built on a solid financial base.

In this post we will look at:

  • Current problems facing membership associations
  • The need to digitize payments
  • The benefits of automated processes

EXCLUSIVE GUIDE: Learn "How your association can adapt to the demands of the digital era".  Download our whitepaper here

Financial Management for Associations

Membership associations in the 21st century

Membership associations are facing new challenges in the era of social networks, instant messaging and open source education. In the past, many membership associations formed to serve a crucial function in society. People that grouped around specialized interests, trades and hobbies relied on the help, knowledge and organisational prowess of a governing body.

Member associations charged their members and, in turn, provided all the services they needed, such as organizing events, providing certified knowledge and bringing like-minded people together.

Today, social media platforms like Facebook allow people to set up their own groups for free, invite members, set up discussions and promote events. As well as this, anyone with an internet connection can access certified courses and education programs from reputable providers.

Some membership associations are finding it hard to compete. Younger generations, in particular, are reluctant to engage with these more traditional ways of doing things, preferring the accessibility and democratisation of the open source web and social media. But it isn’t just millennials, people of all ages are used to accessing resources and social hubs much easier and cheaper than what is being provided by many membership associations.

On top of this, because many of these organizations have been around for decades – centuries in some cases – the technology they use for internal processes has become outdated. This is particularly true for financial management and legacy billing systems. Sadly, this is reducing the potential for growth for many membership associations.

Digitizing payments and renewals

Membership organisations need to provide modern payment methods for their members or risk losing them in the long run. Today people are used to paying online, even paying in stores using their smartphones. Amazon have begun opening shops where you don’t have to pay at all – you can simply pick up items from the shelf, walk straight out the door and Amazon charges your account for you.

While some member associations provide for modern online payment, others still depend on old-fashioned practices. Some still require that members pay by telephone, check or even in person. If members are frustrated by their payment options, they will look elsewhere to easier and cheaper alternatives, including the free solutions offered by social networks. With engagement so important to membership associations, it is crucial that they provide their members with modern payment methods.

Members also expect control and transparency over their payment options and preferences. Membership organisations need to have a website or web portal that is transparent about the options available to members, including the different subscriptions available, what’s on offer, how to change their payment plan, how to cancel their renewal, and the price of events and programs. 

Automating financial processes

There are several key areas that association memberships need financial management, including:  

  • Fees, discounts and renewals
  • Contract management
  • Pro-dating fees and dues
  • Payments

All of these processes can benefit from automation. Some member-based organisations still run their finances using old fashioned bookkeeping practices, such as an Excel spreadsheet. And many are run by part-time employees and volunteers. The end result is messy, outdated systems that can be improved upon with modern financial management solutions.

Manual processes often result in human error. When processes break down, it can be frustrating for members, which will have a negative effect on member engagement.

Confusing and antiquated processes, that are often manual, can put unnecessary stress on how associations are run. Automating processes can relieve staff from unnecessarily taxing and repetitive manual processes and free them up to engage the member base. Staff can focus on delivering the programs, events and services that the organisation is known for in the first place.

In our exclusive new whitepaper, we provide further guidance on how membership associations can update their processes to move beyond this traditional, manual approach (download here).

An Association Management Solution’s Web Portal solution provides the tools to facilitate your most repetitive tasks and activities, making it much easier for you to manage your association’s finances. For instance, it can remove tedious bookkeeping, provide greater transparency about finances, automatically log data about transactions, make it easier to issue refunds, and allow you to see who has paid their dues.

Ultimately, by modernizing your association’s financial management activities, you boost member engagement and increase revenue. To learn why leading membership associations are upgrading their management tools, and to learn how you can do this practically, download our exclusive whitepaper today. 

Learn about the other Pillars of Association Management:

How replacing manual processes can dramatically improve association membership            Get your members learning with proper education management            How healthy event management will keep your members engaged            How creating online communities will revitalize your membership association
Download Whitepaper

Guide to Choosing an Association Management Solution

Guide to Choosing an Association Management Solution

Are you on the path to choosing an Association Management Solution (AMS)?

This guide explores the technology options available, including 7 key questions your Association needs to address to find the right solution for your organization - one that meets the specific business processes you have for each of the 5 pillars.

Download the Guide

go to top