Your Ultimate Guide to Membership Management Software for Your Nonprofit

September 23, 2022

Korrin Bishop

By Korrin Bishop

Managing a membership organization takes a lot of work. There are many moving parts: reporting, outreach, marketing, member database management, event planning, and payment processing, just to name a few!

 

If you’ve found this article, you probably have an inkling that there’s a better way, but you’re not sure where to start! 

 

Whether it be reducing administrative burden, improving organization or automating processes, the right membership software can make a big difference for your nonprofit. With this guide, we hope you’ll be able to choose a membership management software that can help your nonprofit or association

What is Membership Management Software for Nonprofits?

You might also hear membership management software referred to as association management software. Membership management software for nonprofits, including associations, is a multi-faceted tool that lets you:

 

  • Store and collect information about your members in a database
  • Facilitate networking between your members
  • Leverage connections with other organizations
  • Gather and distribute materials to your members
  • Track and collect membership dues

 

Membership management software for nonprofits is a close relative to donor management software. Donor management software focuses on relationship building as a means for fundraising. As such, it doesn’t have as many features for creating membership communities.

But, wait, what if your nonprofit membership management solution could also benefit from donor management features? Well, never fear!

Some membership management software, like WildApricot, combine these elements. You can both manage your membership while also cultivating donors and tracking donations for your work.

Why is Nonprofit Management Software Important?

Nonprofit membership managers have a lot to juggle in a day! You have to send reminders about events, track payments, run reports, and much more. Member management software for nonprofits helps you keep these many tasks organized. It can also increase your efficiency with automation.

 

It can help you with tasks such as:

 

  • Recordkeeping
  • Member communications
  • Data collection
  • Automated reminders for events, dues collection, and more
  • Payment processing
  • Subscription management
  • Reporting

 

If you have limited resources, membership management software can help your nonprofit get more done and get it done better. This ultimately frees up your time, allowing you to create greater benefits for your members.

What Kind of Membership Management Software is Right for You?

Depending on your organization, you may have different needs that will impact what membership management software is right for you. 

 

As you look at nonprofit software options, you may want to consider:

 

  • How many contacts you have
  • How many events you run per year
  • What services you want to offer members through your website
  • Whether you need software for donor cultivation

 

If your staff is small—or even all-volunteer—you each likely wear multiple hats. The right membership management software for nonprofits has automation features that let you simplify and reduce time spent on administrative tasks. So, let a solution like WildApricot wear a couple of the hats for you!

How Much Does Membership Management Software for Nonprofits Cost?

We get it. You have a budget to keep! So, how much is membership management software going to cost you?

 

Well, that can range quite a bit. With many companies, it’ll depend on the number of contacts you need to store in the system and which features you want to be able to access. Depending on your needs, you could be looking at anywhere from $10 per month to several hundreds per month. Each software company will be able to provide you with their details.

 

What’s great—especially for small nonprofits—is that some membership management software options offer a free trial before you commit so you’ll be able to see what’s right for your organization. If you’re just starting out, this is a great option!

 

Read more: Free Membership Management Software Options for Nonprofits on a Tight Budget

Features to Look for in Membership Software

You know your organization best. So, when looking into membership software, you’ll want to spend a little time listing out what your ideal software solution would be able to do for you.

 

Some of the key features you might want to consider include:

 

  • Membership applications: Simplify the member application process with a web-based, mobile-friendly, customizable form.
  • Membership renewals: Automate your membership renewal reminders and invoices and let your members set up recurring payments.
  • Online member database: Track all the information you need to build and maintain strong relationships with your members.
  • Members-only pages: Engage your members with exclusive content hosted on your website.
  • Membership directory: Let members connect with each other through a searchable online directory.
  • Website builder: Use drag-and-drop tools to create a new membership website from scratch or have the option to easily embed membership widgets onto your existing website.

Your Software Membership Solution: WildApricot

While you may have to pick and choose your features with some software options, WildApricot was designed to be an all-in-one solution. It incorporates each of the key features highlighted above and also comes with:

 

  • An easy-to-learn interface
  • Unlimited expert support that’s quick and friendly

 

WildApricot was developed to make life easier for organizations of all sizes and from different fields. That’s why it was featured as a “Top Performer,” “Noteworthy Product,” and “Emerging Favorite” in Capterra’s Shortlists for four categories in 2022:

 

  • Best Volunteer Management Software
  • Best Registration Software
  • Best Membership Management Software
  • Best Association Management Software
 

With over 500 reviews on the Capterra site, WildApricot has an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5, making it one of the site’s top-rated products. WildApricot also won three awards in 2021 from G2, as well as one from Software Advice and GetApp.

How Much Does WildApricot Cost?

Give WildApricot a test drive! With its 30-day free trial, it’s easy to get a feel for why so many customers rave about WildApricot’s membership management software.

If you decide WildApricot is the right software solution for you, pricing is tiered based on the size of your organization. A WildApricot team member can help walk you through that and any other questions you might have! Get in touch here.

How to Choose the Best Membership Software For You

When you choose a membership management software for your nonprofit, you're choosing a solution for the long term! You'll get the most benefit for managing your member database over time and with confidence in the software. That's why it's important to make your pick carefully! The guidelines below can help.

Here are 6 steps for choosing the best membership software for your nonprofit: 

1. Outline your budget and needs

Like we said, you know your organization best! What's your budget for member software? How much time is your team currently spending on these manual tasks that can be automated? Assess what features you need and the value of the time you're hoping to save. Member management software can take tons off your to-do list.

2. Research, research, research

There are a lot of options out there! With clear criteria, your job is that much easier. Plus—we've done some of the work for you! Check out the member software options below and compare them against your budget and feature needs.

3. Try it out with a demo or trial 

A membership software option can look good on paper, but how do you know it will really work for you? Fortunately, before you make an investment, you can try out the software with a demo or trial. WildApricot's trial will even take you seamlessly into a free or paid account. If you like it, you can stick with it!

4. Get approval! 

Your next step is to get the go-ahead from your stakeholders and team. The insights you gain from your member software research and trial will help you make a strong case for your choice. Member management software saves many small organizations about 20 hours a week—just think of all you can do!

5. Onboard the rest of your team

Now it's time to get the most out of your membership software by training the rest of your team. With training, time and familiarity, you'll make important efficiencies to your member database, payment processing, event registration and more. (Need some help? WildApricot Coaches can guide the way with troubleshooting and support!)

6. Migrate your data

This is the moment all the research and training has been leading up to! Whether you'd been using spreadsheets or another software, it's time to import your member data into your new member management software. Let the tech do the heavy lifting from here on out!

Top Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Membership Software

No matter what you choose for your organization, there are a few tips for getting the most out of your software.

1. Set up your membership software for success

You’ll want to ensure that your membership software is set up specifically with your organization in mind. Identify information about your organization, such as:

  • Type of organization (e.g., club, association, chamber of commerce, etc.)
  • Your organizational goals (e.g., increase member retention rates by 25%) 
  • Your organizational priorities (e.g., reducing administrative time)

Once you have a good picture of what you need help with, you can figure out which features make sense for you to have.

For example, if you need help with your goal to increase member retention rates by 25%, a software solution like WildApricot could be an excellent fit. Its features allow you to automate your membership renewal reminders and options for members to set up recurring payments. Oh, and all while reducing administrative time in the process—sounds like a win, win!

2. Set up your membership organization to include tiers 

The right membership management software will provide the option to offer your members different membership levels. You can incentivize your members to be more involved or to upgrade their membership by offering different benefits for each of your tiers.

For example, you can tier your membership levels with naming conventions such as Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Depending on their tier, members may get access to certain perks like exclusive content or discounts.

3. Integrate your membership management software with other features 

The point of membership management software is to make your life easier! So, you’ll want to learn how to integrate it with other features. 

WildApricot is considered such a one-stop-shop option because the software integrates with several key features, such as a website builder, forms, payment features and membership cards.

4. Integrate your membership management software with other tools 

Membership management software is best when it easily syncs with your existing tools. For example, WildApricot offers a WordPress plugin, single sign-on service, and Integromat, a drag-and-drop tool that syncs with over 950 online apps, such as QuickBooks, Google apps, and Facebook.

Top 15 Membership Management Software for Nonprofits

As you decide which membership management software is best for your nonprofit, you’ll want to explore your options! Here are ten of the best to help with your search.

1. WildApricot

WildApricot is an all-in-one solution for membership organizations of all sizes. It can be customized to meet your nonprofit’s needs and has an easy-to-learn system paired with unlimited expert support.

 

Some of WildApricot’s features that can support your organization include:

 

  • Member database: Keep all of your member information organized and secure.
  • Website builder: Easily build a new website or integrate Wild Apricot features with your existing website through widgets.
  • Payments: Accept and process payments through a variety of methods.
  • Event management: Create event materials, track RSVPs, send reminders, and more for each of your events.
  • Email and contact database: Let your members connect with each other and strengthen their relationships through a searchable directory.
  • Mobile app: Manage your membership needs on-the-go with a mobile app that’s available for both Android and iOS.
  • Online store: Increase your revenue by incorporating an online store for your members and other supporters.
  • Integrations: Sync your work to social media platforms, Google apps, and other tools to make marketing, organization, and more a breeze!

With a free 30-day trial and monthly payments that match your organization’s size and needs, Wild Apricot is the perfect option for taking your association to the next level.

2. MemberClicks

MemberClicks is a cloud-based membership management software great for mid-sized to larger nonprofits, associations, and chambers of commerce.

 

Some of the features that make MemberClicks a good option for membership organizations include:

 

  • Membership database: Track and update member information.
  • Online payments: Automate dues renewals and centralize your accounting. 
  • Event management: Manage registrations and schedule events all in one place. 
  • Communication management: Develop targeted email campaigns and other marketing.
  • Website builder: Create a new website or integrate with your existing one.
  • Reporting and analytics: Gain insights on your organization.

 

Pricing depends on your organization size and there are incentives for longer-term contracts. Annual subscriptions for most products start with a minimum $3,000 investment for the smallest organizations.

3. ClubExpress

ClubExpress offers a comprehensive software for managing members. Some of its features include:

 

  • Communication and marketing tools
  • Membership database
  • Website builder
  • Payment processing
  • Event calendars
  • Mobile app

 

ClubExpress starts at $24 per month and increases based on the number of active members your association has.

4. Zen Planner

Zen Planner is a membership management software designed specifically with fitness organizations in mind. If you’re a gym or other wellness membership association, you can benefit from its features, which include:

 

  • Full-service billing
  • Website development
  • Marketing tools
  • Business management software

 

Monthly prices range from $121 to $257 depending on your membership size.

5. 360Alumni

360Alumni targets educational and nonprofit organizations that have alumni databases they want to engage. Some of the features the software offers include:

 

  • Event management
  • Fundraising
  • Job boards
  • Email Marketing
  • Paid memberships

 

Pricing is based on your membership size and includes a one-time setup fee that ranges from $3,000 to $6,000, as well as an annual fee that ranges from $7,500 to $15,000.

6. Salsa

Salsa is a software solution focused on nonprofits, so offers many features around donor cultivation and fundraising. Additional features include:

 

  • Advocacy tools
  • Digital marketing
  • Online event registration

 

Pricing is based on your organization's needs and must be requested.

7. Neon One

Neon One offers basic membership management tools for associations. It’s good for smaller to mid-sized organizations. Some of its key features include:

 

  • Member data tracking
  • Customizable forms
  • Member portal and directory
  • Marketing and communication tools
  • Volunteer management

 

Pricing ranges from $99 per month to $299 per month depending on the features you need, with optional add-ons available for set costs.

8. Raklet

Raklet is an all-in-one membership management software for associations. Its key features include:

 

  • Member management
  • Marketing
  • Event planning
  • Fundraising
  • Integrations with other software

 

Raklet has a free version if you have no more than 50 contacts. Prices increase from there based on how many contacts you have and what other features you’d like to access, ranging from $49 per month up to $224 per month.

9. Fonteva

Fonteva is a membership management software option that is built on the Salesforce platform. Its features include:

 

  • Point-and-click configuration wizards for easy setup
  • Events registration and certification management
  • Member directories
  • Reports and dashboards
  • Form and questionnaire builder

 

Pricing information is available upon request. Your organization can view a demo of the software for free.

10. Doubleknot

Doubleknot is a membership management software that targets cultural organizations and nonprofits like zoos and children’s museums. Some of its features include:

 

  • Admissions and visitor services
  • POS and mobile sales
  • Customer relationship management
  • Fundraising

 

Pricing information is available upon request. Your organization can schedule a demo of the software for free.

 

11. GrowthZone

GrowthZone is a member management software for mid-sized to large organizations, with built-in marketing automation and member prospecting. It's features include:

  • Member database
  • Committee management
  • Website management
  • Payment processing

 

Pricing starts at $259.00 /month.

12. Hivebrite

Hivebrite is an all-in-one community management and engagement platform. Manage your member database, centralize the communication with your members, create events and collect online memberships.

 

Features include:

  • Forums
  • Group management
  • Engagement tracking
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Membership database

Demo and pricing are available upon request.

 

13. Regpack

Regpack is for organizations that want to save hours, get paid quickly, streamline event registration, increase revenue and grow their membership base. It's features include:

  • Email marketing
  • Attendee management
  • Badge management
  • Classes, lessons and training
  • Self check-in

 

Your organization can try a free trial of Regpack. After that, pricing starts at $125.00 /month.

 

14. StarChapter

StarChapter is great for organizations with local chapters. The member software combines emails, event registration, membership, website design and payment processing, so you can grow your membership.

 

Features include:

  • Member database
  • Membership levels
  • Member directory
  • Payment processing

 

Pricing starts from $44.00 /month. 

 

15. Springly

Springly combines membership management software with a dedicated nonprofit accounting suite. It's features include:

  • Donation tracking
  • Member portal
  • Website management
  • Member database

 

It comes with a free trial and generally costs about $25/month.

Improve Your Membership Management Experience With the Best Membership Management Software for Nonprofits

Running a membership organization takes a lot of work! With the right membership management software, you can add more ease to your membership management and free up your time to create better member experiences. When tasks are automated and your administrative burden is simplified, you can focus more on:

 

  • Virtual events
  • Fundraisers
  • Mentorship programs
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives
  • New member outreach
  • And so much more!

Ready to start your free trial of Wild Apricot? Feel the difference that award-winning membership management software can make for your organization! Sign up here for your free 30-day trial.

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