What is Association Management Software (AMS)?



AMS is an acronym for 'Association Management Software/System. This technology is usually used by trade associations, professional associations and even Chambers of Commerce to manage their members and effectively run their organisation.

What is an association?

Simply put, associations are groups of people who work together for a common goal. There is literally an association for pretty much any and every industry, from taxidermy to go-kart clubs and everything in between.

Association members tend to be business owners or management level individuals who want to join a community of like-minded organisations to help with a range of different outcomes. This can be for things like lobbying politicians to get what they want, raising money for charities, or even cross-sharing knowledge for mutual benefit.

In short, associations provide a meaningful community hub rich with networking opportunities.

What is an AMS and why do you need one?

Association Management Software (AMS) is a tool used by association professionals to manage their membership data, events, etc. An AMS helps to save time by processing all their membership functions in a digital way.

It also allows associations to set up new members, either directly or through invitation, as well as features like event management and resource sharing. One key benefit of an AMS solution is that it improves member communication through automated emails, newsletters and reminders, as well as being a place to have an internal conversation about anything that may be on the mind of the association members or leadership.

For successful associations, it's vital to have a resource hub. This includes things like white papers, educational materials, events, and other relevant information that members must be aware of or must learn as part of association membership criteria.

Members should also be able to share information with each other on the AMS directly or via blogs, forums, or other social media tools. Financial reports, analytics, and other data should also be accessible to members if the association requires it.

With an AMS, associations can be managed by using a single software program. This means there is no need to go through the hassle of using fragmented solutions.

Ugenie has a whole suite of features that'll make association management much easier. Associations can use Ugenie to manage events, membership, communications, finances, and much more.

The key benefits of Association Management Software

  • Time-saving - One single app to manage your entire association

  • Cost-effective - A good AMS should easily replace any need to go through the expensive process of developing your own app

  • Increased membership engagement - By facilitating a digital community aspect for your association you should be able to learn more about your members and what they want.

  • Data Analytics - AMSs are great for having one source of truth when it comes to reporting to the board on membership engagement, new member count, revenue etc.

  • Easy communication and event management - streamlined communications in one place meaning. Pair this with data analytics you can even see who has, and who hasn't seen your communications.

The main features of good Association Management Software

When choosing an AMS for your association, look out for the following features:

  • Membership Management

  • Event Registration & Management

  • Invoicing/Repeat Payments

  • Group/Chapter Management

  • Custom membership-structures

  • Educational Hub for eLearning and certifications

  • An offers/marketplace to add value to the membership

  • A community feed where members can discuss topics

  • Resource management (Document, whitepapers, contracts, videos etc)

  • Customisable dashboards

  • Mobile and Web App

  • Analytics Dashboard

  • Admin and Manager access

  • Online payment processing

  • Email and mobile notifications

Association Management Software vs Membership Management Software

In short, the term Membership management software is a broader term for association management software and appeals to the wider audience of membership-based businesses such as clubs, non-profits and corporate businesses.

Why do associations need an AMS solution or CRM software?


In some cases, associations might not even be using a defined AMS but will be using a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) instead like Salesforce, or Hubspot.

CRMs are generally geared for marketing and sales, so sometimes require a lot of customisation and personalisation to fit your own business needs.

A CRM can be a great option if you're more technical and have the know-how on how to set one up, however, if community is an important aspect of your association, you'll have to work out how to integrate it into another community-focused tech platform.

An AMS on the other hand can come set up in a way that is already suitable for associations to pick up and hit the ground running. Associations need to gather as much information as possible about everyone they work with, so data gives them insight into who they are serving and their needs.

Modern AMS solutions help associations continuously define and redefine their purposes and how they are serving their changing member needs.

Key Differences between an AMS and a CRM System

  • A CRM is used to store information for the purposes of managing business relationships.

  • An AMS is used to store information about people, provide a platform for communication and store documents for everyone to access.

  • A CRM system helps companies to improve customer service and retain more customers. It allows companies to collect and analyse data about their customers. This information can be used to target marketing campaigns.

  • An AMS system helps organisations be a part of an industry community, when the main goal is to retain existing members and earn through non-dues revenue.

The problems with AMS providers

The problem with typical AMS providers is that they've struggled to keep up with the modern era of digital transformation, especially when it comes to community. 86% of brands have stated that community is vital to their success, so when you compare a typical AMS with a membership solution like Ugenie, you can see how Ugenie is leading the way by pushing for community to be at the heart of your association.

Our AMS and Membership Management Software has been built just for that reason - Helping associations become more community-led organisations. Check out how Ugenie can help your association by booking a demo or starting a free trial.



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