What is an AMS?

What is an AMS?
woman asking what is an ams and another coworker showing her the system

What is an AMS?

December 24, 2020

AMS is one of those ubiquitous terms on the lips of every member at every small-association organization. But what does it actually mean? What is AMS? The acronym ‘AMS’ stands for Association Management System, and is designed to make your life a whole lot easier. And AMS’s are made to be used by professional associations of all shapes and sizes, including:

  • Cultural institutions like museums and historic houses
  • Naturalist organizations like zoos, aquariums, and public gardens
  • Alumni associations
  • Fan clubs
  • And many more!

An AMS is an all-in-one tool that helps to streamline administrative functions like email marketing, membership dues and donations, ticketing, website maintenance, and so on. One of the major benefits of engaging an AMS for your organization is that it does away with the need for multiple solutions. Every job you might have can be performed within the same program. 

With a robust AMS in your toolbox, you can:

  • Enroll audiences for membership and events online.
  • Safely and easily process payments, membership dues, and monetary donations.
  • Build a website perfectly suited to the unique needs of your organization.
  • Manage a user-friendly contact database for both members and staff. 
  • Automate member communication and experience. 
  • And more!

The idea behind AMS is to free up your time spent working on administrative tasks so that you can better connect with visitors, members and donors. Simplifying processes like ticketing and membership management means more energy and more money to dedicate to enhanced programming and audience engagement. Sounds great, right? Read on to see whether your association could benefit from an AMS. 

A quick note: Association Management Systems vs. Membership Management Software

It’s one of those things — not all AMS’ are MMS’, but all MMS’ are probably AMS’. Still with us? Great.

AMS and MMS are descriptors which are sometimes used interchangeably. The simple explanation is that Membership Management Software is just a broader term for administrative solutions that may be implemented for organizations with a membership base. AMS’ serve an ever-so-slightly more specific service, as they are specifically intended for use by professional associations and organizations. 

While most of the features of either an MMS or AMS will overlap, there may be some key differences between them. Begin your search for your AMS/MMS by listing your essentials, and make sure the program you have offers what you need for your organization. 

Does my organization need an AMS?

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are considering utilizing an AMS instead of your current system. 

Are you spending too much time on onboarding new members?

Inefficient or outdated membership systems can make onboarding feel like a chore. Obsolete solutions may require you to manually input member information to every aspect of your membership experience platform: from dues reminders, to events invitations, to standard communications emails, etc., etc. 

By implementing a modern AMS, this process can be simplified and made much more manageable, with upgrades like an automated cloud-based membership database, and membership registration.

Once members sign up, all of your member data, including communications, purchase history, event registration, etc., is stored in one convenient place within the AMS. Programs such as ACME’s Backoffice membership management system, a part of our larger solution, helps your staff manage memberships, member entitlements and member programs with ease.

Do you have difficulty implementing website changes?

Associations should need a programmer on staff in order to make basic updates to their sites. If you don’t have tech experience, simple issues with design, content, and inventory might bring your online presence crashing down.

An AMS helps you manage your website as a whole, including everything from layout to functionality. AMS’ are designed for non-profit organizations, and come equipped with templates that are easily customizable to suit your exact needs. Easily add an events page, change inventory, or install an emergency donations button with little time and effort lost. 

Are you spending too much time managing your email marketing campaigns?

In the old days you would probably find yourself manually writing out every email, plugging in the relevant details, entering every email address into the send bar, mailing it out, and doing it all over again for the next communication. The only advantage over snail mail is that your printer could finally catch a break. 

AMS’ enable you to automate your entire member communications strategy, including everything from invoices, dues reminders, receipts, event invitations, and more. You can easily sort and group different contacts based on a number of criteria, ensuring your members only get the most relevant content and information for them. All you have to do is write the messages. 

Are you finding it difficult to set up online event registration, ticketing, donations and payments?

Does your current payment and registration strategy involve a third party? Are you using an external solution to sell your tickets? Having a nonnative system for ticket sales, event registrations, and donations complicates the process, and can be confusing and even off-putting for your audience. 

An AMS allows you to integrate all of your online processes: everything from ticket sales to online merchandise purchases can be conducted from your website. You can set special member ticket pricing, automate membership dues and donations payments, and safely conduct other online monetary transactions. You can additionally send out reminders of all kinds, including invoices, and upcoming events on your calendar. 

How ACME can help. 

ACME is a comprehensive ticketing, membership, and POS solution designed for cultural institutions of all kinds, including zoos, museums, public gardens, and more. ACME ticketing has integrated with systems such as Raiser’s Edge and Salesforce to bring our clients a robust Membership Management System to take the stress out of administrative tasks at your organization. 

Our system, was designed to help your staff manage memberships, member entitlements and member programs with ease, as well as connect with the best in breed CRMs to create the most powerful network of systems to help grow your business. To see how ACME can work for you, sign up for a demo today.

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