NFP & Association Membership Management Software User Research Report

Catherine Lever - Member Evolution
Capterra performed a survey in early 2015 covering 400 businesses of all shapes and sizes to compare the different types of membership management software they are currently using. 
Managing an association, NFP or organisation before the times of automated membership management systems was hard. Membership information was previously saved in spreadsheets and there was duplicated and inaccurate data all over the place. New member applications were done by hand via hard paper copies and then posted out in an envelope with all of the membership communications. Luckily today the technology and software has progressed in leaps and bounds making collaboration easier than ever before as well as providing automated reporting, online membership registrations and enhanced member communication. 
The research report is extremely thorough and demonstrates the buying process for software, how they felt about their systems and how they use their current systems. 
Software Industry Breakdown
Membership Management Software users came from a verity of different industries, and the highest percentages were in the NFP sector and professional associations. 
Membership management industry
Breakdown of Company Membership 
28% of membership management organisations had between 50-199 members, while 17% had 500 – 999, only 6% had over 5,000 members. 
Membership totals
Membership Revenue and Size
Among all of the organisations there was a connection between the membership size and revenue. Those organisations that had under $250,000 per year in revenue had less than 50 members. Those with revenue exceeding $100 million had over 5,000 members.       
Switching Membership Systems
The statistics for switching membership management systems was interesting and showed that 41% said they did switch software solution while 49% said they did not. This indicates people would rather stick with the system and process they have already been using. 
For those who did switch management systems the reasons were:
  • 20% said the previous software did not have the right features
  • 19% thought the previous software was too expensive
  • 18% said that the support provided was not good 
  • 16% software was too hard to use 
  • 16% the software did not support the organisation size 
  •  13% previous software was no longer supported
The most important aspect for both if they had switched or not was ease of use from 28% of the respondents, this indicates that staff are not technology expert and thus require software that does no have a steep learning curve. Functionality came soon after at 26% then price, support, company reputation, implementation training and software popularity.    
Software Feature Set
The most popular tool used by respondents was email communication, followed by member database, new member sign-up, website content management system (CMS), reporting tools, and file sharing. 
The most desired features was to have a mobile app, followed by donation acceptance, customised web design, mobile access and member discussion boards. 
Software Influence on Member Engagement 
Users noted that the software they were using made a substantial impact on their membership satisfaction and engagement at 57%. Over 52% felt that it had an impact on their membership growth and event attendance at 51%. Member retention was also high at 49% and donation size come after and donation frequency. 
membership software report
There is no doubt that the membership software an association, NFP or organisation is using impacts directly on their member engagement and retention rates. 
*All Image are from Capterra membership management software research report.