Software Advice has helped many buyers find membership management software so they can process payments, keep in touch with members and manage dues. How does it work?

Membership Management Software

 
Wild Apricot logo
 
Wild Apricot is a cloud-based membership management system used by business and trade associations, chambers of commerce, nonprofits, charities, clubs and community organizations. It supports organizations from a few members to 15,000... Read More
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Wild Apricot is a cloud-based membership management system used by business and trade associations, chambers of commerce, nonprofits, charities, clubs and community organizations. It supports organizations from a few members to 15,000... Read More
 
Member365 logo
 
Member365 is a cloud-based nonprofit solution for member-based organizations. Features offered within the platform include membership management, automated membership renewal, a member portal, event planning, email marketing, fundraising... Read More
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Member365 is a cloud-based nonprofit solution for member-based organizations. Features offered within the platform include membership management, automated membership renewal, a member portal, event planning, email marketing, fundraising... Read More
 
Zen Planner logo
 
Zen Planner is member management software for gyms, affiliate gyms, martial arts schools, MMA schools and fitness studios. It includes integrated payment processing and automated billing, a self-service kiosk iPad app, both a member... Read More
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Zen Planner is member management software for gyms, affiliate gyms, martial arts schools, MMA schools and fitness studios. It includes integrated payment processing and automated billing, a self-service kiosk iPad app, both a member... Read More
 
GrowthZone logo
 
GrowthZone, formerly MemberZone, is an online platform designed to help non-profits manage their members, fundraising, marketing, donors and volunteers.  An online application form facilitates member signup, and the data from that... Read More
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GrowthZone, formerly MemberZone, is an online platform designed to help non-profits manage their members, fundraising, marketing, donors and volunteers.  An online application form facilitates member signup, and the data from that... Read More
 
NeonCRM logo
 
NeonCRM by Z2 Systems, Inc. is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) suite for small to large nonprofits such as animal welfare groups, human services, and philanthropic foundations. Applications include marketing and... Read More
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NeonCRM by Z2 Systems, Inc. is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) suite for small to large nonprofits such as animal welfare groups, human services, and philanthropic foundations. Applications include marketing and... Read More

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Memberplanet logo
 
Memberplanet is nonprofit membership management software designed for both small and growing organizations. The system is applicable for use by arts and cultural organizations, associations, international and national groups and philanthropic... Read More
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Memberplanet is nonprofit membership management software designed for both small and growing organizations. The system is applicable for use by arts and cultural organizations, associations, international and national groups and philanthropic... Read More
 
Exware Association Management logo
 
Exware offers a cloud-based association and membership management solution for nonprofit organizations and associations. Key features include website management, membership management, membership directories, online donations, e-newsletters,... Read More
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Exware offers a cloud-based association and membership management solution for nonprofit organizations and associations. Key features include website management, membership management, membership directories, online donations, e-newsletters,... Read More
 
ClubExpress logo
 
ClubExpress is a cloud-based management tool for any association or club. The solution is suitable for arts and cultural clubs, environmental groups, health care and hospitals, higher education groups, human services organizations,... Read More
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ClubExpress is a cloud-based management tool for any association or club. The solution is suitable for arts and cultural clubs, environmental groups, health care and hospitals, higher education groups, human services organizations,... Read More
 
MemberLeap logo
 
MemberLeap by Vieth Consulting is a cloud-based association management system built to support the needs of associations, nonprofits, clubs, churches and other member-based organizations. Suitable for any size organization, this system... Read More
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MemberLeap by Vieth Consulting is a cloud-based association management system built to support the needs of associations, nonprofits, clubs, churches and other member-based organizations. Suitable for any size organization, this system... Read More
 
EventBank logo
 
EventBank is a cloud-based platform offering event management, membership management, customer relationship management (CRM), email marketing, payment processing and dedicated mobile apps. With EventBank’s membership renewal workflow,... Read More
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EventBank is a cloud-based platform offering event management, membership management, customer relationship management (CRM), email marketing, payment processing and dedicated mobile apps. With EventBank’s membership renewal workflow,... Read More

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MatchMaker FundRaising logo
 
MatchMaker FundRaising Software helps small and midsize nonprofits manage fundraising and donor relationships. Deployment options include client-server and hosted deployment. It is suitable for a range of nonprofits, including those... Read More
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MatchMaker FundRaising Software helps small and midsize nonprofits manage fundraising and donor relationships. Deployment options include client-server and hosted deployment. It is suitable for a range of nonprofits, including those... Read More
 
ACTIVE Net logo
 
ACTIVE Net offers a cloud-based event management solution suitable for YMCAs, non-profits, parks and recreation departments, campus and local communities which help them to improve community business and member engagement. This software... Read More
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ACTIVE Net offers a cloud-based event management solution suitable for YMCAs, non-profits, parks and recreation departments, campus and local communities which help them to improve community business and member engagement. This software... Read More
 
MemberClicks logo
 
MemberClicks offers a configurable, cloud-based software solution to small associations and member-based organizations. The system can stand alone as a membership website and social community or integrate with an existing website... Read More
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MemberClicks offers a configurable, cloud-based software solution to small associations and member-based organizations. The system can stand alone as a membership website and social community or integrate with an existing website... Read More
 
StarChapter Association Management logo
 
StarChapter is a cloud-based association management software solution for local or national, professional and trade associations. The system offers membership management, online event registration, email communication and website content... Read More
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StarChapter is a cloud-based association management software solution for local or national, professional and trade associations. The system offers membership management, online event registration, email communication and website content... Read More
 
Configio logo
 
Configio is a membership management software solution that provides a way for businesses to build their own curriculum for online courses. The program includes exams, chapters, assignments and syllabi within a cloud-based format accessible... Read More
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Configio is a membership management software solution that provides a way for businesses to build their own curriculum for online courses. The program includes exams, chapters, assignments and syllabi within a cloud-based format accessible... Read More

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Membee logo
 
Membee is a cloud-based membership management platform designed to manage members, volunteers and employees. Key features include personnel tracking, committee management, group management, dues billing and communications. Membee is... Read More
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Membee is a cloud-based membership management platform designed to manage members, volunteers and employees. Key features include personnel tracking, committee management, group management, dues billing and communications. Membee is... Read More
 
ClubRunner logo
 
ClubRunner is a cloud-based membership management solution for nonprofits, boards, service clubs, associations and chambers of all sizes. Key features include a website designer, member directories, reports, emails, e-bulletin, contact... Read More
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ClubRunner is a cloud-based membership management solution for nonprofits, boards, service clubs, associations and chambers of all sizes. Key features include a website designer, member directories, reports, emails, e-bulletin, contact... Read More
 
DonorView logo
 
DonorView is a cloud-based donation and membership management software for nonprofit organizations. It provides member-information management tools, online surveys, email marketing, forms and reports. DonorView’s contact management... Read More
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DonorView is a cloud-based donation and membership management software for nonprofit organizations. It provides member-information management tools, online surveys, email marketing, forms and reports. DonorView’s contact management... Read More
 
MemberNova logo
 
MemberNova is a configurable cloud-based software platform designed to help non-profits and associations monitor member engagement, manage membership experience and track growth through task automation and communication tools. MemberNova’s... Read More
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MemberNova is a configurable cloud-based software platform designed to help non-profits and associations monitor member engagement, manage membership experience and track growth through task automation and communication tools. MemberNova’s... Read More
 
ClubRight logo
 
ClubRight is a cloud-based membership management solution designed for gyms, clubs, dance and fitness studios and martial arts centers. The solution offers membership management, self-service portals, billing and payment management,... Read More
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ClubRight is a cloud-based membership management solution designed for gyms, clubs, dance and fitness studios and martial arts centers. The solution offers membership management, self-service portals, billing and payment management,... Read More

 

Buyer's Guide

by Andrew Friedenthal,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: July 14, 2017


Membership-based organizations serve a wide range of communities: museums, clubs, cultural societies, civic leagues, unions, professional associations and more.

Most start small, with a handful of people who share an interest or idea. But it doesn't take long for a founder to realize that tracking participation, payments, renewals and contact details, even for a small group, is a lot of work.

That's where membership management software comes in. These solutions help leaders record and track important member details in order to best serve them and grow the organization.

In this guide, we'll answer the following questions:

Reviewers' Choice
What Is Membership Management Software?
What Features Are Most Common?
How Is Membership Software Priced?
Membership vs. Association Management: What’s the Difference?
Who Buys Membership Software?

Note: While this guide focuses on membership management for nonprofits, clubs and similar associations, it's important to understand that there are other industries that require this type of functionality. For example, software products for fitness clubs, campus recreation centers and sports clubs also incorporate membership management features. This type of software is described in our club membership buyer's guide.

Reviewers' Choice

membership management reviewers choice

 

Reviewers' Choice Products

ClubRunner DonorView
GrowthZone MatchMaker
Zen Planner Wild Apricot

Our Reviewers’ Choice list shows the five highest user-rated software solutions for Membership Management when adjusted for total number of reviews and recency of reviews.

If a software solution has more reviews, and more recent reviews, we value those ratings more highly than a product with fewer, older reviews. This is because is it much harder to get 100 five-star reviews than it is to get 10.

We also know that software vendors continually tweak and update their product, so we believe that more recent reviews tend to be more accurate.

To determine which products made the final cut, we looked at how users rated each solution's:

  • Overall performance,
  • Ease of use, and
  • Customer support

A solution can make the Reviewers' Choice top five in all three categories, or just one or two. All software solutions in the Reviewers' Choice have at least 10 reviews from real software users. The final products are listed in alphabetical order from left to right.

For more details on how we selected our Reviewers' Choice, read the full methodology.

What Is Membership Management Software?

At its core, membership software is a database for hosting member contact details and interactions, payment due dates, relevant interests and more. Its purpose is to simplify business management tasks and communications for membership-based organizations.

Functionality varies greatly from product to product. Some are built specifically for small organizations, with modules that are no-frills and easy to use. Others are geared toward very large organizations and come with more technical capabilities to support things such as events, committees, awards and continuing education.

Member profile for Personify360
Member profile for Personify360

What Features Are Most Common?

Membership management software offers a range of functionalities, from bare bones to highly sophisticated. No matter the complexity, nearly every product includes the following common features:

Member database Create and store member records in a single location. Some systems include a self-service portal, which lets members sign up, log in, view records and keep their own data up to date.
Dues management Let users set membership levels and pricing structures; automatically generates renewal reminders to collect payments manually or online.
Payment processing Accept credit card and other payment types directly through the software. Some membership products also integrate with accounting software, so transactions don't have to be entered manually.
Communication tools Keep in touch with members by creating member lists, then customize messaging to members on the list. More advanced systems also support mass text messaging.
Reporting Filter and export member data for insights that inform fundraising, marketing, events and other planning tasks.
Dues tracking report in Dashboard membership management system

Dues tracking report in Dashboard membership management system

You’ll likely find some of these less common features offered as add-on modules to enhance your software capabilities:

Website management Many systems offer the capability to create and manage a mobile-friendly website, so current and potential members can more easily find information about your organization online.
Mobile app To complement the website, some vendors may offer a mobile app, giving members a simpler way to access their membership information, donate or contact the organization.
Email marketing In addition to text communication, software can include the ability design branded emails and strategically email specific groups.
Online store Build an online store to sell products, such as clothing or books, directly on the website.

How Is Membership Software Priced?

Many membership management products on the market today are “cloud-based."

Cloud-based products, also referred to as online membership management systems, are hosted on the software vendor's servers, and available to users on-demand through any compatible device's internet browser.

Cloud systems have the same functionality as “on-premise" solutions (which are hosted on the user's own servers). However, updates for cloud systems are automatically rolled out by the vendor to all users, with no download required.

Membership management mobile interface for Wild Apricot
Membership management mobile interface for Wild Apricot

 

Furthermore, most cloud products have a subscription-based pricing structure. Whereas perpetual pricing requires users to pay one large upfront fee to use the software indefinitely, under subscription pricing, users pay a lower monthly or annual fee.

Functional capabilities can also affect software pricing. These capabilities increase at higher price levels.

License fees vs. functional breadth and depth

Price levels for membership management products are often determined by the number of records stored in the system. For example, an organization with 100 records might be charged the lowest monthly or annual fee, while an organization with 10,000 records might be charged the highest fee.

Membership vs. Association Management: What’s the Difference?

Membership and association management systems both store contact details and track member dues. They are similar enough in functionality that the terms are often used interchangeably.

Association management systems (AMSs), however, are generally considered better for handling processes unique to large associations, such as:

  • Publication management
  • Sponsorships
  • Committees
  • Job boards
  • Continuing education
  • Certification tracking

Moreover, while membership management is typically offered as a single application, an AMS may bundle several applications into an integrated suite of tools to handle fundraising, financial reporting, event management and other activities.

Who Buys Membership Management Software?

Nearly any type of member-based organization can benefit from using membership software. The following organizations may benefit most, due to the communication and member-tracking abilities:

Nonprofits. Member-based nonprofit organizations may include museums, zoos, unions and chambers of commerce. These organizations rely on membership software for fundraising, membership renewals, new member recruitment, keeping current members up-to-date on deadlines, special events and other activities.

Clubs. Booster clubs, service and volunteer organizations, special interest groups and other social clubs often use this type of software to track member details and dues and distribute information on upcoming group activities.

Schools and PTAs. Education-related groups, such as small schools, parent-teacher associations and even Greek chapters and alumni groups can use software to manage communications about meetings and track member status. Some systems also offer a portal so members can contact each other.

Small associations. Associations that engage a small number of members primarily use membership software to automate dues and payment processing, track participation and contact details and support communication.

(Note: Large associations that participate in publishing, political lobbying, continuing education and conferences are usually better served by AMS products.)

 

 

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