Is your club looking for a solution to manage your members? Look no further!
Finding the right software is not easy, and while there may not be a software that fits all of your needs, there are many that come close. With that in mind, we have created a list of software superlatives to help you find the best option for your club.
In this article we will cover:
- What a Club Management Software Is
- What Features Club Management Software Should Include
- Best Basic Software
- Best Specialized Software
- Best Accounting Feature
- Best for Integrations
- Best All-in-One
Let’s jump in!
What a Club Management Software Is
Before we dive into the features that your club needs, first we need to define what club management software is.
Essentially, it is a management system for any type of club. A management software enables your organization to store all of its information in one place, and uses smart technology to automate previously manual tasks (like marking which contacts are members, donors, volunteers, etc.).
This type of system is important for your club because it will save you vital time that you can repurpose to more important mission focused tasks!
What Features Club Management Software Should Include
As a club, there are a few factors to consider when choosing the best management software for you:
- The software should be best suited for membership based organizations. Most club softwares can either be categorized as a fundraising software (such as Classy) or a membership software (like AssoConnect). Fundraising systems are more devoted to donation-based organizations, and invest more in their donor management and fundraising features. Having a software that is more adapted to organizations with members will guarantee easy creation of membership campaigns, a membership space, member management, and communication with members. If you are not sure if the software you are looking at is 100% membership based, we recommend that you read reviews, look at the software description on their website and comparator sites, and to ask for a free demo and/or ask their customer success team to detail the offer for you.
- CRM and/or database management system - Your organization will need to be able to look at your database and easily be able to find vital information, such as when a member joined, when their membership renews, or any other historical data, and use this to communicate efficiently with them. The days of going through excel and marking which members need to renew membership is over! CRM tools allow you to automate administrative tasks that take your organization hours (or maybe even days) to do by hand.
- Communication management - Not only do you need a software that allows you to communicate with your members, but you should be able to create a communication campaign in less than 5 minutes and be able to connect this to your CRM. For example, you should be able to send a newsletter exclusively to active members in just a few clicks.
- Calendar of events - Being a club, you have several member meet-ups throughout the year, and maybe even daily. Your software should have a calendar of events that allows you to keep track of your meetups, and allow members to view these get-togethers. Bonus points if the software allows you to choose which events are visible to the public or members only. For the highest level of efficiency, this calendar should be visible on your website, and connected to your CRM.
- Website builder - Ensure your potential members have all of the information they need to become a member, and that your current members have everything they need to succeed. A website enables you to store all of this information in an attractive format that is easy to use, along with hosting your space for potential members to become members, or for current members to sign in.
- Bonus feature: Accounting - Not all clubs need this feature, which is why we listed it as a bonus, but it is nice to have from the start if you plan on growing your membership base. An accounting feature allows you to keep track of all invoices, payments, refunds, and run reports. Although helpful, this feature is more suited for donation based organizations that require things like tax receipts.
All of these software features will help your club save time and make sure that your organization is running as smooth as possible. We took all of these factors into consideration when examining the following softwares to give you the best list of club management systems possible!
Best Basic Software: Raklet
We like what Raklet has to offer because it is a good option if you are a very small club that needs to step away from Excel but isn’t looking for advanced features.
Raklet is an all-in-one software and their features include CRM, social network, job board, collecting donations, selling tickets, managing memberships, sending texts, and sending emails. This covers most of the aspects that your club will need, excluding a website builder and calendar of events, but including other features like social networks and a job board.
We consider Raklet to be the best basic club software because you can choose a subscription based on what features you want. Instead of getting all of the features that a more established club might need, you can choose to go with the most basic option of Raklet which includes the CRM tool that will allow you to automate your administrative tasks, like using Excel.
The downsides of this software is that it can get expensive if you want all of the features, including communication campaigns. In addition, it is not possible to set up a website, which is not necessarily a tool that will grow with you, but is ideal for getting off the ground and setting up basic processes.
Although we mention these as negative points, these are both reasons why we consider Raklet to be the best basic software. These "downsides" will work in your favor if you are transitioning from Excel and just need basic features, but will not be good for a club that needs a fully functional and integrative software.
Best Specialized Software: Mindbody
Specialized softwares (ex: for sports clubs) are good for operations because they are formatted specifically for your type of club. The downside to these are that you will either have to pay a lot to get them to fit your needs, or have to use several other tools that don’t communicate with each other.
We chose this one as an example of what a specialized software can do and how it can be tailored specifically to you.
Minbody was originally built for fitness clubs and yoga and pilates studios. Their basic features include hosting online classes, marketing functions, online booking, self-check in, and online payment. Because of its high level of specialization, Mindbody is best for scheduling group classes/events, one-on-one training sessions, and managing employees’ schedules.
These are all great features for your club if you are a fitness club, and will make your day to day operations run much smoother. The drawback of using mindbody, like any other specialized software, is that it is hard to use if your club is not a fitness club, and it will have a high cost to personalize it to your organization. This is general for all specialized softwares, so be sure to analyze if an all-in-one or specialized solution is the best for your club.
Best for Accounting: Wild Apricot
Wild Apricot is another all-in-one software that includes CRM, membership management, events, store, donations, finances, email, and a website builder. This software meets all of the requirements we mentioned earlier, which makes it a great option for established clubs looking to optimize their daily operations.
Another advantage to this software is that its cost is based on the number of contacts in the database, instead of on basic vs. premium features. This is fairly common for all-in-one softwares, and is especially helpful for clubs that need the full features package. This allows you to get everything that your organization needs to run a successful club without having to pay more.
The biggest advantage of this software is that it includes a fully functional accounting feature! Most membership based softwares don’t have this feature included or integrated as well, so if your club needs revenue management this will be a good option for you.
The one inconvenience about Wild Apricot is that it is not as user friendly as the other all-in-one options. The interface is not as appealing and there is often a lot of information on the screen which can seem overwhelming. Although it is important to have all of this information, it is better to have it in a format that any user can understand. This said, each software has their own pitfalls, and Wild Apricot is a good software and will save you time.
Best for Integrations: JOIN IT
This software includes less of the features that you need, as their basic tools include membership management, communication, events, finances, and insights. You can see that there are quite a few missing functionalities here, but where JOIN IT lacks in features, they make up for it with integrations.
An integration is when two softwares come together to communicate with each other, enabling the software to have features that it otherwise wouldn’t have. For example, a management software that doesn’t include communication might integrate with an email tool which would allow users to send emails while tracking which contacts have received them in its CRM.
These integrations allow you to keep using tools that you love in connection with the club software features that you need, like membership management. The benefits of integration allow you to address almost any problem that your club may face, which then enables you to run your organization as efficiently as possible.
JOIN IT integrates with: stripe, eventbrite, mailchimp, zapier, quickbooks, zoom, google analytics, slack, constant contact, kindful, mailjet, surveymonkey, shopify, emma, campaign monitor, webhooks, and sendlane.
As with any software, there is a downside to JOIN IT and in this case it is the cost associated with integrations. Although the integrations can be helpful to guarantee you are using the best tools possible, you will also have to pay for each of these instruments separately. By the time you are done paying for the software and integrations you could have developed a personalized software that better fits your needs. On the other hand, if you only need one or two integrations, and these are tools that you cannot live without, JOIN IT might be the perfect solution for you!
Best All-in-One: AssoConnect
We don’t mean to toot our own horns, but AssoConnect was developed for clubs, by club leaders. Our strength is membership based organizations because we have invested considerable time in developing these features in our software.
In addition to membership management and CRM, we offer donor management, group management, management of entities/chapters, attendance lists, a website builder, calendar, communication campaigns, events, online and physical store, statistics, and a free integration with trello. Bonus: our accounting feature will be released in 2021.
Above all, our biggest strength is that there are no tech skills required, ever. Everyone can use our software regardless of age, time, or experience. Our goal is to save your club time, and that means no confusing "solutions." All of our forms were designed in the same manner, so once you have done one campaign you can create another in seconds. In addition to this, we offer website and email templates that are easy to use with drag and drop features so anyone can use these features.
There is one drawback to using AssoConnect, and that is that we are not a specialized software. If you are looking for a specialized software depending on which type of club you are (fitness club, college sorority/fraternity, youth community club, etc.), you may want to consider another option.
With this in mind, be sure to conduct an analysis of the pros and cons of specialized software vs. all in one before making your software decision! This will help to ensure your club is using the best software that fits your needs and saves you time and money.
We hope this article has helped you to pick a Club Management Software that will help your organization to run more efficiently! Leave a comment below to let us know if you chose one of these options, and what your decision was based on.
AssoConnect is trusted by over 15,000 nonprofit’s to help them run their organizations on a daily basis. See if it could work for you with a free 30 day trial!