Top Questions: Mistakes Associations Make When Using Their Membership Database

Categories: Membership Marketing & Technology

Last week, WebLink hosted a webinar for business associations and chambers of commerce titled,“5 Mistakes That Haunt Associations When Using Their Membership Database.”

The webinar detailed common mistakes that associations make with their membership database, demonstrated solutions to the problems and showed ways to use your association management software (AMS) to provide better service to your members.

During registration for the webinar, we asked attendees some questions about their current association management software.

Question 1: Do you use association management software to manage your organization?


Question 2:  Is your database integrated with your website, events, finances, and email communications?


While most chambers of commerce and associations are using either an off-the-shelf association management software solution or a custom solution, the mistakes highlighted in the webinar are common throughout all types of associations.

Here are some of the top questions from the webinar.

1.   Several of our staff members keep notes and lists in Excel instead of our AMS.  Is this bad?

The webinar also detailed key points that business associations should consider when developing a mobile strategy.  These included reviewing data and surveying members to determine the best solutions for your association.

Here are some of the top questions from the webinar.

– See more at:

Yes. In fact, this is the first mistake we highlighted during the webinar. If your association management software does not allow you to create custom groups, lists, notes and fields for tracking additional information, you’re creating big potential headaches for your staff and your members with outdated information that can’t be shared effectively.  Find ways to keep everything you need to manage your members in one centralized location – your association management software.

2.   You mentioned recording conversations with members.  What does that mean?

First, it does not mean to record your phone calls with members.  What we’re looking for here is documentation of phone calls, emails or face to face conversations in your association management software to keep a historical record for all staff members to view.   This allows your staff to be informed of past discussions and provide better service to your members.

3.   Why is sharing log ins bad?

Sometimes, associations will create generic log ins such as “admin” or “marketing” to allow anyone to log in and to reduce the need to update users when staff members join or leave the organization.  Besides creating a security risk, using generic log ins does nothing to help your organization understand how your staff is using your association management software.  You cannot use audit trails to know who made a change to a member record or when it was changed.   And, when documenting conversations as described in #2, having unique users will help your team know which specific staff member talked with a member of your association.

4.  What information should we be storing in our membership database that we’re not?

Well, you should be storing any data that helps you understand your members and provide better service to them.  This includes information about their business such as number of employees, the year they were founded and the specific business category(ies) they are in. You should also record the reasons why they joined your organization and the topics or issues they are interested in so you can make sure you provide that information to them in the future.

And, you should store your members’ social media pages in your association management software.   A business’s Facebook page or Twitter feed has become just as important as their phone number.   You need to know which members have pages on which networks and keep that information in your membership database.  In addition, in your association’s online membership directory, be sure to include links to your members’ social media pages to help connect them with potential customers.

5.  Can we get a copy of the presentation?  

Yes, we’ve embedded a copy of our presentation below.

6.  Will you offer a recording of today’s webinar?

Sure, see the video below.

We’ll be scheduling more webinars on how associations and chambers of commerce are using association management software and other technology to deliver value to their members and grow their business.  Please let me know what topics you’d like covered.


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