Top 5 Reasons Why You Need a Membership CRM

Top 5 Reasons Why You Need a Membership CRM
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Every day I speak to all types of membership organisations, discussing their biggest issues and identifying areas where we can help. I’ve worked with a range of professional associations, trade associations, voluntary associations, political parties, charities, learned societies and more.

Over my 6 years working in CRM and digital transformation, no matter the type of organisation, the same topics come up again and again. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together my top 5 reasons that membership organisations need a CRM.

Reason 1: Understanding your members & membership

Having a ‘member first’ approach is always critical in any successful membership organisation. So how do you go about this?

Well, the first step to delivering a member first experience is understanding them and their interests,  and then being able to collect and report on this in a structured way. Tracking feedback from members individually, and also being able to pull everything together so you can spot trends. 

This is where a CRM comes into play. It’s designed to do all of these tasks, letting you see what your members are engaging with and how they are gaining value from your organisation. This data can then help you provide them with a more personal and valuable experience, which in turn keeps them happy. And a happy member is more likely to not only stay with your organisation but also promote it to others! Set up properly it’s a win-win. And your CRM is a key part of making it possible.

Reason 2: Sign up and renewals

I regularly speak with membership managers who don’t have a CRM currently in place. And most of them state that sign ups and renewals are the most difficult, time consuming and challenging part of their job. And they’re vital to get right!

Online forms to populate spreadsheets, downloadable PDFs, or even paper forms are all common sign up routes for those without a CRM. Most of these then require lengthy manual processing. CRMs meanwhile can completely streamline this process. You can easily offer direct sign ups or create structured application processes which can be tracked through each stage. With all your data in one place and automation in place, this can save membership managers significant time and frustration

The same goes for renewals. I know many membership managers who fear the ‘dreaded’ renewal process. Usually, it’s not the renewal itself that causes this apprehension, but the admin around it. From collecting more information to decide a member's tier for that year, to generating invoices, chasing payments or emailing about pricing changes.

CRMs can automate a lot of these tasks. From pre-scheduling emails with webforms asking for information gathering to auto-generating invoices, to automatically emailing reminders when payments are late. It’s also super easy to segment your members into those facing price changes so you can bulk email them. Your CRM is there to assist you so renewals become significantly easier for you and your members.

Reason 3: Tailored and personalised emails and content 

A lot of membership managers don’t have the setup or tools they need to collect relevant data on their members i.e. what content they find interesting, what events they like to attend or what campaigns they like to donate to. When you know what they are most interested in, you can tailor your communications to them which will help them ember feel valued and engage more.

Using a CRM (especially with a powerful member portal!) ) dramatically improves your capability as a membership manager to capture this information and then report on it. Not only can you see what events they are attending or what campaigns they have clicked on or donated to all under one roof, but you can go one step further. 

You can send forms (automatically if you wish) for your members to update their personal preferences that will directly update the details in the CRM without your intervention. This means they can keep you up to date on what they like 24/7 at a time convenient to them, without having to call you up or email you (and prevent any important details from getting lost in the Monday inbox tidy up!).

With this data to hand, you can provide the most valuable information to your members and provide a tailored and personalised email experience, including relevant event invites, campaigns and newsletters with information they will actually want to read about. . Or even wish them a happy birthday when the day arises. Everybody enjoys that! 

Reason 4: Reporting

We’ve all been guilty of filling notepads and even spreadsheets with information that if combined with other data would make for some really interesting reading. So how do you take proper advantage of all the data you’re gathering on your membership?

Well, following on from reason 3, a powerful CRM allows you to collect all your information in one place. And once it’s there, create detailed reports highlighting trends with useful visuals.

This can help you in a few ways. Decision making is an obvious one. Understanding the state of play lets you make more informed decisions on your members’ needs and how you can best provide them with support and value.

Another major way this helps is in putting together reporting for any trustees or boards. A lot of the organisations I work with spend hours or even days trawling through pages of notes and documents to build their end of quarter or year reporting. Using a CRM all of this could be done in moments with pre-created reports filtering your data automatically. All the data you need in just a few clicks.

Reason 5: Making the membership manager’s job easier 

“Siloed data”, “outdated spreadsheets”, “hard to navigate clunky legacy systems” are phrases I hear every single day. Being a membership manager brings with it a lot of responsibilities to both attract and retain members. That means coming up with and executing creative ideas, building meaningful relationships, and delivering the best possible experience for your members.

With all of these mission critical responsibilities, the last thing a membership manager needs is to feel that even their ‘simple’ tasks are being made more difficult and consuming more of their time than they would like.

CRMs empower membership managers in so many ways. Even something as small as automatic notifications can make a massive difference. No longer do you have to manually send renewal emails, event sign up confirmations, go back and forth on updating member profiles, or confirm donations and grant applications. Instead, you save so much time, energy and resources that can instead be spent on letting membership managers do what they do best. Grow their membership and provide amazing value to existing members.


To put all of what I’ve talked about today in one point, the main theme I come across time and time again is that so much time is being spent on manual and labour intensive tasks. And these are important tasks! But the extra effort and time they take can be dramatically reduced or removed completely with an all-in-one membership CRM.

And this is where CiviPlus comes in. All the things you’ve read about today? CiviPlus can do all of them and more. If you’d like a chat about how CiviPlus could help you focus on what you do best, I’m always happy to advise. You can book a meeting with me directly here.

Howdy y’all,

We are delighted to announce a new integration of CiviCRM with Open Social, a community engagement platform.

CiviCRM is the number one open source CRM for not-for profits, used by more than 11,000 organisations worldwide, and Open Social is a leading community engagement platform, used by over 1000 organisations in a range of different industries from Charities to member organisations and companies also.

It’s exciting news for organisations using CiviCRM, who will now be able to combine the power of CiviCRM with the collaboration and community building that the Open Social platform provides.
If you’ve not heard of community platforms before, a community platform is a tool that allows your organisation to create your own branded and tailored social network. Users of the platform (normally your members or supporters) can interact, join groups to share knowledge and exchange ideas, publish and promote events and collaborate within a safe online curated space. With a community platform you can expand your digital offer and strengthen your relationship with your supporters.

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Open Social is open source (much like CiviCRM) and as such has no user licences fees. This means it can be deployed affordably to scale to even the largest of communities. It’s also flexible with a huge range of different add-on modules that can be integrated to enhance the platform.

Our new two-way integration between Open Social and CiviCRM syncs data between the two platforms allowing information about the groups and committees that members have joined to be seamlessly synced to CiviCRM. You can even create Open Social groups and manage their membership directly from within CiviCRM, which would be useful for managing private groups in the case of committees or working groups.

By combining the data of a community platform with that in your CiviCRM your organisation can obtain deep insights into your members' interests and behaviours. You can see which groups are popular and engage with your members on topical issues, automating communications and tailoring their experience.

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A great example is a recent implementation for the UN’s PRI (Principles of Responsible Investment). Their user community includes over 2,900 organisations with over 40,000 individuals spread across 6 continents. Their Community Platform now supports discussions between 24,000 users with over 750 online collaboration spaces. The data is seamlessly synced to their CRM allowing for deep insight guiding their policy engagements.

As Open Social partners, we would be delighted to help you start your journey with Open Social and help you build your online community. We can help you through both the implementation and the CiviCRM integration (or other CRM integration such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM).

Please contact us through our website or by email at

Further information about Open Social can be found at their website:

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