Nonprofit funding comes from various sources—regular and major gifts, grants, in-kind donations, corporate sponsorships, planned gifts, and eCommerce sales are a few of the most common. In addition, some nonprofits also rely partly or entirely on memberships to support their missions.
If your nonprofit offers memberships to engage supporters more deeply in your organization’s activities, you need robust software to keep your program organized. This guide will review the basics of membership software for nonprofits and the top solutions to consider. Here’s our roadmap:
- What is membership software for nonprofits?
- Features of membership software for nonprofits
- Benefits of membership management software
- Top membership management software for nonprofits
- How to choose the right membership software
Membership software is an investment, but it will pay for itself, allowing your nonprofit to expand its membership program efficiently and effectively.
What is membership software for nonprofits?
Nonprofit membership software is usually a platform organizations can use to manage memberships and engage participants to boost revenue and program growth. These solutions are similar to constituent relationship management systems (CRMs) but they manage member information rather than donor information.
Features of membership software for nonprofits
Membership management software unites all member data in one convenient location. This type of software usually gives you the ability to:
- Track member information through a database. Store details about members’ demographics, professions, locations, networking connections, and more. Use segmentation tools to identify connections between members, such as those who work in the same field or live in the same area. Create groups to send more personalized communications to different membership segments.
- Manage multiple programs and membership levels. Offer different membership tiers, each with its own benefits or level of access. For example, lower-level members might gain access to an exclusive membership newsletter and discounted merchandise, while higher-tier members receive invites to your nonprofit’s annual gala. Membership management software makes it easy to define and manage each tier, ensuring all members get the benefits they’re entitled to.
- Enable potential new members to easily join online. Your website is likely the first place potential members will go to learn more about your program. Membership management software allows new members to easily join online using a digital form that only collects necessary information to make sign-up short and sweet.
- Send multichannel communications. Keep members in the loop with communications on multiple marketing platforms, including email, direct mail, and text. Send invoices, welcome messages, newsletters, and more from one central platform.
- Calculate members’ statuses and upcoming renewal dates. Your membership management software will automatically note members’ join dates to track renewal dates. You can send multichannel communications to members (including emails and letters) reminding them that their membership will automatically renew.
- Automate annual renewals. With auto-renewals, members don’t have to worry about manually renewing their memberships. This can boost membership retention and provide greater convenience for members.
- Track non-deductible membership fees. As a 501(c)(3) organization, some portion of members’ fees may be tax deductible. However, if you offer benefits to members in exchange for fees, such as special publications or events, the portion of the membership fee that covers these perks may not be tax deductible. Membership management software will keep these categories straight to avoid any compliance issues.
Membership organizations have unique needs when it comes to tracking member information, dues, and member renewals. Membership software for nonprofits helps automate communications and tracking, saving your staff time and preventing unneeded stress on your team members.
Benefits of membership management software
Most membership nonprofits find membership management software to be worth the investment because these systems allow you to:
- Attract new members. By clearly articulating your membership tiers and benefits across multiple marketing channels, you can connect with potential new members who would be a good fit for your program.
- Cultivate impactful relationships to increase retention. Using member data, personalize member communications and spotlight opportunities that align with your members’ interests and preferences. This builds stronger connections with members and shows them the value of your program.
- Save time through automation. Spend less time tracking down late membership fees and sending renewal notices and more time interacting with your members and building genuine relationships.
Growing your membership base and retaining members starts with knowing who your members are and connecting with them in ways that resonate. Using membership management tools, you can create a personalized experience that exceeds member expectations.
Top membership management software for nonprofits
To help narrow down your search for the right membership software for your organization, we’ve compiled a list of top solutions to consider. Start by comparing the top options here:
|Small to mid-sized nonprofits
|Available via phone, email, and chat
|Maintains direct integrations with multiple popular nonprofit apps, including DonorSearch, QuickBooks, and MailChimp
|Starts at $125 per month
|Professional associations, nonprofits, gyms, HOAs, and other membership groups
|Available via email and chat
|Integrates with WordPress, Zoom, Zoho CRM, Slack, and other nonprofit management tools
|Starts at $29 per month for up to 500 members, with a 3% service fee for online transactions
|Organizations looking for complete association management
|Live chat is available for paid accounts and email billing support is available on weekdays
|Offers a WordPress plugin and single sign-on service to integrate an external site with your WildApricot site. Additional integrations via Make
|Multiple pricing tiers based on scale
|Trade associations, professional societies, and association management companies
|Documentation and training available online
|Partners with technology providers like Amazon Web Services, Cadmium, and Blue Sky eLearn
|Not available online
|Nonprofits and cultural organizations, including zoos, aquariums, and museums
|Email support and an online help center are available
|ClearViewCRM, Connect API, and Raiser’s Edge
|Not available online
|Raiser’s Edge NXT
|Organizations looking for robust association management software
|Online help center, case portal, and chat interface
|Integrations available via Blackbaud’s SKY API and Konektis
|Contact for a personalized quote
|Associations, chambers, nonprofits, and association management companies
|Support is available via an online help center, support community, and phone, email, and chat support
|Other Personify membership products, including Personify CommUnity and Conference App
|$4,500 per year
|Associations, nonprofits, schools, booster clubs, and more
|Online support center as well as email and phone options
|Free plan with a 4% platform fee and a 3% + $0.30 transaction fee. Paid plans start at $50 per month or $510 annually.
|Nonprofits, associations, chambers of commerce, and other membership organizations
|Support available via an online form
|QuickBooks, Xero, and Zoom. API access is also available.
|$2,500 per year
|Professional associations, nonprofits, and association management companies
|Available via phone or email
|Integrations available through the REST API
|Reach out for a personalized quote
|Nonprofits, clubs, associations, churches, professional organizations, and universities
|Help center and help forms available
|Partnership with TechSoup, integration with QuickBooks
|Springly offers a free plan or a free trial of their paid software. Paid solutions start at $45 per month for up to 250 contacts
|Commercial enterprises, nonprofits, universities, and associations
|Resource library and email connection options
|Integrations available via APIs
|Not available online
|Professional development organizations, brands, health and wellness organizations, and nonprofits
|Online support community and help center
|Google Analytics and ConvertKit. Other integrations available via Zapier
|Pricing starts at $33 per month, paid annually
Bloomerang’s membership tracking system is tailor-made to help small to mid-sized nonprofits connect with their constituents and easily manage memberships. With Bloomerang, you can track member and donor relationships using the same core system. This provides a detailed overview of all supporter relationships.
Bloomerang’s membership tracking tools offer the following features:
- Giving Summaries with Engagement Level and Generosity Score™. Identify your most engaged members and explore members’ giving capacities as donors.
- Email marketing. Create email segments and send scheduled messages. Record correspondences on members’ profiles.
- Online forms. Design an unlimited number of customizable forms to enable new members to sign up or renew their membership.
- Smart reporting. Run reports on just members, rather than your entire supporter base, to assess trends.
- Timeline highlights. View an engagement timeline with all member interactions, from emails they’ve opened to events they’ve attended.
- Custom fields. Use an unlimited number of custom fields to track membership data on your terms.
With Bloomerang, you can access a wide range of benefits. The system:
- Is easy to use, with a user-friendly interface and simple data filtering tools
- Has the features that matter most to nonprofit membership programs, without unneeded functionality that could clutter or weigh down your member-tracking processes
- Automates membership activities, taking stress and unnecessary tasks off your staff’s plate
- Is built into the Bloomerang CRM platform, providing one centralized hub for all supporter data
Bloomerang is built by nonprofit professionals, for nonprofit professionals. We understand the unique challenges and opportunities presented to nonprofit membership organizations and ensure that our platform offers the functionality you need to take advantage of every member interaction.
Bloomerang Standard starts at just $125 per month. For this monthly fee, your nonprofit can gain access to unlimited users, forms, and giving pages. Plus, you’ll get exclusive Bloomerang features, like donor engagement and generosity scoring.
The Bloomerang Payments processing fee is 2.2% + $0.30 for credit/debit card transactions, 2.2% + $0.49 for PayPal transactions, and 0.8% + $0.30 for ACH transactions. There is a 1% fundraising platform fee on all transactions processed through Bloomerang.
JoinIt’s membership management software is targeted toward professional associations, nonprofits, gyms, HOAs, and other membership groups. This platform offers organizations intuitive features such as:
- Robust analytics, enabling multi-criteria search and enhanced sorting
- Digital membership cards that members can store on their phones and scan at events for easy check-ins
- A membership CRM that offers custom fields, admin-only fields, and complimentary migration services
JoinIt is an effective solution for nonprofits that have outgrown spreadsheets and want an easier way to track member data and payment requests.
The Starter Package is $29 per month for up to 500 members, with a 3% service fee for online transactions.
WildApricot offers cloud-based association management software that works for associations, nonprofits, foundations, and clubs. Membership organizations turn to this platform for features like:
- A member database that makes managing member applications, renewals, and reporting a breeze
- A website builder you can use to create a membership website from scratch or add membership widgets to your existing website
- Simple payment processing that facilitates secure and easy payments, with Level 1 PCI DSS compliance
WildApricot’s platform is targeted toward organizations looking for complete association management. Nonprofits looking for just membership management might find the platform overly complex for their needs.
WildApricot offers multiple pricing tiers based on your organization’s scale. Visit their website for more information.
Fonteva is a membership management tool for Salesforce. This solution offers the following membership features:
- Embedded dashboards with actionable member insights
- Unified data analytics with real-time reports and customized KPIs
- Searchable member directories to facilitate networking
This platform works best for trade associations, professional societies, and association management companies, meaning it may not offer the unique features nonprofit membership organizations need to manage their constituencies.
Pricing is not available online; contact Fonteva for more information.
Doubleknot’s integrated software solutions are targeted toward nonprofits and cultural organizations, including zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, botanical gardens, and so on. Using Doubleknot, these organizations can:
- Increase donations through multichannel fundraising at admissions, outside museum exhibits, and by phone and email
- Boost membership renewals by spotlighting benefits, such as members-only savings and discounts
- Reward members with priority registration, members-only events, and free guest passes
If you run a nonprofit zoo, garden, aquarium, or museum, this type of platform can help manage member interactions to create a positive experience for all members and encourage new memberships.
Pricing is not available online; contact Doubleknot for more information.
Raiser’s Edge NXT
- Track multiple membership types and programs
- Send membership communications regarding members who have lapsed, upgraded or downgraded their membership, or are ready to renew
- Send specific mailings, such as membership cards and renewal notices
While Raiser’s Edge NXT does offer a wide range of features, many nonprofits find that the system offers more association management features than they need. This leads to questions on return on investment (ROI)—are you paying for a system that’s too large for your nonprofit’s more limited membership needs?
Reach out to Blackbaud for a personalized quote.
MemberClicks is a system built for associations, chambers, nonprofits, and association management companies. With this system, users can leverage features like:
- Customizable forms and templates with tailored questions to gather the information that’s most important to your nonprofit
- Email marketing, with scheduling tools, segmentation features, and automation capabilities
- Membership websites complete with member portals and event calendars
MemberClicks also offers a robust help center with training articles and videos to help guide your system set-up.
Pricing starts at $4,500 per year.
MemberPlanet provides membership management software for associations, nonprofits, schools, booster clubs, and more. This platform comes equipped with features such as:
- Fundraising solutions, including donation microsites and peer-to-peer fundraising capabilities
- A mobile app that offers payment processing, SMS messaging, and an activity feed for members
- Customizable member database that allows members to update their information any time they wish
MemberPlanet also offers an interactive directory members can use to message one another and search for other members.
MemberPlanet offers a free plan with a 4% platform fee and a 3% + $0.30 transaction fee. Paid plans start at $50 per month or $510 annually.
GlueUp is advertised as an “all-in-one engagement management CRM,” with solutions for nonprofits, associations, chambers of commerce, and other membership organizations. GlueUp offers a wide variety of tools, including:
- Digital member applications that make it easy for new members to get involved
- Automated renewals with email reminders and push notifications
- Community engagement features, including messaging tools that allow members to communicate one-on-one
Plus, you can use GlueUp to measure member engagement through event and email marketing insights to make data-driven strategy adjustments.
Pricing starts at $2,500 per year.
YourMembership is an “all-in-one AMS” with solutions for professional associations, nonprofits, and association management companies. With the help of this platform, your nonprofit can:
- Engage members with personalized messages and donation appeals
- Integrate your member portal with your website
- Manage volunteer communications as well as donor and member outreach
YourMembership’s tools prioritize community-building, whether through networking opportunities or a robust website with all need-to-know information.
Reach out to YourMembership to request a personalized quote.
Springly’s software is built for nonprofits, clubs, associations, churches, professional organizations, and universities. Using Springly, organizations can gain access to features like:
- Member profiles with comprehensive information, including membership level, past event attendance, and previous membership dues payments
- An online store where organizations can sell merchandise to foster an additional revenue stream
- Team collaboration solutions that allow you to delegate tasks to your nonprofit staff and work on campaigns simultaneously
Springly is best suited for small or mid-sized nonprofits looking for multifunctional nonprofit management software.
Springly offers a free plan or a free trial of their paid software. Paid solutions start at $45 per month for up to 250 contacts.
Hivebrite is a community management platform with solutions for a wide range of organizations, including commercial enterprises, nonprofits, universities, and associations. The Hivebrite platform offers features such as:
- Analytics to help track success across multiple areas, including email performance and member engagement
- Integrations with many CRMs, directories, and social media platforms
- Networking and interaction features, including robust member profiles, discussion forums, and direct messaging between members
Hivebrite helps empower your nonprofit’s chapters and groups to unite your community and help work toward your mission.
Pricing is not available online; contact Hivebrite for more information.
Mighty Networks offers software and support to build an online community outside of the noise and clutter of the internet’s predominant social media platforms. Professional development organizations, brands, health and wellness organizations, and nonprofits turn to this solution for features like:
- A welcome checklist that guides members through the process of getting started with your membership program
- Multiple options for building member plans, including the ability to charge one-time or subscription fees, offer free trials, sell digital downloads, and more
- Tools that initiate engagement between members, such as icebreaker suggestions, a feature that shows similarities between members, and one-on-one chat tools
Using Mighty Pro, you can create your own branded app to connect with members, grow your membership, and spread your mission.
Pricing starts at $33 per month, paid annually. Mighty Networks also offers a 14-day free trial.
How to choose the right membership software
With all of these options available, how can you choose the right tool for your nonprofit’s needs? Consider the following before choosing a membership management platform:
- Your budget. How much can you afford to spend on the platform? When assessing platform costs, factor migration fees and payment processing fees into your budget. If the platform is particularly complex, you may also need to hire a technology specialist to ensure a smooth transition.
- Your needs and goals. What do you want to get out of your membership platform? Do you need robust association-level management tools, or just a few additional membership features to manage your nonprofit’s program on top of your donor management activities? Consider the scope of your membership management needs before committing to a platform.
- Features. Evaluate the features of each platform, from its membership database and profiles to its reporting capabilities. Make sure the platform will fill a gap in your current tech strategy and make member management more convenient.
- User-friendliness. Is the platform easy to use? Will your staff members be able to get up and running in the new system quickly? Search for a tool with a user-friendly, intuitive interface that even tech novices can navigate easily.
- Available integrations. Does the system directly integrate with your other technology platforms, like your donor CRM, marketing platforms, and website CMS? Does the platform offer APIs or integrations through tools like Zapier? Integrations are essential for streamlined workflows and reducing data silos, so ensuring that your membership management platform can mesh seamlessly with your other tech tools is key.
- Support options. Does the software provider offer a range of support options, such as an online resource or help center as well as live chat, phone, and email options? Having a representative available to answer questions can create a smoother onboarding experience, letting you get your new platform running quickly.
- Data security and compliance. Does the membership solution have clear policies in place for maintaining data security and complying with privacy regulations? Keeping member data secure is critical for fostering trust with your audience. Check the product’s changelog to ensure that the tool is updated frequently with new features and security enhancements.
Request a demo from each of your top options and ask any questions you might have during the walkthrough. In addition, read reviews on websites like G2 and Capterra for a deeper understanding of real customers’ opinions of each platform.
Membership software is an effective tool for managing and growing your member community. Ultimately, you can use this solution to engage members on a deeper level and foster broader support for your nonprofit’s mission.
Looking for more resources to help manage your nonprofit’s constituent community? Start here:
- The Ultimate Donor Engagement Guide + Top Strategies. Donor engagement is crucial for boosting supporter retention. Use the tips in this guide to create a better supporter experience.
- How to Buy Fundraising Software That Lasts: Essential Guide. Alongside membership software, fundraising tools help your nonprofit stay organized and grow its reach. Explore top solutions here.
- 10 Ways to Find New Donors for Your Nonprofit Organization. Finding new donors (or members) can be daunting, but this guide will aid you by offering creative outreach ideas to attract new supporters.