What’s the best CRM system for membership organisations?

05 November 2018 by Charbel Abi-Maroun

According to the Digital Excellence Research Summary Report 2019 from industry thought leaders MemberWise, Dynamics 365 now has 23% of the Association Management Systems (AMS) sector, up from 15% in 2018, when it was already the market leader. But what are the key things to think about to decide the best CRM system for membership?


We specialise in Microsoft Dynamics 365 so clients tend to know that’s the platform they want to use by the time they contact us but we often get asked about the best CRM systems for membership when exhibiting or speaking at events. So, what’s the answer?

Well, there are a number of good membership CRM systems in the marketplace. When reviewing possible systems, we always recommend asking yourself:

Is it easy to use?
If your Membership CRM database is not easy to use, people simply won't use it, which will render it pointless and make it an expensive address book. Getting people to use it is much easier if it's accessible via another regularly used application such as Outlook.

Is it scalable?
You might only have a small membership or events team now but what if you grow? You should make sure the membership system will work equally as well with many people using it. You should make decisions based on your organisational aspirations and not on the limits imposed by your IT systems, e.g. to grow headcount or make parts of the membership CRM available to your members via the website.

Will it grow with the organisation?
A top Membership CRM system must have the functionality to meet your current needs, as well as future-proof your organisation as its needs change over the coming years. What if events take off and you need some event management software? Can your membership management software expand into that in a seamless way? Think big, start small and scale quickly.

Will it integrate with your other existing systems?
One of the main benefits of a good membership CRM system is that it connects and works with other systems such as finance, email, website etc. So it’s important to make sure the system you’re looking at fits in your existing business and equally any systems that may be due to be implemented in the future.

Does it work on mobile/tablet devices?
With more and more of us working remotely, a good CRM system for membership needs to be useable wherever your team is based and whatever device they’re using. The ability to work effectively using systems no matter where you are has become more and more important to recruiting and retaining staff.  

Is the organisational fit right?
It's not just about the membership system you choose, it's also about choosing the right membership system supplier. How well can you work with their people? Do they understand your needs and what you're trying to achieve? Do they understand your business properly?

In our opinion Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the best CRM platform for membership organisations but then we would say that wouldn’t we? However, it now has 23% of the membership market, up from 15% in 2017 when it was already the market leader, so we are confident we are right!

Want to know more about how we can make Microsoft Dynamics for Membership really work for you? Then please contact us at smartimpact