Comparison of Low Cost Membership Management Software


Sumac offers a simple and affordable solution for membership management with lots of great bonuses, including: built-in email marketing, payment processing, event management, custom reports, and website integration. The price is just $85 per month with no set-up fee for up to 2,500 contacts (members and non-members). Sumac can be cloud-based or a desktop application depending on your needs. Some of the membership tools you’re going to love:

  • Track membership status with ease, including renewals, lapsed memberships and potential upgrades

  • Produce customized renewal invoices, reminders, membership packages and membership cards

  • Allow for automatic renewals on your website

  • Create comprehensive membership directories for distribution electronically or in print

  • Set up membership reports to be automatically delivered to your inbox each week

How Does Sumac Compare to Other Options?

Idealware recently conducted a review called “A Few Good Association Management Systems.” Here is what they found:

Options for Small Organizations

MemberClicks (

MemberClicks offers a hosted solution focused on managing a membership community online. Community features include a contact center for members, rosters, discussions, job board, event calendar and more. MemberClicks also offers a flexible form-building tool that lets associations develop custom signup forms for events, donations, membership dues and more. Basic event management is available, but not suitable for more-complex conference scenarios. MemberClicks offers only basic constituent management and segmentation, and no association-specific financial management features. Pricing starts at $115 per month plus an $895 setup fee for up to 300 members and 900 non-member contacts. (

This hosted service offers a wide range of basic association management features. Focused on member social networking and community management, it includes several tools for Web content management, blogs, community calendars, group and chapter administration, and more. Weaknesses include less-robust event-management functionality and limited subscription features. Pricing is straightforward, at $1,495 for setup and $5,995 annual license fee for unlimited members, multiple users and all functionality.

Tendenci (

Tendenci focuses on online transactions with members, such as signups, registrations, dues and member rosters, but offers less-robust support for building a member community. It has a wide variety of features, including Web content management, jobs board, press release management, photo albums, online discussion rooms, built-in RSS feeds, a continuing education module and more, but many of these features are not deep in functionality. It may not be particularly well-equipped for more complex conference management, while membership functionality offers only basic support for different membership types (such as individual and corporate). Pricing starts at $2,000 setup for Web template ($3,000 to use your own) plus $195 per month for up to 500 members, $295 per month for 1,000 members, or $395 for 2,500 members, with options to expand up from these levels.

Wild Apricot (

Wild Apricot is a compelling, intuitive system focused on membership, events and site-management functionality for smaller membership-based organizations. The core of the system is aimed at controlling Web pages and quickly integrating membership and event-signup forms. The platform is highly specialized in some areas, and very basic in others. Wild Apricot offers a bare-bones, ad-supported free version providing Web and membership integration for up to 50 members, and then monthly fees scaling up from there beginning at $25 a month up to $200 a month for a maximum of 15,000 member records.

123Signup (

This lightweight, hosted AMS offers strong event- and conference-management functionality, with workshop/track management, session capacity setting, multiple event pricing, custom fields, attendee questionnaires, automatic event calendars and more. Membership management functionality supports organizational members with “flow-down” control, which allows member benefits to select individuals within the organization. One of the more affordable systems, pricing is determined by the number of members, and starts at $50 per month for up to 100 members and an additional 500 non-member contacts, plus transaction fees per event registration.

Small organizations could also consider StarChapter, Osprey by Active Computer, IMPack by ISSI, or Timberlake’s Go! or Pro! solutions.

Options for Mid-Sized Associations

i4a AMS (

This system offers strong features for a good price, including website content management, an online form builder, conference management, accounts receivable and batch processing, and a query-building tool for filtering and segmenting constituent information. Strong chapter management functionality allows chapter officials to access and manage their own data. Pricing includes a $1,500 startup fee plus $99 per administrator per month. More advanced pricing options include additional features, such as an online store, survey builder, discussion forums and more.

JL Systems’ NOAH (

JL Systems provides a large and refined set of features particularly strong in back-end membership relationship management and website integration. With the launch of NOAH in January 2008, the vendor shifted its focus from an installed version to a hosted service with all the same features. The system offers granular control over member groups, including the ability to let each group manage its own pages online. NOAH starts at $99 per month per user, with a minimum of five users, plus hosting at $50 per month per 1,000 contact records, with a total minimum cost of $200 per month.

Avectra’s netFORUM Team and Pro (

Avectra has long offered an enterprise-level solution, and has more recently focused on hosted products. netFORUM Team and Pro are stripped-down versions of the company’s other offerings, but still packed with features and frequently updated with new functionality. Both Team and Pro offer some website integration, recently improved to allow for custom page creation, but the focus is more on back-end member relationship management. With no customization and limited configuration options, be sure this works well for your needs out of the box. Avectra license costs depend on the product chosen and user roles, and range from $125 to $175 per user per month.

More Customizable Solutions

Affiniscape (

Affiniscape offers a focused back-end association management solution called Members360, which is hosted and custom-implemented by Affiniscape consultants to align with client requirements. This model makes pricing variable based on individual organization needs. Expect a minimum of $9,500 per year plus $7,000 for consulting, with costs rising for advanced needs.

Euclid Technology’s ClearVantage (

The ClearVantage approach is more of a custom engagement. The system has strong member relationship management functionality, including support for project and association process management. As an example, its exhibit hall support includes floor plan design tools helpful for larger conference engagements. Custom pricing depends on the features and services required, but expect costs in the same range as the other solution in this class or higher.

Higher-End Solutions

These solutions target larger professional or trade associations who have the technical staff in place to adopt and sustain enterprise software. They offer complex association features, customized toolsets and stronger vendor support partnerships. Pricing for the software alone ranges from $15,000 to more than $100,000 in annual costs, and implementation generally ranges from $30,000 up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Example solutions in this space include Computility, gomembers, iMIS, Association Server, TCS Software Prevail, Aptify and Personify/TIMSS. Designed as comprehensive association management systems for big organizations, these systems require internal training and support, and can therefore be unwieldy for organizations lacking strong departmental resources. Vendors provide custom pricing and implementation services depending on specific service and feature requirements.


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