In our "Best-In-Class" blog series we discuss an Association Management System feature that is. . . well. . . the best in their class of features that AMSs provide (in The AMS Guy’s opinion, of course!) We will showcase a different feature that stands above the rest in each post and give a synopsis of why. Our Best in Class feature this month is Component Management.
Chapters, Units, Sections, Affiliates, Troops. . . regardless of what you call them, many associations are comprised of more local components that drive their missions in the community. These components rely on the association and the central office to help structure them organizationally, programmatically, and technologically. AMS's can play a huge role in successfully managing components because through their technology, associations are able to fulfill the programmatic and organizational needs of the components and put them in a position to be successful. This is what makes Component Management a Best in Class feature.
The "Components" of Component Management
Before we get into how component management helps organizations with components, let's first talk about some of the elements that your Component Management System (CMS) should contain.
Simply having a system that lists individuals under their respective 'component' is not enough to be considered a Component Management System.
First, your system should provide some management capabilities to the component leaders. The individuals that have assumed the responsibility of managing the component need to be able to access the tools that your system provides to do so. These leaders need to be able to access the necessary data on their constituents that the system contains. A system that can provide the leadership with real-time data on demand is ideal (imagine 100 chapters asking the HQ staff for data that will be outdated by the time the staff can fulfill those requests.) There are plenty of other tertiary functions that your CMS can provide (component webpage, profile management, register constituents for events, pay constituent invoices, etc.) but for the sake of length, we will stop here. We've listed the important ones. Now let's get into how component management helps organizations with components.
Having one system that manages all of your components' data, as well as the association's, eliminates potential silos within your data. It empowers each component to be able to track its progress individually. It empowers the central office to be able to track the association's progress and see how each component is contributing to overall mission success. It also makes for cleaner and better-managed data. Since your members will have one place to manage their data, when they update their email, for example, both the association and the affiliated components will receive the update.
Imagine that you are initiating a new program for your chapters and you want to do some training with the chapter leadership on how to implement the program, but your chapters collectively use 7 different systems to manage their operations. How would you prepare for all of those systems? Having one system that all components utilize makes it simpler to standardize the operations that are being distributed by the association. Your process remains simple and training becomes easier to develop because you only have to account for one system (not 7!). You can build best practices to implement across components and better respond to issues/inquiries. This makes it more realistic for associations to develop new programming, disseminate it to the components to implement, and track progress.