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 Member Type Access/Restrictions.
It is a classic and timeless benefit in the Association world -
"As a member, I get access to something that non-members cannot."
And it is important for our technology to continue to uphold this jewel in our industry. But as association continue to specialize their membership offerings, the "line of demarcation" can't simply be member vs. non-member anymore. Associations are now creating various membership levels and tiers, each equipped with its own set of benefits that must be upheld. Our technology must meet the needs of this further segmentation within the membership ranks. AMSs that provide a deeper level of access control based on member type aid in the management and delivery of these benefits and provide a Best-In-Class feature to its clients.
Let's first talk about some ways that many systems provide access/restrictions by member type.
The classic example is within the events module. Associations are allowed to create registration types based on member types and restrict access only to individuals that meet the member criteria. They can then set the price(s) that they want for the registration type. Many online stores also allow clients to create "special membership pricing" not only based on being an active member, but based on member type as well.
Now let's discuss how AMSs can "up their game" and go deeper with their access/restrictions capabilities.
Perhaps the most powerful place that an AMS can aid an organization with enhanced level of access/restrictions based on member type is with content management. Rather it has a built-in content management system or integrations with an outside CMS, an AMS that allows associations to restrict access to webpages, links, downloads, etc. based on member types is on the next level! So much of an association's benefits are delivered through it's CMS.
In addition to the CMS, the Member Portal is another important place where many benefits are delivered, so being able to specialize the content delivered in this area based on member type is also important to upholding the slate of benefits created for each member. Having the ability to control the content placed in the CMS and Member Portal also lets associations cater the message and experience to each segment of their membership.
Lastly, another "next level" area to consider member type access/restrictions is with APIs/Integration. This area may be more about mindset than anything else. When an AMS vendor adopts the philosophy behind member type access/restrictions, it seeks partners that can provide that functionality as an extension of what it provides (see outside CMS above.) A great example of this is an integration with a Learning Management System that let's associations restrict access to courses based on member type. The vendor also preps its API to provide the appropriate membership data to allow the other software to provide these access restrictions.