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  • Rizwan Khan

Tips for Associations & Nonprofits to Build a Digital Ecosystem that Add Value to its Members

Overtime associations have become better at handling customers by enhancing customer support systems. And yet, the challenge lies in managing an association’s member base.


In today’s ever-evolving arena, meeting and exceeding members' expectations is becoming harder. But since associations must make it happen, they may resort to traditional Association Management Software (AMS).


To be successful, associations must perform ten or more of the services listed below. Providing these services optimally requires a mesh of technologies integrated seamlessly.


The question is, is AMS adequate for optimal productivity? Not really.


AMS often encourages data silos and remote data repositories, which is why team members rely on other software to interact better. It would be best if the association had a fool-proof integration mechanism that integrates all the tools to work effortlessly and creates a centralized database. A one-size-fits-all solution like AMS can lead the organization to stray. So, a digital ecosystem is a way to move forward. Technology gurus call it digital transformation, too.


When the day-to-day operational tools connect, they form a digital ecosystem. Not only does it maximize functionality, but it adds value to:

  • Process

  • Workflow management

  • Members

  • Sponsors

In the post-pandemic era, having a digital ecosystem has become necessary for most organizations because the pandemic has changed how people work, live, and consume information. Having a website and app does not mean an association is digital. Associations, like other organizations, need to define their business strategies that are inclusive of the reality of the digital impact in their industry. They need to map their association’s business strategy to a digital strategy, not the other way around.


Apparent reasons for choosing a digital ecosystem include the following:

  • Flexibility

  • Cloud-based platforms

  • Supportive features for growth and innovation

  • Synchronized data through integrations

  • Less likelihood of data silos

Given the popularity, an association may assume the task of implementing a digital ecosystem internally, but it is not a one-day task. Instead, it is an ongoing process evolving with the association’s changing needs. The best practice is to build and grow a customized digital ecosystem according to the association’s current demands. However, it should be flexible enough to adapt to future needs.


As a seasoned CTO, I have assisted dozens of organizations in their digital transformation journey, including The Radiological Society of North America and the American Medical Association. For more information and guidance, you can find me at rizwan.khan@mac.com.



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