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Membership & fundraising software buyers guide

For mountain bike clubs, bike parks and associations

Trying to choose which software is right for your organisation can be difficult.

This guide is made to help you (the buyer) through the process of choosing software to help manage your members and fund raise.
If you are looking for digital membership card software or membership software programs then this guide is for you.

confused-buyer

What is membership software?

Membership software for mountain bike organisations is a tool designed to simplify the management of membership programs. It helps clubs, parks, and associations automate many of the administrative tasks associated with membership management.
These tasks include membership sign-up and renewal, member communication and engagement, tracking of membership types and benefits, and reporting and analysis. By using membership software, mountain bike organisations can save time, reduce administrative burdens, and provide better service to their members.

Buyers Guide

If you're in the market for membership management software, this buyer's guide will help you make an informed decision.
This guide is targeted at mountain bike organisations which have some specific needs as opposed to a general guide for all organisations.

Step 1 - Determine your requirements

Before you start looking for membership management software, it's essential to identify your organisation's requirements/needs.

  • Why are you looking for membership software, what problems are you trying to solve?
  • Try to identify those problems or areas/ processes that need streamlining / automating.

By understanding your requirements, you can narrow down your options and find software that meets your specific needs.
Look at your requirements and see which features fulfil these.

You can categorise these features into two lists.

Essential features

  • What features and functionalities are essential to your membership program?
  • The software you choose should have essential features such as member profiles, automated membership renewals and reminders, payment processing, communication tools, and reporting capabilities.
  • Use your requirements generated above to create a list of these essential features.

Nice to have features

  • These features are not essential but would be nice to have and can be the differentiator between two similar products.

Here is a list of some possible features to get you started

Member acquisition and engagement

  • A modern and simple registration and payment process for the members
  • A good experience on a mobile device, as 90-95% of users will be on mobile device
  • Digital membership card
  • Family and group memberships
  • Digital waivers and liability management
  • Increase member engagement and sense of community
  • Parner with local businesses and sponsors to offer member deals
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities
  • Event registration
  • Newsfeed
  • Push notifications / alerts to users
  • Integrates with Trailforks
  • Offline accessible
  • Deals for members
  • Ability for members to maintain their own data and minimise admin time on this

Revenue and member retention

  • Needs to accept donations at the time of membership
  • Needs to accept ad-hoc donations
  • Recurring / auto renewing memberships
  • Recurring / auto renewing donations
  • Automated renewal reminders

Admin

  • Must be user friendly for the admins
  • Workflow automation of common administration tasks
  • Accounting integration
  • Dashboards and reporting
  • Does the vendor understand your sector e.g. mountain bike based organisations
  • Integration with your email campaign software e.g. mailchimp
  • Flexible configuration to adjust to your organisation’s needs and branding
  • Trail management
  • Event management

Step 2 - Low budget vs cloud based vs custom

First you need to look at the high level options.

Option 1 - Low Budget $

low budget option

Who for:
This can be viable if you have a small organisation ( less than 100 members) and a lot of volunteer time.

Membership purchase:
Use an online store such as shopify or one that comes with your website like Squarespace or WIX.

Member management:
Google sheets or Microsoft excel.

Fundraising:
Donations via Trailforks or a fundraising website such as Givealittle.

Pros

  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Large amount of volunteer time required for admin
  • Limited capabilities
  • Reduced member numbers
  • Reduced revenue
  • Does not scale as members increase

Option 2 - Custom $$$$

custom option

Approaching a software development company to develop a custom solution for your organisation. This can range from a completely bespoke platform built from the ground up to the developer incorporating an existing open source software into the platform such as a free open source CRM such as Civicrm.

Who for:
We only recommended this for larger organisations due to the cost and management of the development company.

Pros

  • Extremely customisable to your exact needs
  • Possibility to get a mobile app
  • Branded to your organisation

Cons

  • Extremely high initial cost
  • Very high ongoing costs. Ongoing costs are often underestimated as there are always changes required and security patches needed. Development can be very expensive
  • Need to maintain a good relationship with the developer as you are locked in to the relationship
  • May contain bugs and need thorough testing

Option 3 - Proprietary or off the shelf software $$

off the shelf option

This is the most common option and the option we will cover with this guide. There are hundreds of membership management applications available but most are not suited to mountain bike organisations and are either targeted at other markets or so generalised that you will be paying for features that you don’t need. These are available as Software As A Service (SaaS) and usually charge a monthly or transactional fee.

These typically fall into two categories, membership management software and CRM’s

Who for:
All organisations.

Membership management software

  • This is what we will be focusing on in the next steps below.
  • Membership management software is a tool designed to help organisations manage their membership database and related activities. It allows clubs to efficiently manage their members, handle membership renewals and payments, and communicate with members.

CRM’s - Customer relationship management software

  • These are typically larger platforms with a variety of features around managing customers.
  • They are typically designed for either commercial businesses or large nonprofits. For nonprofits these focus more on fundraising than membership.
  • CRMs can have many features you may not require while not providing any benefits to your members.
  • CRMs can be used in conjunction with membership management software, although it requires integration between the two platforms.
  • Better suited to managing larger individual donors than many memberships.

Pros

  • Most likely reliable as being used by other organisations.
  • Much more affordable than a custom solution.
  • Less admin than a low budget solution.

Cons

  • Can sometimes be a bit more costly for smaller organisations due to the fixed pricing.
  • May end up paying for features you don’t need.

Step 3 - Choosing your software

Considerations

Consider User-Friendliness:
The software you choose should be easy to use, even for non-technical users. A complicated system will frustrate your team and waste valuable time. Look for software with a simple user interface and intuitive navigation. The software should also be easy to set up and require minimal training with online help and support available.

Consider Cost:
Membership management software comes with varying pricing models, including monthly or annual subscriptions, and one-time purchases. Some software providers may also charge additional fees for premium features or support. Consider your budget and evaluate the software's pricing against the features and functionalities it offers. Transaction fees and fees for additional functionality are often hidden so look at the fine print and check what the “payment gateway” fees are listed as. These should be no higher than Stripe fees in your country. Stripe also offers a lower discounted rate for nonprofits.
A transactional pricing model means the providers goals are aligned with your organisations and they are incentivised to increase your member numbers and revenue.

Read user reviews and get recommendations:
Before making a final decision, read reviews from other organisations that have used the software. Reviews can give you insights into the software's strengths and weaknesses and how it performs in real-life situations. You can also ask for recommendations from other organisations that have similar membership programs to yours. Capterra is a reliable source of reviews.

Consider scalability:
Choose software that can grow with your organisation. Look for software solutions that can accommodate an increasing number of members and provide the flexibility to add new features and functionality. Look at how the cost would scale with this.

Check customer support:
Look for a provider that offers responsive and helpful customer support. Consider whether they offer phone or email support, whether they have a knowledge base or community forum, and whether they provide training or onboarding support. Read user reviews to see how others found the support.

What if we require extra features in the future:
Typically, membership management software does not offer custom development and will only add new functionalities if there is a high demand from multiple organisations. Therefore, it is crucial to select a product that caters to your specific niche area. Doing so increases the likelihood of getting the desired functionality developed for your needs.

Create a shortlist

Compile a list of potential software options. Narrow down your choices to a shortlist of likely products. You can discover suitable products through word-of-mouth, search engines, or review sites such as Capterra. Check with other mountain bike organisations to see what they are using. Review any case studies of organisations similar to yours.

Next, evaluate your requirements against the features offered by each product on your list, including the essential and desirable features you identified in the first step. If you have any uncertainties about a particular feature, you can contact the sales team to get more details. Lastly, consider the factors mentioned above when selecting the final product.

Hivepass vs Competitors

Hivepass vs TidyHQ vs Wild Apricot vs Club Express

Hivepass TidyHQ Wild Apricot Club Express
Cloud based member database
Automated email reminders
Member mobile app
Digital membership card
Offline capable
Group & family memberships
No fee on donations
Push notifications
Partner deals for members in mobile app
In app chat support for admins
Event registration and management Q4 2024
Website generation Coming 2025 Extra $400
Short term passes that can be purchased in advance
QR codes that guide the user direct to your organisation via the app store
Digital waivers to mitigate liability risks
Trail management
Integrated with Trailforks
Made by mountain bikers for mountain bike organisations
Pricing Hivepass TidyHQ Wild Apricot Club Express
100 members $250 $718 $576 $756
300 members $490 $858 $1,320 $2052
1000 members $1,330 $1,348 $3,000 $5,400
5000 members $3,330 $4,148 $4,200 $14,400
Setup fee $0 $0 $0 $150
Fees to unlock features No No No Yes
Transaction % fees on top of payment gateway fees No Yes
1% + $0.20
Yes No

Competitor Pricing Comparison

hivepass vs competitors chart