A Guide to Selecting Association Management Software

Association management software can make your life easier, provide value to your members, and save your organization time and money—whether you are a Property Manager or an administrator of a Residents Association (RA), Homeowners Association (HOA), or Community Association (CA). We want to help you identify your organization’s particular needs, choose the right software, and be prepared for the big rollout. Let’s begin!

In this guide we cover:

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This guide is for administrators of Managed Communities, Community Associations, Community Leagues, RAs, HOAs, Self-managed HOAs, and Property Managers. When talking about these types of associations, we get the same question: “What is the difference between these groups?” Thus we begin the guide by defining the terms.


Various Membership-Based Associations

  • Community Associations: non-profit volunteer organization sanctioned by a municipality and dependent upon voluntary membership and fundraising to operate

  • Residents Associations & Homeowners Associations: non-profit organization that manages assets owned by the association for the benefit of the owners/residents.

  • Property Managers: for-profit firm or individual hired to oversee and manage residential, commercial, and/or industrial real estate.

Whether you are a property manager, an HOA administrator, or hold a similar role in your association, you need efficient systems and processes to communicate to your members, collect fees, schedule events, and more. That is where this discussion turns to association management software.

What Association Management Software Can Do For You

As a community or homeowners association manager/administrator, you have to juggle the many tasks that come with events, managing members, and keeping up with payments. This can be a frustrating experience when working with software that doesn’t meet all of your needs.

Association and membership management software includes the suite of tools that allow you to manage your Homeowners Association or Residents Association. Software allows you to:

  • HOAs/RAs need: software that manages properties (property database) and members (user/member database). Memberships are tied to the property database.
  • CAs need: software that manages member (user/member database). Memberships are tied to the member database.

Important: Membership software that has only one main database to manage both properties and members is inadequate.

Most membership software solutions use one user database to manage properties and members. At annual billing season, however, these single database softwares are unable to properly invoice the properties for the memberships, addressed to the owners. Further issues arise when attempting to retain financial and historical data for properties, separate from any users that may be linked to the property. Ivrnet Central partnered with leading industry experts to determine the needs and the necessary functionality of HOA/RA membership management software in order to create the most effective and efficient software to meet the needs of HOA/RA organizations specifically and membership driven organizations in general.

What else do these groups need in association management software?

Communication:

  • Communicate with members
  • Allow members to opt-in to their channels of choice (email, phone, automated or voice recordings, sms text)
  • Manage a community website for your members

Collect Payments:

  • Take payments (PCI Compliant, secure online, over-the-phone, or in-person)
  • Merchant service provider options
  • Ability to take/set up recurring, PAD payments, payment schedules
  • Online store for retail items

Manage Events:

  • Scheduling and management of events, facilities, supplementary resources (e.g., chairs, projectors, etc.)
  • Manage programs
  • Online program registration
  • Tiered pricing for all resources (e.g., programs, facility rentals, memberships, etc.)
  • Online calendar of events

Administration:

  • Member/user management
  • Administrative roles and permissions management
  • Real-time online administrator and end user software
  • Demographic data collection

Financials:

  • Create financial reports
  • Invoice generating tools
  • AR Collections tools

Facilities & Maintenance:

  • Maintenance and incident management
  • Facility usage/traffic tracker

Scalability & Support:

  • Modular software, flexibility (both operationally and financially flexible) to meet organization needs and budget - scalable to large and small operations
  • 24/7 support, training, documentation
  • Software utilizing and operating on industry standard best practices
  • Software designed and sold by and for industry experts

checklist on clipboard cartoonChecklist: How to Assess Your Own Organization's Needs

As you evaluate software for your organization, keep these questions in mind to fully understand the needs of your operations.

  • What is the size of your organization?
  • What are your operations that need software support? What features do you need?
  • What are your current software pain points? Needs that are not being met?
  • What is your budget?
  • Can you choose the modules and features your organization need?
  • What is included in your monthly payment? (are there set up fees?)
  • What efficiencies will you gain?
  • How does the software improve customer/user experience?
  • Does the software help to streamline your administrative workload so that your resources are being used efficiently?
  • Does the software integrate and work with industry standard best practices?
  • Is the software designed for/by industry experts?
  • Can the software take payments online? Does the software record payments.
  • Does the software provide financial reports for invoices, outstanding, paid, etc.?
  • Do you require your own merchant account?

Things Many Associations Overlook

Customer experience: Will the software be easy to use and manage? What will the online experience be like for your members?

Security and compliance: Data security, privacy, and PCI compliance are important areas to consider when selecting a platform.

Availability, downtime: Is your cloud-based system reliable, dependable? Ivrnet Central has a 99.999% availability record. We are mission-critical for the delivery of services to governments in the case of a crisis. All of our systems have multiple redundancies. We even have triple backup for power supply. Ivrnet is the highest priority for power and telecommunications in the event of crisis or disaster.

Support and training: Does your training include 24/7 support, video training, knowledge base? What other training options do you foresee needing?

Set up and deployment: Consider the time and effort that goes into the setup and deployment of the software. What is the process like and what resources does your software team dedicate to your success?

Administrative resources and time: What kinds of resources are you dedicating to managing your association right now? What efficiencies might you gain by choosing a robust platform with features to help you save time and resources?

Accounting/financial considerations: Consider administrative resources and time spent on the financial/accounting/bookkeeping side of things. Does your platform or software provide accurate and useful financial information and reporting? Does the software provide efficiencies for your accounting and bookkeeping processes, helping to reduce administrative resources dedicated to financial reconciliation and accounting/bookkeeping efforts?

Communication options: Does the platform give you robust text messaging capabilities, member opt-ins, automated call/email/fax/text, and more? Does your organization need to send out routine or emergency messages? Can you notify members of outstanding invoices and allow them to pay automatically over the phone or web? You can do all of this with Ivrnet Central.

Processes and best practices (does the software integrate and work with industry best practices): Is your platform and the team behind the platform familiar with your particular challenges? Do they understand and solve for database management best practices for associations and membership-based organizations?

Software designed and sold by/to industry experts: We designed our software to solve peculiar problems for RAs/HOAs, Property Managers, Community Associations, and others like you who couldn’t find software that fit their needs. Ivrnet maintains a team of industry experts who have been in your shoes and are working with clients in the association industry on a daily basis. 


Security Components to Consider for Association Management Software

Your website, database, online payments, and communications systems must be secure. Consider these security components when evaluating association management software:

  • PCI DSS level 2 compliance
  • Anti-Spam regulations (CASL in Canada; CAN-SPAM in USA)
  • Member data privacy and security
  • Backup power supply for data centers

One of the greatest risks to your organization is the security of your transactions and members’ personal information. We have you covered with Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance, Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, Privacy of Information and secure (in Canada) data storage. We maintain commitments to governments and large corporations, and operate under the strictest security and compliance protocols. You have peace of mind knowing we are accountable to the highest standards.

Ivrnet has a 99.999% availability record. We are mission-critical for the delivery of services to governments in the case of a crisis. All of our systems have multiple redundancies. We even have triple backup for power supply. Ivrnet is the highest priority for power and telecommunications in the event of crisis or disaster.

Read our Guide:
OVER THE PHONE CREDIT CARD FRAUD: A PCI COMPLIANCE GUIDE FOR BUSINESS & GOVERNMENT

Rolling Out a New Software: What's Involved?

Be prepared! When the time comes to engage association management software, you can be ready for each step of the process. While every rollout is different, here’s what you can expect:

Internal Preparation:

  • Assess your needs
  • Research software
  • Prioritize your needs
  • Evaluate your budget
  • Determine deadlines/timeline

Engaging Software Options:

  • Request software demonstrations
  • Conduct thorough evaluation of operational workflows

Contract Negotiation:

  • Evaluate costs (hidden costs, development costs, setup costs, training fees)
  • Adequate training schedule
  • Support and ongoing support evaluation

Software Installation:

  • Scoping out needs
  • Development for custom requests, integration with third-party services, importing data, etc.
  • Merchant services applications
  • Quality testing
  • Documentation/notification to customer
  • Implementation
  • Resolution
  • Training
  • Hand off to customer care/support
  • Communication to end users of new software implementation

Conclusion:

Whether you are an administrator of an RA/HOA or Community Association, or a Property Manager, association management software can make your life easier, provide value to your members, and save your organization time and money. Once you assess your organization’s needs and consider the most important components of your platform, you can make an informed decision regarding which software is right for you.

Watch the video below to learn more about Ivrnet Central and what it can do for your association.