Necessity is making inventors of us all these days. At this point, the pandemic certainly isn’t over and won’t be for a while. However, as the year winds down and we reflect, it also feels like a good time to look ahead to a time when things might feel more normal at home and in the office.

What have we learned? What have we discovered that should be a more permanent part of the ways we work and collaborate?

At Cobalt, we’ve seen how our refined association management software solutions and sophisticated integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Power Platform have made it easier for our association clients to adapt in difficult situations this year. Read about what our team wants to carry forward on a permanent basis and let us give you a firsthand look at how we can help your team through a product showcase.

Investing in AMS Agility

With the swift disruption of normal plans and processes, every association quickly understood just how critical it was to adapt and make a different plan for pressing onward. There was a painful component of that realization for some organizations when their core technology made a change of plans more difficult or completely impossible.

Everything from designing and quickly deploying modules for COVID-specific updates and information on a website to revising the registration process for the annual conference to planning a virtual version of the annual conference was a real-time test of association management software and CRMs everywhere.

We all need to be prepared to react. Even though we knew this at Cobalt — even though we’ve spent years building robust AMS solutions that prioritize nimble integrations — it’s been amazing to see how critically important this has been this year for our clients.

One of our favorite 2020 success stories has been an association client who was able to use Power Automate to build a custom integration with their learning management system with no code — and no additional help from our team at Cobalt. Their members were able to register for a class and the association was able to make the connection with their LMS without having to make a customization request to the Cobalt team. Hear about more solutions like this in our recent webinar, Improving Efficiency by Bringing the Association Management Software (AMS) to Your Staff.

Morning Stand-Up Meetings

Were these already a part of your association staff’s work culture or have you been relying on ad hoc/weekly/monthly departmental meetings for collaboration? At Cobalt, we made the switch to a brief stand-up meeting each morning after we started working remotely and it has been a huge help.

In 15-20 minutes, each team (6-8 people)  has a chance to check in and ensure we’re on the same page with the day’s priorities and any updates to long-term goals and initiatives. It has also just been a great way to offset some of the isolation and unusual levels of disconnectedness that tends to creep in for a fully remote team.

Again, this is a place where you’ve probably seen your technology helping your team come together, stay focused, and have access to the data and information they need — or not. Stand-up meetings are a small adjustment that can have an enormous impact. We’ve been thinking and writing about other problem areas for associations recently. See if any of these solutions could help your team today.

Virtual Events

This has been a very interesting development for the association space in particular in 2020. The need to create a virtual conference offering this year has created an attractive, viable solution to something most organizations have historically struggled with: where do you host your annual conference?

Destination conferences in places like Hawaii are great — for those that can afford the time and expense to travel. An East Coast venue is tough for your West Coast constituents, reverse solutions have the reverse problem, and even a midwest location doesn’t work for many folks. A virtual offering lowers the barriers to entry for many members, especially now that technology, our collective experience, and your members’ expectations for the quality of virtual offerings have advanced.

Of course, virtual events were already in place for some organizations prior to the pandemic, but many of our clients see a long-term, ongoing value in offering virtual meetings and events in the future. Even if it means including a virtual component or option for significant meetings or conferences, you’ll have a better chance of boosting attendance, engagement, and the value of your association for your members. Your virtual expansion will only increase your association’s reach.

Stronger Member Collaboration

For Dynamics 365 users, we’ve seen some strong innovation around member collaboration using out-of-the-box Microsoft Teams functionality.

Cobalt has an entire suite of refined software modules built specifically for associations, but we have decades of expertise with Microsoft because everything we’ve built is made for integration with the Microsoft ecosystem. That means we’re able to help you see how to get more from the software you’ve already invested in, and Teams is a great example.

For example, you can use Teams or Power Automate and the SharePoint sites they automatically generate to help your committee members improve collaboration. SharePoint sites make it easy for those members to share files and documents, but there’s a lot more functionality you could be taking advantage of today. Watch our recent webinar or read more about what’s possible.

Let’s Talk about Your 2021 Priorities

We hope your team is finding new ways to work and collaborate that will be a more permanent part of your association’s culture. Our team at Cobalt would love to hear about the problems you’re facing and help you see how your association management software can do more to help where you need it.

If you’re shopping for a new AMS, take our buying guide with you today. It has all our best practices and advice for finding a vendor and solution you’ll love. Get in touch, and we’ll be glad to set up a product showcase for your team. In a showcase, you’ll learn how to:

  • improve efficiency and make your job easier by leveraging a modern AMS built on Dynamics 365
  • make your members’ experience better using our flexible member portal
  • gain easier access to data to make better decisions using robust reporting capabilities including Power BI

Connect with an AMS Expert

We understand associations and the needs you have throughout the process of researching, selecting, and implementing new membership management software. Wherever you are in your AMS search today, we can help you find clarity about your options and take the next steps with confidence.

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Get a Complete Copy of the 2024 AMS Buying Guide

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Association Management Software 2023 Buying Guide cover image. It includes a large version of Cobalt's logo, the AMS Buying Guide title, and photograph of Cobalt's Washington, D.C. lobby.