Review of Membership Site Software
I’ve recently been working with a non-profit to upgrade their membership site. They have an active online community of over 5,000 members and have been with YourMembership.com for about eight years. When they initially joined YourMembership it was cutting edge and dramatically enhanced their ability to serve their members. But over the past four years, that service has fallen increasingly behind the state-of-the-art, and my client has finally decided, enough is enough.
The client needs:
- individual member profiles (ideally with the ability to connect with one another)
- ability to process recurring membership dues
- events management
- a weekly and monthly newsletter — could just integrate with MailChimp or the like. If we integrate with a third-party provider, it’d be great to automatically keep the contacts synced.
- blog — with all the standard blog features
- nice looking, responsively coded themes — although, we’re happy to customize that ourselves, if the option is available
- classifieds — for job postings, shared housing and other opportunities.
- a store
- easy image management — this one is a killer. They’d like something akin to WordPress’s outstanding image management system.
- easy basic admin features, like password recovery, etc.
Wish list / not totally necessary:
- user forums — places for a subset of the membership to have private conversations and post documents
- live chat feature between members
- video conference feature — or ability to integrate Google chats or the like.
- ability to add photo slideshows
- Facebook account integration
Company’s we’re looking at:
In no particular order. I’ll post updates as we gather info.
Our top choices right now:
Update: we’ve decided to go with NationBuilder.com. They have had outstanding customer service and their software is very easy to use and flexible. We are currently in the process of building our site with them. Because we require a lot of forms on our site, we are integrating with 123 Contact Form.
One drawback that we’ve discovered is that NationBuilder can’t process memberships on an annual basis, only on a monthly basis. So we are switching around our enrollment process to reflect that.
The basic NationBuilder templates are quite nice, but we are also planning to hire a designer to really make the site look professional.
- Cost: the pricing estimator said $500/month, about $8000 for the first year (including a one-time set-up fee of $2495). This would still be cheaper than YourMembership.com by a few hundred dollars.
Companies we have ruled out:
InfusionSoft is technically a CRM, you can create a membership site with it by using a tool like http://imember360.com/ to link it to your WordPress membership site. Or by using their CustomerHub.com site builder (which I am not a fan of).
- Cost: $300/ month just for InfusionSoft
- Check out their templates here: http://www.brilliantdirectories.com/online-directory-template-membership-website-designs/directory-website-php-administration
- Cost: Elite level is $147/month: http://www.brilliantdirectories.com/online-directory-pricing
- We tried to contact them for a phone call, but no one responded to us.
This one is out: essentially, they don’t offer the services that we need.
- Not actually a membership site. They offer a platform if you have lots of partners (i.e., if our company is linked to a lot of other companies, for example, and we all need to update a shared Career Center).
This one is out because of cost and lack of features we need.
- Cost: wildly out of our price range. A one-time set-up fee of $5000 (which is okay), but for just 1,000 “active” members (anyone who signs in, is signed up to a discussion board) per month, it would be $1,450/month.
- No classifieds (could use the blogging function for this, but it’s not ideal).
- But they did have good customer service (which you’d expect for that price tag)
They’re out because it’s already been too difficult to get a hold of them. It was touch and go if they’d have the features we need anyhow.
- couldn’t get a sales call
- not the most professional or helpful emails
Membee.com/features.aspx -probably too clunky.
These people seem to specialize in making and maintaining WordPress membership sites. Looks like they do good work.
Seems to have all the basic features. And this also seems to be a tool to integrate into pre-built websites – like WordPress.
Here’s another helpful review post: http://granitehorizon.com/blog/2012/01/Membership-Management-Software-Comparison