Managing the members of your club can get tiresome, especially if you have a lot of members. Member management shouldn’t be neglected, though. So what do you do?
You could push on through, grumbling about all the time it takes you. Or, you can find a better solution—membership management software.
There are major benefits to using this type of software, but what if you find one that’s free?
Before you think it’s a dream come true, there are some things to consider. Here are 10 hidden risks you should know about when considering free membership management software.
1. Lack of Security
When someone joins your club, they’re trusting that you’ll keep their information safe. This information includes sensitive things like names, addresses, and phone numbers.
While free software may sound appealing, there’s likely a reason it’s free. One of the main features it may be missing is security.
Never trust your members’ information to a software program you aren’t completely sure is secure. While it may not be free, heightened security measures are always worth the funds you put into them.
2. Member Number Limits
How many members does your club have? 50? 100?
What if your software puts a limit on that? Once you’ve hit the limit designated by your management software, you can’t add any more club members.
That means your business growth will be stinted. Or you resort to non-secure ways to store information. Neither option is good.
You may run into limits with a paying software, but those limits are likely to be much higher. This means you won’t be capped when it comes to business growth.
3. Poor Design
If a piece of software is offered for free, there’s a chance that it hasn’t been designed well. This could make things go slower than they were going without the software.
When you pay for software, it gives you the sense that someone has really taken the time to make sure it’s good. You know the creators are invested because they want you to be.
Always check out the usability of a software program before launching it on your company. The time you save by having an easy-to-use program is worth putting some money into.
4. No Support
Software usually has some issues from time to time. That’s just the way technology works. What would you do if you ran into a software problem and had no one to turn to?
Free software may not offer any support to its users. This leaves you in a major lurch if something goes wrong.
What if all your members suddenly disappear? Or if people are being charged more than they should be?
Clearly, there would be a problem. But without support, you’d have a really hard time fixing that problem.
High-quality software providers will always offer support.
5. No Document Storage
You likely have some documents you’ve used to create new memberships. You need to secure these in a central, easy to access (for you, not for hackers) location.
Free membership management software may not provide document storage. This leaves you trying to figure out a way to keep track of all that information.
The better option is choosing a software program that includes that type of storage. That way, you have all your member-related information in one place.
6. No updates
While software updates may seem annoying when they pop up on your company computer, they’re there for a reason. They happen because technology changes.
Updates provide you with the best in security, functionality, and features. You won’t necessarily have this benefit if you use free software.
This is because the developer may not be interested anymore. If the software is free and the dev team is getting nothing out of it, what’s to stop them from going elsewhere?
When you pay for software, you’re much more likely to get periodic updates that are helpful and important.
7. No Cloud Access
Speaking of technology changing, what if your member management software doesn’t offer cloud connectivity? At the very least, it should be compatible or have for sure future plans to be cloud compatible.
Free software may not offer this solution. Cloud storage offers perks like being able to access information from anywhere you have the internet. If that’s something you’d like to have, you may not want to go with a free program.
If cloud connectivity is offered by the free program, it’s likely limited.
8. Constant Advertising
Ads plague just about everything we do with technology unless you’re willing to pay to have them removed. Sometimes that payment is worth it though.
No software creation is free, so the developers will likely try to make some money somehow. That means you run the risk of being bombarded by ads all the time.
Nobody wants that when they’re simply trying to run their club. Skip the ads and go with a paid software program instead.
9. No Website Hosting
Your management software should include a club website. You aren’t likely to get that perk if you’re using free software.
This means you’ll have to find a separate site or software to help you set up and run your site. That’s time you could be spending elsewhere, so you’ll have to decide if that’s worth saving your business a few pounds.
10. No Club Kit Options
Do you want to provide your club members with a kit? Whether that includes a baseball cap, a jumper, or something else, your members will likely love that perk.
You may not be able to do this with a free management software program, though. Free programs are usually very basic. If you want the features that really make your members happy, it’s worth it to skip the free stuff.
Stay Away from Free Membership Management Software
Free membership management software may sound like the perfect solution for your club. We’re here to tell you that it’s not.
Free software carries potential dangers as well as fewer perks. So if you’re looking to really take care of your club members and your business, paying for software is your best option.
We offer software that will meet all of your needs and more. Want to try it out? Sign up for a free trial today!