Chamber Management Software: 7 Great Tools for 2019
January 4th, 2019
Chamber management software is one of the most niche solutions on the web. But you’re here, and you’re reading this, so it’s probably up your alley. Stick with our words of wisdom when it comes to selecting the right tool for your chamber management needs, and you’ll walk away more informed than when you started reading.
Event Management Software, Membership Management Software, and even just plain old CRMs are all orbiting different niche industries trying to be as general as possible to make everyone happy. That’s all fine and dandy, but as pain points become more and more of a talking point, it comes down to these tools to either provide a solution, or a work around, most of white vie for the latter.
What makes Chamber Management Software Different?
Chambers and Associations are more inter-personal than a regular event-attendee or business-customer relationship. Chambers are community and industry focused societies that are there for each other, and the only true way to make a Chamber stand out in their regional markets is the amount of trust they can express to their new members.
Here’s the 8 greatest Chamber Management Software solutions we could find for your window-shopping pleasure.
At EventBank we’ve been narrowing our aim year over year with the EventBank Chamber and Association management solution. Originally an event management and marketing tool, EventBank collected all the main-stay tools are marketing and events team needs to run an event and manage attendees. That means we built up our own ecosystem of CRM, Email Marketing, Website Creation, Ticketing, and much more. Through market-after-market of success, we soon found ourselves with our first real challenge, a Chamber of Commerce looking to become a customer. Of course the platform was ready for events, but what about relationship-based memberships?
We had two choices, either turn them away and move on, or evolve and meet the needs of this growing demand, becoming a true chamber management software solution. Of course we would choose that latter. With a few updates here and there, the EB platform was ready to go, and soon we were able to start serving chambers. But what were the big changes we made? Was it the UX? No, UX can be updated for any use case. Was it the speed of the platform? Could be, but that benefits our events customers too.
No, it was the relationship-based contact management system. Chambers require trust to be successful in their goals, and with that in mind, the biggest transformation on the EB platform was the inclusion of high-detailed contact modules that allows Chambers not only go get analytics from their digital management, but also to draw demographics and insights from interactions with their members. That means the CRM that you populate with member data translates to all other aspects of the platform, automatically personalizing your event management at every level from merge tags to dues reminders and event suggestions.
Chamber Software is quite literally chamber software. It’s an amalgamation of the best tools for use on any chamber website, but works more like a cookie-cutter platform for chambers. While they may help out small chambers who are price-sensitive, it may not be a match for those that require more brand-awareness with their community.
However, for those that are not shy about putting their site up on a platform that’s off their own domain, then Chamber Software is a pretty darn good option. With a wide array of tools, you’ll have the ability to manage a community, set up event pages, ticket, send emails, and automate dues and renewals all from one platform. The only one solution I would wish to see on their list is automation for membership renewals and dues payment reminders. Aside from that, the platform is pretty spot on, if you can swallow the hefty one-time set up fee, the monthly price is affordable for those that are not already paying to develop their own website.
Chamber Master is a more back-end focused chamber management software suite that is intending to leverage it’s data management to improve the experience of managing large lists. There are indeed public facing features like directories and blogs, but that’s about all it musters for your member-facing needs. It’s honestly not much.
The real use case and value Chamber Master puts forth is it’s ability to simplify your data, and not much else. You won’t find a CRM that integrates with any tools either. You’ll still need to host events, ticket, send emails and automate your public facing needs with other tools, none of whom will integrate cleanly with Chamber Master. Web hosting is available although through their services only, leaving integration options quite expensive.
Chamber Nation is a hard-core chamber management software tool that runs in the same realm as EventBank Chamber and Association solution. That means there’s a whole love of chamber management features under the hood like the tried and true CRM and databases and web hosting. However it’s truest value comes from it’s e-commerce support, allowing chamber to host their own online stores on their chamber websites, eking more revenue for chambers who host free and public events more than paid ones, or member only events.
The other great aspect of Chamber Nation is it’s ability to create a truly mobile first experience by leveraging in-app messaging to engage members and remind dues and renewals. Web hosting seems to be a basic feature but for true integrations it seems there’s of course going to be some negotiation involved. Chamber Nation’s subsidiary Chamber Organizer is a full-service version of the software for chambers who want to leave the set up and management process to the professionals.
Chamber Dashboard is a full-stack web hosting utility with specific focus for hosting chambers and associations. Not exactly a chamber management software suite of tools, but more of a webhosting utility with focus on chamber’s needs. Free users can enjoy a suite of hosted databases and a CRM with near-limitless access so long as they start their chamber hosting with Chamber Dashboard. Meanwhile other key features like Email Campaigns are locked behind one time payments that are typically below $100 each.
For those that are looking to start their chamber’s web presence with a full suite of native features, Chamber Dashboard may be the best option. However it’s important to know that each addon is provided by Dashboard, and you’ll be subject to their policies.
Another important thing to take note is that some features they provide are not really features. Some addons and plugins provided by Chamber Dashboard are really just integrations in disguise. For instant ticketing and online payments is a free integration on any other web hosting service, meanwhile Chamber Dashboard locks this off on their web hosting platform with a paywall of $39. You’re also probably better off hosting your CRM with another provider as they also lock off both Importing and Exporting bulk data behind $39 for each feature. Both of which are free on all CRMs available on the web, even the free accounts.
Chamber Desk is a great chamber management software platform for web-hosting not due to it’s features, but due to it’s rich content marketing network that it provides. The core features are all there, web hosting, CRM, event hosting, ticketing, and so on. But the real value comes from it’s inter-business communication and content marketing with it’s vast arrays of Journalists. So Chambers looking for early-on promotion may want to check this out first.
A feature I saw on here that I didn’t see anywhere else is SMS marketing. How cool is that? Most of the time SMS marketing would be a premium level feature for even the most famous of Email Marketing tools out there. Very cool. Fees do apply however. Packages range based on the amount of members a Chamber wishes to host, and they scale quite well in my opinion.
However one important thing to note is the amount of web storage that is limited to early on users are just under 5GB. While this may not be an issue, age will tend to grow a web page’s server file storage, especially when it comes to massive database entries and image-based advertisements, as well as video hosting. It may be entirely possible to his this storage limit even if your memberships stay under the maximum for your package. Buyer beware if you seek to store massive amount of database data on your website.
CC-Assist is another platform that goes down the EventBank path of solutions. It’s a true all-in-one solution that provides any and all features a chamber might need, including CRM, Event Hosting, Ticketing, Email Campaigns, automation and billing. The whole premise around CC-Assist is it’s experience in dealing with Chambers, due to it’s experience as a provider of services to chambers as far back as the 80s before it went digital. Bringing over decades of experience to the table and translate into your digital space.
The true downside of CC-Assist is it’s dated user interface for not only the back end, but as well as the front end. Limited option leave you with a cookie-cutter website that doesn’t blend well with most modern expectations. The mobile app, a separate cost that’s available for purchase, is a bit better, but is just used for back end use only, and not for an in-person ticketing strategy. The other harrowing issue is that the software really is software. It’s not a webapp, and so it cannot be access at any time. The program must be downloaded securely. The only real way to let remote team members access the software is to load it onto a virtual server so for remote access into one account. A painstaking solution to this issue, and one that could be made better should it ever move into a webapp interface with better UX.
The Sum of it All
Chamber management software solutions are not in a readily handy supply. Other suites of tools out there for less niche organizations are providing some of the best services and competitors are fighting either a price or a feature war with each other. But for the more niche Chamber demand, the competition is not very high and those that in the game are quite dated to be frank. However some tools we went over in our list are pretty top notch and provide value where it’s needed, so it’s best for a chamber to look at it’s own needs.
We suggest looking at your web presence firstly, as the focus on CRM and Membership Management is quite lacking in the current tools aside from a select few. Web presence is the focus of even some of the original chamber management software tools so it’s best to start there. What do you need? An integration? Or looking to complete rebuild your digital self? Answering these questions early on are key for any Chamber to really make the most out of their software investments.
Want to learn more about Chamber Management Software? Click here and we’ll show you how EventBank approaches chamber and association needs!