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Articles > Membership Management > Membership management: Designing your digital transformation strategy

Membership management: Designing your digital transformation strategy

Digital transformation
Digital transformation

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation involves the strategic adoption of digital technologies to create new, or modify existing, business processes, culture and customer experiences to meet changing business requirements. It's used to improve processes and productivity, deliver better customer and employee experiences, and control costs.

In order to stay relevant to the industries and communities they aspire to serve, membership organisations around the world have begun to engage with their members using different technology. Digital transformation, therefore, is now a top priority for today’s modern membership organisation; it offers the chance to reimagine how these organisations engage with their members, as well as how digital technologies can facilitate improvements in general day-to-day membership management through operational efficiency and innovation. The Covid-19 pandemic has driven many of these organisations to launch their own online communities, where members can interact, network, and share knowledge with other members, no matter where they are in the world. 

As a result, membership organisations are starting to review their operations from their internal processes, including internal systems, to external processes such as member interactions. As part of this, it is ever more important for membership organisations to regularly review their current software as part of their digital transformation strategy to change processes in a way that will enable better decision-making, game-changing efficiencies and more personalised and relevant experiences for members.


Why embark on digital transformation?

Digital transformation provides an opportunity for your organisation to achieve more with its current resources, including the potential to automate administrative tasks and optimise your membership management. In particular, as your members’ daily lives become increasingly digitised, it's important to keep up-to-date with the latest digital advances in order to stay relevant and to keep ahead of competition. However, reimagining your processes and workflows can be a huge cultural shift, and therefore manifests as a daunting process. This article offers advice on how to strategize and undergo this process of digital transformation for your organisation.

When to consider digital transformation

At what point do you decide that your system isn’t working for you, and that you're not reaching your full potential with your current software or systems? Perhaps you aren’t retaining your membership community, your members aren't engaging well with your current system, your system doesn't offer a personalised experience to your members or you're not meeting your fundraising goals. Or maybe the system feels old, clunky and a bit outdated in comparison to other softwares, and accessing your members data is a big struggle. With these things considered, it may be time to think about digitally transforming your operations and membership management system.


Where to begin with digital transformation

The best way to start on your journey is to conduct an internal assessment of your software, as this will allow you to identify the gaps, problems, and areas where you are experiencing difficulties. Involve your membership management, operations and engagement teams and collaborate; gather their inputs and work to understand where their biggest pain points and efficiencies are both within their own teams and across other teams, including any manual processes which could be automated. With a better understanding of what you are looking to improve, create a checklist of everything your membership organisation requires from a system, and design your digital roadmap strategy.


“When we were looking for our new membership platform we had a long list of must-haves. Not only did we need something that would allow members to create profiles and process membership payments, but we needed something that could allow for public-facing pages that could serve as our website, as well as private members-only pages where we could have our education and training resources hosted. We needed a platform that would allow us to continue our mentorship program. Going with the ToucanTech platform has allowed us to hit all of these must-haves, and so much more.”

Dr Kasandrea Sereno

Founder at Higher Ed Social

Researching and reviewing new software options

Your choice of new software or technology, especially CRM and member portals, is key. Take time to research and review all new software options available. This can be a time-consuming process, as finding the right software requires ongoing commitment, but pays off in the long run! Use your checklist of core requirements as a benchmark in your search, and consider how you can integrate the current technologies you use, or even combine them all, to make an all-in-one platform to manage your membership community.


“It took 9 months reviewing over 60 products before I settled on ToucanTech. It’s a comprehensively integrated SaaS platform, and I am able to manage our contact database, communications, membership fees and donations, community groups and online store plus more”

Paul Harapin

President of the Sydney High School Old Boys Union


Browsing review sites

Software review sites, such as Capterra, allow you to browse through the different options according to your checklist of core requirements for your membership organisation. Honest reviews left by customers can provide useful insights about each software option, including the pros and cons, as well as ratings, to help you decide whether the software will be able to fulfil your organisation’s needs.


Talk to customers

To help determine the useability and functionality of a membership software, and gain a better understanding of how other membership organisations are using the software, talk to current customers of the software provider. Remember to ask probing questions to gain a really comprehensive understanding of the software you're considering. Many software companies also provide a range of customer testimonials and case studies for you to download - request these customer testimonials, including customer Q&As, to help you further decide whether the software is appropriate. 


"ToucanTech’s all-in-one platform is extremely unique and the ability to cultivate an integrated experience for our members and staff was the key reason we chose ToucanTech. We are really glad we made the move and continue to see both external and internal benefits."

Liam McLeavey

Operations Manager at Digital Health Association



Book a demo

To help you decide which software would be the best fit for your organisation, make sure you book a demo - these short sessions are perfect for demonstrating the product and offer a comprehensive overview of the software so that you are able to evaluate it as a potential purchase. Often demos are heavily personalised where a mocked-up version of the software is created to demonstrate how your organisation can make use of the different product features - and this is useful for helping you to visualise how your new online membership portal might look. 



ToucanTech is an all-in-one database, website and comms system designed for community managers. If you would like to find out how ToucanTech could help with your digital transformation, book a demo with one of the team.


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