Association management software can be a lifesaver, but it also can be complicated to use to its best advantage. Some users of Advanced Solutions International’s iMIS system realized that back in the mid-1990s and decided to get together to talk about how to use the product to its full potential and how the company can make the product better. Skip forward a few years and this informal users group is now a 559-company-member, independent, not-for-profit organization with three yearly events.
Michele Morgan, who, as president of East Stroudsburg, Pa.-based OutSource Management Services Inc. manages the National iMUS Users Group, says that attendees look to NIUG as a leader in iMIS applications, so she’s always trying to come up with new ways to use the software for NIUG meetings, particularly for the 350-attendee Discovery Conference NIUG obtained from ASI last year. “We use iMIS for all the registrations, the bulk of which come from our Web site,” she says, as well as for attendee status reports that track who registers for which sessions, and the room setup module. “I have a grid that I provide to the hotel that states what times the sessions begin and end, the topics, the session descriptions, speaker and moderator names, and everything to do with resources. All of that information is pulled from iMIS.
“I’m always trying to come up with different ways of using the product,” she adds. One thing she did recently was create a pocket guide that is personalized with the attendee’s name and the general sessions and breakouts the attendee had registered for, so they could jettison the big conference guide and just carry what they needed with them. She registers the sponsors for each event so she can both track the money trail and pull the information for signage. She also added the ability to track moderators and link back to their records to the resource area within iMIS. “Now I can track how many times you’ve spoken for us, and what topics you’ve spoken about, so when we’re trying to determine topics and who should speak on a topic, I can see who we’ve already used,” says Morgan.
“NIUG doesn’t make a lot of money off of these conferences, but we’re not trying to. We’re just trying to educate people.”