Membership management software for UK charities and associations

by Andy Pearson in December 9th, 2020
Membership software compared

This post is aimed at UK associations, charities and non-profit organisations looking to evaluate the best membership management software available.

There are a number of UK specific issues around payment and data protection that must be considered. This post provides an overview of all the best software options that can deal with the specific challenges of running a membership organisation in the UK.


Key features

The software platforms in this post are evaluated on the following requirements of UK membership organisations and associations: 

  • Ensuring a smooth flow of data between website, contact database, event management and email tools
  • Support for Direct Debit as the gold standard for regular payments
  • Compliance with UK data protection legislation (GDPR and the Data Protection Act)
  • Location of customer support services and hosting
  • Ease of use
  • Setup and ongoing costs

One size fits all? 

It is important for membership organisations to choose software that is appropriate to their size. Otherwise it can lead to frustrating limitations or having to deal with unnecessary complexity and cost. For this reason, we divide the membership systems listed according to the size of organisation that is their primary focus. 

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Membership software

Small organisations (up to 5,000 members)

White Fuse (UK)

White Fuse is an integrated website, fundraising and membership platform built specifically for UK charities, societies and associations. The platform looks after the full member experience from joining online to managing their membership and accessing restricted content and resources. A number of features are included to make data protection and compliance easier for small organisations. 

Pros

  • Flexible modern website builder
  • Online joining and payments
  • Direct Debit support via GoCardless
  • Automatic renewals 
  • Restricted member content
  • Event booking
  • Email broadcasting

Cons

  • No API for integrating with other software
  • Fewer options for customisation than some competitors

Pricing: Free trial available. Contact based pricing from £30+VAT per month. No setup fee. 1% commission on Direct Debit payments (on top of GoCardless fee).

WebCollect (UK)

WebCollect is aimed at amateur clubs and other small organisations. It offers a basic website builder with templates for different organisation types (e.g. Athletics Club, Basketball Club), though the templates offer little custom branding and do not appear to be optimised for mobile devices. This option has been established for a long time which gives it a solid and reliable set of features but a slightly old-fashioned feel. 

Pros

  • Range of website templates
  • Support for family memberships
  • Online payments and renewals
  • Event booking
  • Email & SMS sending

Cons

  • Old fashioned interface design
  • Poor website mobile optimisation

Pricing: Free for up to 50 members, then pricing from £60 per year. 0.5% commission on Direct Debit payments (on top of GoCardless fee).

MemberMojo (UK)

MemberMojo is aimed at small clubs, associations and charities. It is a simple but long-established system for collecting membership subscription payments. The interface is unlike a typical CRM, where each contact has their own profile page with contact details and an activity feed. Rather it opts for a simpler interface very similar to a spreadsheet that can be edited directly. From the pricing and feature-set, it is clear that it’s aimed at very small organisations and is therefore likely to be a good fit for small local clubs who don’t need a membership site and don’t run bookable events but need to simplify the administration of membership fees. 

Pros

  • Online application form
  • Online payments and renewals
  • Email sending
  • Members directory
  • Membership card printing available

Cons

  • No website builder
  • No restricted member content
  • No event booking

Pricing: free for up to 50 members, then annual pricing from £30 per year.

Join It (USA)

Join It has a simple approach that offers a very light-weight contact database and rather than offering built-in functionality it offers a wide range of integration options, such as Mailchimp, Eventbrite, etc. This approach may be attractive if you already use and love those systems though it brings with it the complexity of continuing to run multiple systems and the associated costs. No website building functionality is included but you do get a promotional page on the Join It website for your organisation where people can join up. 

Pricing: free for up to 100 members, then pricing from $29 per month.

Personify Wild Apricot (USA)

Comprehensive membership management tool based in the US with website builder, event management and member portal capabilities. 

Pricing: free for up to 50 members, then pricing from $40 per month.


Medium organisations (5,000 to 20,000 members)

Silverbear (UK)

Silverbear is a membership database system aimed at large professional membership associations in the UK like the Institute of Directors. They offer a comprehensive customised offering based on Microsoft Dynamics. Their solution typically includes Direct Debit support, integration with HMRC Gift Aid system and a membership portal for members to manage their own profile, book events and access financial information. 

Pros

  • Each implementation is customised
  • Online joining and payments 
  • Automatic renewals
  • Restricted member content
  • Event booking

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Complex for smaller organisations
  • Requires subscription to Microsoft Dynamics

Pricing: pricing is not publicly available and is customised for each customer.

SubscriberCRM (UK)

SubscriberCRM deals with the CRM needs of membership organisations. It has been around for two decades so while it may not be cutting edge technology it is flexible and could be a good fit for organisations with less typical requirements. It is primarily focused on back office functions like tracking contact details and relationships and in this area it offers a lot of flexibility. It can also be linked to your existing website to allow members to manage their profile, join, book events, etc. Particularly distinctive features include a volunteer management module.

Pros

  • Mature and flexible platform
  • Can interface with existing website
  • Volunteer management module

Cons

  • Lacks strengths of modern cloud platforms
  • No site builder
  • No previews available online
  • Pricing: pricing is not publicly available

SheepCRM (UK)

Some of the membership management systems in this post are looking quite ‘long in the tooth’ but SheepCRM has a refreshingly clean and modern user interface. It steers clear of offering a full membership feature set but instead has a range of integrations with modern platforms for email marketing and website functionality. 

Pros

  • Payment automation & reconciliation
  • Wide range of integrations
  • Organise and track events 
  • Xero integration (accounting software)
  • Discourse integration (third party community software)

Cons

  • Basic member facing portal
  • Only very simple website forms
  • Limited built-in email sending

Pricing: there are three tiers with increasing functionality, starting at £199 per month for up to 5,000 contacts. 


Large organisations (over 20,000 members)

ThankQ (UK)

ThankQ does not offer a fully integrated membership package but its CRM software does support many stages of the member lifecycle, especially if the ‘web widgets’ are used to build an interactive membership website. 

ThankQ targets a wide range of membership organisations including professional bodies, trade associations, unions, charities and clubs. 

Pros

  • Online subscriptions and renewals
  • Track qualifications and ‘continual professional development’

Cons

  • No website builder
  • Web widgets clunky and unattractive

Pricing: pricing is not publicly available

iMiS by ASI (USA)

A full end-to-end solution aimed at larger associations. Also offers a range of fundraising and online community solutions for association and membership websites in the UK and internationally. 

Star Chapter (USA)

Another leading piece of AMS (Association Management Software) for larger associations. 


Other software to consider

Protech (UK)

UK-based creators of Pro8 and Pro9 membership management CRM databases.  

Member Logic (USA)

Focused on event management and provides a members portal. 

GrowthZone (USA)

Sales-focused CRM for larger associations who use direct sales approaches to target member growth through networking.  

MemberClicks (USA)

For professional associations, trade associations, chambers of commerce. Range of website templates to choose from. 

CiviCRM (USA)

Has been around for a long time but probably still the leading open source membership software. No website builder but can integrate with Drupal or Wordpress. Needs signficiant custom development. 

Tendenici (USA)

Open source association management software with a rich feature list covering most membership requirements. 

Your Membership (USA)

Another US-based piece of membership/association management software aimed at larger organisations. 

MemberNova (USA)

MemberNova is all-in-one association membership software that includes tools for website, communication and member networking. One distinctive feature is their mobile app which they claim makes it easier for members to use the built-in community engagement tools.

MemberPlanet (USA)

Another piece of membership website software with a broad feature set. One stand out feature is their built-in SMS text message sending system. 

Glue Up (USA)

Previously a successful event-based tool called EventBank the company added a broader range of functionality and relaunched as an all-in-one platform. It is particularly focused on more corporate membership organisations with customers including the Economist's Corporate Network.


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