Technology Assessment Survey Results

Thanks to everyone who participated in our 2010-2011 Technology Assessment Survey. The information collected through this survey will help us plan for a revamp of our knowledge services in 2011. Below we have distilled some key findings from the survey.  You can find the full report (DOC) on our website.


  • The vast majority of RAs use a CMS of some kind (83%). In addition to Syscom (the Forum’s KM System CMS), there were multiple regionals using Neulogic/Stellar Financial (3), and YourMembership (3). Note that these number reflect the answers of the 29 regionals who responded to the survey. There are additional regionals using some of these services.
  • About a quarter of RAs have been using their current system for under a year, while another quarter have been engaged for 5 years or more. Twenty per cent of respondents did not know exactly how long they had been using their current CMS.
  • More than half of responding RAs were able to license and install their system for under $25,000, with 36% doing so for under $10,000. Again, 20% of respondents were not sure of the actual price. Similarly, 52% are able to maintain their systems for under $5,000/year. 
  • Favorite CMS features: Registration capabilities, HTML Editor, calendar of events. HTML Editor also ranked highest for least favorite feature, which speaks to the importance of a high functioning WYSYG HTML Editor. Image management features was also often mentioned as a problem feature.
  • Just over half reported that members can edit individual or organization records through their website. 63% reported that members can register for events and purchase products through their sites.
  • 71% of respondents said their organization manages their website in-house. The vast majority (76%) reported spending less than 10 hours a week doing so.
  • The top three improvements in CMSes desired by regionals are 1) better social media integration, 2) faster speed, and 3) improved ease of use.
  • Responses on the annual cost of licensing, support, maintenance, and hosting of an organization’s CMS ranged from $0 to $11,000. Median cost is $3,000. Average cost is $3,836.

Knowledge Sharing

  • Three-quarters of respondents currently aggregate documents, best practices, and other knowledge resources in a single location.
  • The most common types of shared resources are 1) reports (95%), 2) sample documents (86%), presentations (73%), and best practices (68%). The least shared resource of those offered as options was listserves (18%).
  • The resources that regionals would like to see shared most were 1) sample documents (72%), best practices (59%), speaker/consultant information (46%), reports (41%), and webinars/calls (36%).


  • The most commonly used AMSes include ISSI (41%), YourMembership (7%), and Weblink Connect (7%).
  • Common functions of membership databases included a member directory (90%), meeting registration (83%), committee management (76%), dues payments (72%),broadcast email (66%), accounting/invoicing (59%), and product orders (52%). The least common function of those offered was legislative tracking (17%).
  • Registration was by far the most well-liked feature of AMSes in use, followed by member tracking, and committee management. Registration was also listed as the least favorite function, but as with the CMS’s HTML Editor, this speaks to the importance of this function.
  • Functions often cited as frustrating included broadcast email and the difficulty of learning such a complex system.
  • The most requested improvements to AMSes currently in use were improved broadcast email, ease of use/look and feel, improved search/querying, and better training, manuals, and help features.
  • 59% of respondents said their AMS integrates with their CMS.
  • 31% have their AMS integrated with broadcast email tools such as Constant Contact.
  • Only 14% of AMSes integrate with discussion forums and only 7% reported integration with listserves.
  • Responses on the annual cost of licensing, support, maintenance, and hosting of an organization’s CMS ranged from $0 to $8600. Median cost is $3000. Average cost is $3470.Other Databases
  • 72% of respondents maintain additional databases for their work.
  • 65% have grantmakers databases, 40% have grants databases, 30% have nonprofit databases, and 30% have speaker/consultant databases.
  • The majority of these databases are not integrated with the main AMS, nor are they available through the organization’s website.
  • Responses on the annual cost of licensing, support, maintenance, and hosting of an organization’s CMS ranged from $0 to $11500. Average cost is $2830.

Plans for the Future

  • Just under half of all regionals (43%) plan changes to their CMS and/or AMS systems in the next 12-24 months.
  • 24% will not be changing their current set up because they are either very satisfied with their current vendors or they have only recently upgraded systems.
  • An additional 32% did not know if they would be changing systems in the near future.

Photo by Don Solo on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.


One response to “Technology Assessment Survey Results

  1. Pingback: Drupal CMS Update: Project Booted Eagle Soars | FORUM'S Forum

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