Why association management software should NOT be used for award management

|Kyle Fredrickson|June 28, 2017

It’s awards time, and you have to figure out how to manage the application and review process from beginning to end. You think, “No problem! Our association management software (AMS) can handle it.” So you get started, and you suddenly realize you’ve created quite a mess.  

Don’t worry. Hundreds of organizations have come to the same conclusion: You should NOT use association management software to manage your award program (or, for that matter, your grants, scholarship and competition programs).

Don’t get us wrong. AMS is a clever Swiss army knife of a tool for helping organizations like yours to manage their many tasks. But no matter how many bells and whistles AMS has for membership management, it’s not a dedicated tool for application management. It’s the old ‘square peg in a round hole’ scenario: AMS might work a bit if you bang it (and your head) hard enough, but it’s NOT easy, efficient or effective.

You Need a Different Kind of AMS: Application Management Software

For a successful award program, you need applicants who can effortlessly complete the application process; review committees who don’t drown in attachments, data sources, and the dreaded paper trail; and administrators who can manage the entire event with ease. You also need the right tool for the task—and by ‘right’ we mean a proven tool that has powered thousands of successful award application programs. Let’s Reviewr.

But first, let’s look at the ‘square peg’ problems created by using association management software to run your award program:

Square-peg problem 1: All forms are not created equal. An association management software form collects basic data, but lacks the usability, tools and workflow functionality necessary to manage complicated award submissions. Does your AMS form allow applicants to do these things?

  • Create an account

  • Save, log in and log out

  • Add attachments, such as letters of recommendation

  • Access data specific to their chosen award categories

  • Trigger notifications to others contributing to the award submission

  • Upload files without size limitations

  • Submit multiple forms and deliverables for different program phases

And does it allow you to:

  • Send receipts of application

  • Embed and share files and submissions

  • Report quickly and accurately on program metrics?

If not, you’re starting to see the problem…

Square-peg problem 2: Life is hard enough. Do you really need to add administrative nightmares to your day? It’s time to reassess if: you’re using several third-party tools to build your form and promote your program; you’re madly retrieving data from a database and struggling to bring some order to the sporadic flow of award submissions; you’re not distributing submissions to your review panel and reporting results with ease. No matter how hard you work, when it comes to powerful award management or application management, your AMS just won’t work. There is an easier way…

Square-peg problem 3: Review committee volunteers run out of patience, too. Volunteering to review submissions and recommend award recipients is a big time-suck, and it’s your responsibility to lighten the load for your reviewers. To do their job well (and want to do it again in future), reviewers need streamlined systems for evaluating submissions, accessing files and sending results. They don’t need to be dumped on with a thousand downloads, unwieldy spreadsheets and mismatched paperwork. If your reviewers’ nerves are frayed, it’s time to look at why…

Square-peg problem 4: Using the wrong software carries huge costs. With enough tears, time and money, your association management software might get you over the line for your award program, but it’s just not the right tool for the task. Using the wrong software has big consequences for your award program—mostly in the form of wasted resources, disgruntled applicants, disengaged reviewers, lost or inaccurate data and a greater need for applicant support. So many round-peg problems!

So, what’s the round-peg solution, you scream? It’s Reviewr—the industry leader in online application management.

This Award Management Software is a Nice, Round Peg

Reviewr is online application management software that allows you to collect, manage and review submissions all in one place: on the web. It’s a centralized solution that streamlines the entire award application and review process for applicants, administrators and reviewers.

Reviewr’s award management software is powerful because it’s purpose-built, which means no more scattered award submissions, no more lost data and lost patience caused by well-meaning association management software—it’s a different kind of AMS. No more square pegs in round holes.