Recently cited in the Community Brands Digital Member Study was this finding: Technology drives member loyalty. In fact, members who see their organization as an early technology provider are significantly more satisfied with their membership and feel more connected to their organization.

However, not all technology is created equal, and that’s okay. It’s imperative to think about the immediate needs of your organization, the goals of your learning program, the requirements for members’ certification, and how you can provide the best experience possible to keep your members engaged and coming back for more.

When it comes to choosing a webinar platform, it’s no surprise the decision is often based on price. After all, budgets are tight, time is limited, and perhaps some commercial platforms, such as WebEx or Go-to-Webinar, meets your organization’s immediate needs. In fact, they’re great for small group collaboration, and most even have recording capability. However, there are many items to consider when choosing between a limited platform and a fully-managed webinar vendor.

Here are three such items.

Live support.

One is live support. Let’s face it, technical issues are expected. And, if your members experience any technical issues during the live presentation, you will hear about it. To avoid the inevitable pitfalls of you troubleshooting, a fully-managed webinar vendor can provide a dedicated support team to help attendees with any issues that arise.

Also, with a fully-managed webinar provider, you have a dedicated account rep who works with you to guarantee a memorable experience for your speakers and attendees, including training speakers, assisting with technology and moderating the live event.

Connected technologies.

There’s also the headache of multiple vendors to consider. When the platform you use is separate from your association management system (AMS) and learning management system (LMS), this creates loads of extra work for your staff, such as having to manually email webinar providers or transfer registration data into the AMS. Fully-managed platforms integrate with your AMS and LMS, allowing you to capture, analyze and report on valuable data.

Impacts on product roadmap.

It’s also critical to think about the ongoing development of the platform. In the case of WebEx or Adobe Connect, which are designed with for-profit companies in mind, you will have limited to no ability to influence the direction of the product to meet the needs of your organization.

In contrast, a good technology partnership with a vendor focusing on organizations like yours will likely request feedback through multiple channels, addressing any problems, while prioritizing the recommendations on the product roadmap.

Ultimately, the choice depends on the needs of your organization. But, if your goal is to provide a great experience for your learner every time, it sounds like it’s time to consider a fully-managed webinar platform.