By Guest Blogger:

Tom Walters, Principal Consultant


According to the 2019 Digital Excellence survey summary report, and a panel discussion at at the most recent Digital Excellence conference, member engagement is the number one goal for membership organisations.

Why should you be considering an app for your membership organisation? A whopping third of UK adults are now mobile-only – if everyone’s on mobile, then this is going to be the place where members will engage and interact. More specifically, time spent on mobile browsing is being spent in-apps (85% of mobile minutes and 66% of all online minutes). It’s fairly likely that most members in your organisation will have a smartphone, plus apps are super convenient – and everyone loves convenience.

Think about this:

Apps will increase and improve communication and engagement between members.

It might seem like a rather bold statement to make, but it’s true. Thanks to various app features like personalised content and targeted push notifications, apps are truly changing the game for membership.

So at this point, you know you want, no, need an app. What’s next?

Firstly, you are not alone. According to MemberWise 72% of membership organisations and associations don’t yet have an App and of those that do there is a relatively low satisfaction rate. This means that many professionals like yourself are now horizon searching for a great membership app.

You essentially have three options:

  1. Bespoke implementation,
  2. A ‘cookie-cutter’ product,
  3. An app platform.

Let’s delve into the pros and cons of each.

Bespoke Implementation


  • A bespoke app will match all of your requirements
  • Bespoke apps offer a unique user experience


  • They’re expensive – the up-front cost is high, and to maintain the app will be just as costly
  • You won’t get ‘out-of-the-box’ features
  • Your app will be unique, but risks being unique for the wrong reasons

A ‘Cookie-Cutter’ Product


  • The up-front cost is much lower than a bespoke solution


  • Offers a ‘one size fits all’ solution – basic look, basic feel
  • Fairly poor user experience
  • The 95% rule – Cantarus’ Strategic Development & Platforms Manager, Steven Fisher, describes this: “When using an off-the-shelf software product that meets 95% of your requirements, delivering the final 5% will probably cost more than the product did initially.”

App Platform


  • Lower up-front cost than a bespoke solution
  • You’ll have a distinct presence on the app stores
  • Ongoing development costs means that any technical support is taken care of
  • If budgets are a limitation at board level sign-off, get a platform which allows you to pick and choose your app features to keep the costs down
  • A platform allows you to be on a continuous upgrade path, i.e. as the platform adds new features or improves existing ones, your app will benefit from these enhancements


  • You have less control of your app in comparison to a fully bespoke solution. Sure, with a bespoke solution you may own all the IP and functionality, but would you ask Microsoft to change Word to work differently? It’s the same with an app platform!

Now that you know how vital it is for you to be in the app space for your members, as well as the pros and cons of each route you could take, don’t wait any longer. Consider an app for your organisation to help you retain and engage with your members all year-round.

We hope you enjoyed our blog, and gained some insight into how your member engagement can be improved with a membership app. If you would like any further information on a MemConnect app solution, please visit our website or email us at [email protected]

Cantarus is proud to have built the Official MemberWise Network app on the MemConnect platform, so be sure to download it and share your experience with us.

Cantarus is a multi-award-winning full-service digital agency specialising in delivering websites & with deep expertise and an outstanding client portfolio in the membership sector.