Choosing the Right API Provider: Tips and Advice for Associations

In today’s digital age, associations are increasingly relying on technology to streamline operations, enhance member experiences, and drive innovation. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) play a vital role in enabling associations to integrate different systems, access data, and build robust applications. However, selecting the right API provider can be a daunting task.

In this blog, we will provide valuable tips and advice for associations looking to choose an API provider. 

We’ll explore what to look for in a provider and how to evaluate their offerings, helping you make an informed decision that aligns with your association’s needs and goals.

Api selection

Identify Your Specific Requirements:

Before embarking on your search for an API provider, it is crucial to identify your association’s specific requirements. Consider the following questions:

  • What are your integration needs? Do you require data synchronization, real-time updates, or a specific functionality?
  • What are your security and compliance requirements? Are there any industry regulations you must adhere to?
  • What level of technical support and documentation do you expect from the provider?
  • Do you have budget constraints or scalability requirements?

API Documentation and Developer Support:

Comprehensive and well-documented APIs significantly contribute to successful integration and development. Consider the following factors while evaluating an API provider:

  • Clear and up-to-date documentation: Ensure the provider offers detailed API documentation with examples, code snippets, and best practices.
  • Developer portal and community support: Look for a provider that offers a developer portal with resources, forums, and community support. This enables your development team to seek assistance and collaborate effectively.
  • Developer-friendly features: Check if the API provider offers software development kits (SDKs), libraries, or code samples to accelerate the integration process.

Security and Compliance:

Associations deal with sensitive member data and must prioritize security and compliance. Consider the following aspects:

  • Encryption and data protection: Ensure the provider follows industry-standard encryption protocols to safeguard data transmission and storage.
  • Compliance with regulations: Depending on your association’s industry, verify if the provider complies with relevant regulations, such as GDPR or HIPAA.
  • Authentication and access controls: Assess the provider’s authentication mechanisms and access controls to protect your API endpoints and data.

Evaluate Provider Expertise and Experience:

When choosing an API provider, it is essential to assess their expertise and experience in working with associations or similar organizations. Look for the following indicators:

  • Check their track record: Have they successfully implemented APIs for associations in the past?
  • Analyze their technical expertise: Do they possess a deep understanding of the technologies relevant to your association’s infrastructure?
  • Review customer testimonials and case studies: Are there any success stories or positive experiences shared by their existing association clients?
  • Assess their support services: Do they have a responsive support team to address your concerns and provide assistance when needed?

Scalability and Performance:

As your association grows, the demands on your API provider will increase. Therefore, scalability and performance are critical factors to consider:

  • Evaluate the provider’s infrastructure: Do they have robust servers and infrastructure that can handle increasing traffic and data volume?
  • Latency and response times: Assess the provider’s average response times and ensure they align with your association’s requirements.
  • Look for service level agreements (SLAs): SLAs provide guarantees on uptime, availability, and support response times. Ensure the provider offers appropriate SLAs to meet your association’s needs.

Pricing and Cost Considerations:

While evaluating API providers, it is important to consider pricing models and costs:

  • Understand pricing structures: Evaluate whether the provider offers pricing models that align with your association’s budget and usage patterns. These can include per API call, tiered pricing, or subscription-based models.
  • Hidden costs and additional services: Clarify any potential hidden costs, such as data storage, technical support, or premium features.
  • Scalability and cost implications: Consider how pricing will scale as your association grows and API usage increases.


Choosing the right API provider is a crucial decision for associations aiming to leverage the power of integration and digital innovation. By carefully evaluating providers based on their expertise, documentation, scalability, security, and pricing, associations can make an informed choice that aligns with their specific needs and goals. Taking the time to research and consider these factors will ensure a successful partnership with an API provider that can support your association’s digital transformation and enhance member experiences.

A+ API Approaches to Amplifying Your AMS

why-API?Part I: The API Adjustments Affecting AMS Advances

You get straight A’s if you know how much APIs have changed. We can all ace the exam on how AMSs have changed, having come a long way in just the last few years alone. This isn’t even addressing their profound evolution from fundraising and membership desktop software in the 1980s through the invention of Advanced Solutions International (ASI)’s venerable iMIS in 1991 through web-based software in the 2000s to today’s SaaS offerings in the cloud.

But cloud storage changed everything. While it’s easy to make the grade observing that the cloud has made data more accessible, people often draw a blank in realizing that, while data is accessed from almost anywhere, it’s accessible in more limited ways than when you just could walk into the server room and grab it. This is because, despite the accessibility the cloud is famous for, often the interfaces to cloud storage are more basic and, therefore, limited.

Cloud providers make their money by improving storage, not by improving interface access. This latter function is often a check-the-box feature explored only after the storage agreement is signed. It’s looked at like windshield wipers are by a car manufacturer. They’re necessary to drive, but rarely test-driven, so there’s no real incentive to innovate on the same ol’ same ol’ way of windshield wiping.

But, if you did, the driver would see more, more clearly.

So while cloud access reduces your data-storage cost by reducing maintenance and on-prem infrastructure, it also imposes some new, more hidden costs by removing the data from easy reach. According to Owens Gollamandala, Senior Projects Manager at data-integrator Empowered Margins of Colorado Springs, CO, “associations often own the data, but can’t access it well.”

In any data integration, the application typically requires any number of fields within potentially hundreds from the now cloud-based database. Out-of-the-box cloud interfaces typically offer just a standard subset, almost inevitably omitting some fields your application will need, while including other fields it doesn’t.

But all clouds have a silver lining. As a result of this more limited access, a lot of effort has been spent in just the last few years upgrading APIs or Application Programmer Interfaces which offer new and unique ways to reach the data, and that helps fulfill the vision of cloud computing in a way many don’t realize.

API advancement represents, in fact, one of the single greatest changes in how we derive utility out of an AMS. The fact that these are not your grandfather’s APIs has made a generational leap forward that wasn’t even possible just a few years ago. This is the foundation behind the more visible changes we see in AMSs in the last 36 months: a rise in analytics, more powerful AI, more sophisticated content management and a more customized UX — much of this could not have happened without advances to the APIs “under the hood.”

APIs are now much more flexible in their ability to fetch data, circumventing these predefined interface limitations while allowing more advanced filtering that provides exactly the data needed when the application needs it in the precise format, including the highlighting, required. Data where, when and how you need it makes all the difference.

Optimizing the cloud data model means exploring the full utility of APIs, which:

  • Increases data availability and ease of access
  • Automates processes
  • Seamlessly transitions between different systems
  • Increases revenue by providing valuable data where, when and how it’s easily monetized
  • Extends customer reach and value
  • Integrates backend data and applications.

For more information, check Part II (coming soon): Getting from Here to There.

his material was covered in an informative webinar Wednesday, April 21st, 2021 by Teri Carden, Founder of ReviewMyAMS, Owens Gollamandala along with Empowered Margins Co-CEO Rudy Pandya and Senior Client Services Manager Tom McClintock that compared different APIs across the AMS landscape, unique ways to leverage their data access and pitfalls to avoid in a deep dive to learn “Why APIwatch now.

What do I need to know about YM (Your Membership) APIs?

In the case of YM, API’s are a set of programs or functions that allow us access to limited amount of data in YourMembership. These programs are secured behind an encrypted and secure space and require a secret key to access.

The YM API’s are accessible to all customers only (at no additional cost)*. The YM API’s can be used to perform various tasks like downloading your member database, or monitoring members transactions within different modules like YM Events, YM Journals, YM Store and other areas. To use YM API’s one must understand the XML format of structuring and defining data. The xml format is fairly simple to use.

To read and learn more about the YM API’s please follow this URL

Empowered Margins has specialized in serving the YourMembership customers build solutions using the YM API’s since 2011. Feel free to contact us for your YM API integration or custom application development needs.