An association management company (AMC) is a firm of skilled professionals whose goal is to provide management expertise and specialized administrative services to associations in an efficient, cost-effective manner.
Every association is different. Each has different needs, ideas and goals. Whether your association has 10 members or 100,000 members, a management structure can make or break it. Over the years, associations have grown in number and size. Managing these associations has become increasingly complex. Association management companies are able to deal with this complexity and the rapid changes taking place in professions, technology and government regulations.
Many decisions, from the smallest to the most crucial, have to be made in your association. Association management firms allow association leaders to put more energy into their industry and profession rather than into time consuming administrative tasks.
An association management company allows your organization to do this, along with helping meet its overall mission and goals. An AMC also will provide general and specialized areas of expertise including:
• Strategic Planning
• Financial Management
• Executive Management
• Membership Development
• Marketing & Public Relations
• Educational & Professional Development
• Communication Services
• Meeting & Event Planning
• Cost-Effective Solutions
• Personnel, Equipment, Facilities & Budget
• Administrative Tasks
Association management firms have helped obtain quality and consistency in these areas for over 100 years. AMCs remain the effective solution to the management problem. By offering advantages that more associations are discovering, association management companies can help you obtain your mission.
Effective Management Selection
Selecting a form of management must be based on an association’s own goals, members, ideas and mission.
Association Management Company Education Foundation (AMCEF) compiled a scientific study, Re-Assessing Effective Association Management: 1995 Survey of Elected Leaders, concerning association leaders’ perception of critical factors utilized in selecting and evaluating forms of management. The study showed that elected leaders look at the association management company as an efficient and effective form of management. This includes quality staff management and financial control along with management continuity in the face of changing leadership.
According to association leaders, the most important areas when selecting a form of management are:
• good communications
• planning and organizational skills
• good leadership
• public relations and marketing expertise
• association management experience
• cost-effective solutions
• continuity of management
• depth of staff
• personal style Choosing the most professional and effective management should be the main objective for any association. Perhaps now is the time to consider an association management company for your organization.
Professionalism and Experience in Management
An association has to anticipate and plan for its future needs. Planning is a primary task of management. Planning is essential to making things happen and allows management to identify and address problems before they occur. By anticipating and identifying industry change, an association management company can develop collective problem solving techniques needed to keep an industry prosperous.
Association management companies have immediate access to tried and proven techniques from their experience with other associations who have faced some of the same obstacles you may encounter. AMCs’ depth of staff will create more diversity, expertise and foster idea exchange. Your association will benefit from the management company’s experienced staff customizing services for your specific goals and assistance during those complex peak periods.
Many associations are limited by size and qualifications of staff which may result in inefficient staff utilization. Your association will no longer waste downtime by training employees. Marketing and public relations is your communication with the public and is often neglected in associations because of staff shortage or lack of expertise.
An association management company’s diverse staff experience in association marketing and public relations can result in more effective event and meeting planning. Through research, planning and feedback, an association management company can also create effective systems necessary to carry out and monitor progress toward your priorities and objectives.
Innovative and Effective Communications
Communications and motivation of staff and volunteers play a big role in keeping an association on its feet and moving, and cannot be overlooked when deciding on which management to choose. Management delivery of timely, accurate and appropriate information to the elected leaders and association membership is a crucial part of the communications process.
Membership retention and solicitation are vital to all associations. Current member needs must be met along with identifying future problems that may occur. The key to membership is listening to what members need and using the proper communication channels to fulfill those needs.
In today’s fast paced world, technology is constantly changing. An association management company is equipped to meet the demands of today’s high-tech business environment. By having this high-tech knowledge backing your association, it will make meeting challenges easier – – not to mention saving time and money.
As your association grows and develops, your members should develop and benefit from it. An association management company can plan and maintain educational and professional development programs, which will enrich communications and fill members’ professional and personal growth needs.
A quality association management company believes in the integrity of service built upon the communication of client expectation and company commitment.
Financial Management: Cost-Effective Solutions
Handling association funds is a critical area and must be evaluated closely when choosing a form of management. Your organization should not have to make major investments in full-time staff and office facilities. Operating with volunteers who often lack time, experience and expertise in key areas will create downtime and in turn will result in wasted resources. This will result in high overhead and headaches because long term goals frequently get lost in day to day details.
Your organization can enjoy the best of both worlds by obtaining the professional expertise of top specialists with an association management company for a fraction of what it would cost to hire them as full-time staff. These experienced professionals will execute assigned tasks cost-effectively for clients and this will allow your organization’s needs to be customized to meet specific goals.
AMCEF survey results showed association leaders rated financial and operational performance to be of great importance to their management structure. Association management companies establish clear performance standards and regularly review the quality and cost of purchased services.
In order for your association to grow, it must take cautious steps when investing resources. By becoming partners with an association management company, it will allow your association to save valuable resources. An association management company has the facilities for you to have a centralized office. Sharing overhead costs for professional offices with other associations will increase your resources and capabilities without major capital investment.
An association management company has the ability and expertise to handle all your financial operations and bring your association up to speed in its accounting systems. Maintaining tight control over resources and keeping your cash fully vested with detailed reporting will become part of your association’s financial services. Your association can eliminate costly problems such as payroll and personnel duties along with liability problems, property issues, insurance and employee benefits. Many associations try to take on all these administrative tasks and lose sight of goals and become counterproductive. An association management company can alleviate this for you and make your organization run financially smooth.
Written and Approved by the International Association of Association Management Companies (IAAMC)