The association’s long-time executive director who managed every aspect of the professional association, is leaving and to fulfill this role, the association’s Board of Directors has hired an association management company (AMC). But what does this mean? How will it benefit membership? And will it be expensive? Just a few of the questions that come to mind when associations engage an AMC.
To an association member, the replacement of an individual or a couple of staff with an entire company implies that member dues may increase. But an AMC doesn’t mean it’s more expensive for an organization at all. There are many benefits of having an AMC lead the organization including cost savings!
Below this blog explores how associations can benefit from an AMC.
AMC staff do not necessarily work full-time with one client. Association management companies can hire many experts in different areas who can lend their experience in delivering an elevated approach in executing association business. An association that can only afford to have one or two staff members can now have a handful of experienced staff who can work on various tasks – in the hours required for those tasks.
All staff are educated and experienced in tasks that their roles require, and have extensive experience, as they work with more than one client. In addition, there are other staff in the same role at the AMC, these colleagues can work together to answer questions, share experiences and education with one another. And most importantly, staff can jump in when staff are away to ensure the association provides seamless service to its membership.
The following are key roles at an AMC.
The Chief Staff Officer or Executive Director at an AMC likely works with more than one organization. This staff member can bring experience working with different industries and different Board of Directors to the client, providing a well-rounded approach to managing the organization. This person will understand and execute:
- Program and project management
- Delegating and reporting to staff
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Governance leadership
- Board education and guidance
An Association Coordinator typically works with different memberships and Boards of Directors, and has experience from understanding more than one industry and therefor can successfully:
- Create communications tools that increase member Return on Investment (ROI)
- Communicate with members and encourage them to take advantage of the benefits the association offers.
- Work to assist with finance management, communications management, event management.
An Association often requires a trained Event Manager to plan various professional development events that can provide members with education credits and bring elevated educational opportunities to associations. AMC event managers:
- Have experience managing high profile events.
- Have connections nationally with various suppliers including hotels, decorators, audiovisual companies.
- Have experienced events from various industries and continue to improve each organization’s events based on observation and evaluation.
One of the most important aspects of a successful AMC is member (and non-member) communications.
Communications Managers often:
- Lead a team of communications specialists who develop strategies to increase communications to members and non-members that create opportunities for growth.
- Work to improve member retention by ensuring various methods of communication are utilized to reach all members.
- Are social media experts.
- Understand their audiences and how to create measurable calls to action.
- Have crisis communications and issues management expertise.
Financial Management is also a crucial part of association management. Within AMCs there are finance staff in the office. Finances are being reconciled and reported on an ongoing basis. If there is a question, they just need to walk down the hall to gain clarification from the association’s staff.
A finance manager will:
- Complete all daily/monthly accounting.
- Work with the Association Manager to create an annual operating budget.
- Create reports for board meetings and annual reporting.
- Work with the auditors to ensure a smooth and easy audit.
- Work with the board treasurers to present the audited statements at the annual meeting.
As associations take on new initiatives and projects, AMC staff can jump in to develop and execute these undertakings. The association management team will work together to deliver excellence, elevate the association and help it to successfully achieve its strategic objectives.
The next time you hear that an association selected an AMC, consider how fortunate they are to be able to assign experienced staff to each role to ensure the organization is meeting its goals and objectives – maybe even surpassing them!