Those busy people who step forward to be volunteer leaders of their professional or trade association are adding to their already busy schedules and taking on work in an already jam-packed professional and personal life.
Volunteers leading small associations find it even more challenging if the association has little or no staff support. It is with this in mind that many associations turn to association management companies (AMCs) for support.
What Triggers Associations to Consider an Association Management Company
Some associations first explore the AMC option when facing tough economic times and can no longer afford the overhead associated with maintaining an office and paying full-time staff salaries. Unfortunately, waiting until such a critical time can limit the ability of an AMC to assist you through a crisis.
Some associations look to an AMC for help when their executive director is retiring leave, or leaves the organization unexpectedly. The departure of an executive director can be a vulnerable time for an association and an AMC can provide immediate short-term stability as well as a longer term option – taking away the stresses, risks, and costs of a rushed recruitment process.
Other associations consider an AMC rather than hiring staff as they begin to grow. This can be an association with no staff which is growing and needs to scale with new staff resources or a more established association that has grown beyond the expertise of their current staff.
Amortizing the Cost of Industry Expertise
Providing complete association management services to six associations as well as managing projects for many more, allows our staff to develop, test and enhance many programs and services to the benefit of all of our clients. Our staff is also learning from our clients and we use that learning to benefit other clients.
When our staff attend meetings of the Canadian Society of Association Executives, American Society of Association Executives, and the AMC Institute we are connecting with our peers and learning best practices from them.
Being connected to our colleagues both in traditional stand-alone associations and with other AMCs is a tremendous resource for our clients. Having been an active volunteer with the AMC Institute for almost a decade and currently as a board member I am constantly connected with my peers around the globe to learn new ideas to benefit all of our clients – something that is often out of reach of the budgets of our individual client associations.
Growing in Size Without Growing in Payroll
Scalability is the second advantage that AMCs bring to associations. As associations grow and evolve staffing needs change and not every program or service requires full time staff. AMCs offer the advantage of having the staff with the most appropriate expertise, manage each program or service area, for only the time required.
So a new program requiring 200 hours of staff time can be added easily without the overhead cost of recruiting, interviewing, and employing a .1 FTE and all of the associated costs
Association management companies aren’t the right fit for every association but in times of growth, downsizing, or temporary interruption they can offer a critical resource to ensure that your association survives and thrives.
These blog entries are provided for informational purposes only. They constitute general information about event and association management and do constitute legal, tax, accounting, or other professional advice and should not be relied on as such.