If you are part of an association as a board member or staff member, you may or may not have heard of an Association Management Company (AMC). If you are not familiar, an AMC is a business that assists professional societies, trade groups, not-for-profits and philanthropic organizations. They use their expertise to advise, extend an association’s capabilities and even take over much of the daily workload depending on each organization’s needs. Most AMCs can offer a range of assistance to associations from full-service outsourcing of the overall association management to an a la carte management of specific needed services.
AMCs are set up to deliver turnkey management for all operating disciplines within your organization. These can include handling recruitment, membership services, marketing, public relations, policy development and even providing legal advice and performing risk management studies. An AMC can also assume your daily operations and staffing, provide office and meeting space, handle contracts, set up needed technology and more.
If you are a small association that has no or minimal paid staff, an AMC can serve as your organization’s headquarters, managing your everyday communications and the day-to-day operations, supporting the membership, and being the public face of the organization. When your board and leadership are not available on a moment’s basis to respond to inquiries from potential members, the press or others, an AMC can take on these functions for you. This ensures that calls and emails get a timely response and that your association keeps moving and growing.
Even if you are a very large organization you could probably still benefit from the expertise that an AMC can offer in a variety of disciplines. You may have excellent staff and board members, but there will likely still be areas like recruitment, marketing, event management, technology, legal issues and others where your association could be stronger. This is where an AMC can prove invaluable.
What are some of the advantages of retaining an Association Management Company?
AMCs have staff who are experts in niche areas and usually have more experience in their given field than candidates that are not part of an AMC.
Amongst their board members and staff, most associations have an overabundance of expertise in a few areas, and then there are other areas in which they seem to be lacking. Maybe you have no one who is especially good at events management. Or you could really use a marketing wizard or someone who can help you navigate your website and technology needs.
An AMC is staffed with people who are experts in the critical areas of association management and operations that are essential for success. Since managing associations is all they do, they also have the benefit of gained experience working with a wide variety of groups. You may be contemplating a new recruitment campaign and bouncing around strategies and ideas. An AMC will have valuable insight from many years of working with organizations like yours and can save you time, money and headaches by advising as to the best steps you can take to ensure the success of your campaign, event, etc.
The cost of this experienced support is more affordable for associations because personnel costs are split across an AMC’s client base.
In today’s economy, keeping costs to a minimum and being as efficient as possible is more important than ever. Retaining an AMC may initially seem like an added expense for your association, but will actually save you money. How does this work?
An AMC can offer improved staff efficiency because you will no longer have to spend time frequently onboarding and retraining new staff. You also will no longer need to have underqualified staff or board members handling functions for which they are not suited. An AMC has the technology, procedures and dedicated staff to efficiently assume functions that are consuming too much of your organization’s time. You don’t need to hire a new staff member or seek out contractors to help you fulfill functions that are important but don’t require full-time attention, your AMC can handle all that for you as part of your customized menu of contracted services.
AMCs provide organizations with economies of scale through shared office space, equipment and supply costs.
Not every association has or needs its own dedicated office space. But there will be times when you could use a meeting room, a copier, various supplies and so on. Using an AMC leads to reduced overhead costs by offering shared, as-needed office and meeting space, shared employees, consulting and expert support and the most current technology.
An AMC can also help get you better prices on goods and services that you use due to the combined buying power they wield from representing many organizations.
How an AMC Can Complement Your Organization
If you are unconvinced that an Association Management Company would benefit your organization, consider a few of the functions that could be handled by an AMC, and imagine how outsourcing these functions could free up you, your staff and board to focus on the bigger picture:
- Clerical Support
- Sponsorship Program Growth and Development
- Board and Committee Meetings and Support
- Membership Services and Database Management
- Certification, Accreditation and Continuing Education
- Membership Growth and Retention
- Financial and Accounting Support
- Events, Conferences, Conventions and Trade Shows
- IT Support and Technology Solutions
- Website Development and Maintenance
- Search Engine Optimization
- Marketing and Public Relations
These are just a few ideas. If you contact an AMC to discuss the unique needs of your trade group, society or not-for-profit, you will likely discover many other ways that an Association Management Company can help you lighten your load and advance your mission.
Visit the AMC Institute to learn about even more benefits of hiring an AMC.