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How an Association Management Company Can Help Your Association Grow

How an Association Management Company Can Help Your Association Grow

If you discovered a formula that would increase the likelihood that your nonprofit association, charitable foundation, or trade society would grow, would you implement it? Of course, you would. You would at least give it some serious thought, probably. It might surprise you to learn that the AMC Institute commissioned a study that found that “On average, AMC-managed associations experience more than three times the growth in net assets and 31 percent more growth in net revenue regardless of size and tax status than those that do not use AMCs.” In short, hiring an Association Management Company (AMC) can be good for your bottom line. “Whoa,” you might be saying to yourself. What is an AMC anyway?

What is an Association Management Firm?

It is no secret that Association Management Companies grew up to serve an industry of associations looking to pool resources and benefit from economies of scale. An Association Management Firm provides an integrated headquarters and staff on behalf of an association. Often, an AMC will serve as headquarters for several organizations where all of the associations benefit from sharing overhead and a professional staff who conduct the day-to-day business for the organization. Alternately, associations can choose to simply outsource certain functions of their office, such as meeting administration, to an Association Management firm to fill in gaps without bringing on new staff.

An AMC can do it all which is called full-service association management or just the parts that are needed–strategic planning, membership development and administration, marketing and communications, education and programming, meetings and special events, executive administration, technology and website development, accounting and financial planning. An AMC can be short-term or long-term partner depending on your specific needs.

Benefits of Outsourcing Your Association’s Management

Continuity – Instead of the responsibilities of managing staff and dealing with the human resources issues that come with it, an AMC can provide continuity for an organization, especially during times of leadership turnover and change. This puts the AMC in charge of hiring rather than saddling a volunteer board with recruiting and training new staff over and over. In addition, an AMC will document the functional areas they manage so you will be able to keep the institutional knowledge of how your organization operates for the long-term. All the files, history, and staff reside in one place.

Top-Quality Expertise for Less – When associations pool their resources together, they share overhead and expert staff. This means that if they need an accountant to prepare the financial reports, they only pay for the hours they need that person’s help. This goes for all of the functional areas that Association Management Companies can administer on behalf of an association – such as their membership recruitment, developing their annual conference, creating a distance education series, or preparing a newsletter to go out to the membership and more.

Latest Technology – Now more than ever consumers’ expectations and demand for websites, social media, and other technology to receive the information and services they need are higher than ever. Technology can also help automate some of the backend functions of a society too. The reality is that most Associations may not have the funds to invest in the technology and equipment they need. Luckily, by partnering with an AMC, even the smallest associations can enjoy greater access to technology and the expertise to implement it at a lower cost point than if they purchased it separately.

Best Practices – Stay abreast of the latest best practices for administering associations by letting an AMC advise you about the best practices for operating your trade association or professional society. It’s an additional benefit that AMCs will leverage what they learn from all of their clients to better help you with your association. If one marketing campaign netted increased sponsorship revenue for one client, you can bet that they will be looking hard at that strategy to benefit your association, too.

Buying Power – It goes without saying that partnering with an AMC can make it easier to leverage a larger organization’s buying power with outside vendors. For example, if you need a conference program and several other association clients need printed materials, purchasing in bulk will make it more likely for quantity discounts.

All in all, partnering with an AMC can free up volunteer board members to focus on the strategy and direction to keep their association, professional society, or charitable foundation on the road to growth and vitality.

Need an Association Management Company as a Partner?

Are you looking for a trusted partner to help you with one part of or all of your association’s management? Contact Ascent Management, a full-service AMC that would be happy to listen to your association’s unique needs and partner with you to come up with solutions that will benefit your organization for the long run.

5 Tips to Keep Your Association Ahead of the Curve This Year

While change is the biggest certainty in life, it doesn’t make it any easier. Add on newly elected leaders, economic worries, mobile devices constantly buzzing in our pockets and shortened news cycles can really stoke people’s fears and hopes about the future. Luckily, associations, trade societies, and charitable foundations have been advocating for their members and creating a community for some time. Their focus on the greater good is an excellent opportunity to get things started this year. Here are 5 tips to position your association for success now and for years to come.

Spread Positivity and Hope

No matter what industry you represent, sharing optimism and hope regularly will take you far. Whether you’re communicating to your membership via email, video, or giving an address at your group’ annual convention, temper reality with optimism. By showing your organization’s passion for helping your members in good and challenging times, you also show that you have each member’s success at heart.

Focus on Your Value

Associations came into being because people found it beneficial to band together for a common goal. Make sure your value proposition is crystal clear. Provide benefits and services that address your member’s biggest challenges, fears, and anxieties. Find out what your members can’t easily do themselves, such as salary surveys, benchmarking, training, research, and advocacy, and fill that gap.

Is your association a knowledge leader by setting best practices and offering certifications to identify proficiency and skills? Perhaps you fill education gaps by having multiple ways for your members to advance their career, volunteer, and connect with mentors. Training can be delivered in so many ways, including in-person at conferences and events, on-the-go with podcasts, live or on-demand webinars and video streaming to name a few. Think about what would help your membership be more successful as industries, technology, and economic conditions change. If you help them weather the changes, they’ll reward you with their loyalty.

Embrace Technology

Technology can help you automate processes, like membership renewals and welcome messages to new members, finances, reporting, and other operational tasks. It can also help you engage with members across wide geographic distances using social media, webinars, podcasts, online forums, video, live streaming and more. Don’t presume that your members can’t learn “new” tricks or get used to new processes. You might be surprised that they can with the right mix of help and communication.

Communicate with Purpose

Shore up and streamline your communications strategy across your organization. If your organization conducts an annual member survey, it’s the perfect time to assess all of your communication channels including social media. Keep in mind that members, who read emails, may miss your post on Facebook, so it pays to repeat messages in different formats. Can your e-newsletter be shortened and does it look good on a mobile device? Small tweaks can reap big rewards. Don’t forget your paper strategy. Despite what one might hear, there is still room for direct mail in certain circumstances. Consider how valuable a handwritten thank you note for volunteering on a committee might mean to that new member who is just getting started.

Diversify Your Membership

Depending on your membership mix, consider how you may diversity and include members of different ages. What newer graduates are interested in will undoubtedly differ from the leadership challenge that a more experienced professional may be looking for.  Think about how mentorship programs, volunteer opportunities, and networking events can help professionals get to know one another.

Steady progress and a commitment to your members’ success will take you a long way. Don’t get caught up in the chaos of the day-to-day, get to work delivering what your members most need day after day and the storm will pass. They always do.

We’re Committed to Your Success

Need a strategic, experienced partner on your side to help manage your Association? Look to the experts at Ascent Management, an association management company that provides full-service and outsourced solutions for associations of many sizes. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you automate operations and select strategies that will keep your organization thriving.