The AMC Advantage

Of all the staff and management options, why choose an association management company? What are the advantages for your organization? Three words: Expertise. Accountability. Value.

Broader range of resources and experience

Because of the variety of clients they serve, an AMC can offer a much wider range of resources and management experience than you are likely to find using volunteer-based management. The AMC has devoted time and energy to locating sources for supplies and services, so you don’t have to. Because they work with many projects, they can negotiate for discounts and premiums for you. The AMC has also developed a network of professionals in a variety of fields who can then bring their expertise to bear on the problems of your organization.

Dedicated account executive

Your organization will have the comfort and security of knowing you will have a dedicated person or team looking out for your organization’s best interests at all times. Using volunteers may be cheaper, but volunteers have jobs. families and other interests that can conflict at times with managing the organization. The AMC’s sole raison d’etre is to manage your organization, so you can be confident in knowing that your organization’s priorities are the AMC’s priorities, as well.

Relief from liability

No matter how well-meaning any volunteer may be, sometimes mistakes are made. As much of an organization’s business involves compliance with local, state and federal laws and ordinances, an innocent mistake can still be costly or even disastrous. If you choose an association management company, the AMC assumes the burden of human resource management and, among other things, ensures your organization remains in compliance with all federal, state and local laws.

A revved up board free at last

Once an AMC has taken charge of the myriad executive and management decisions that must be made in the course of running a nonprofit association, the board is freed to pursue the goals for which the organization was formed. Valuable time can be devoted to setting policy, refining organizational values, strategic thinking, visioning and standard setting.

With the AMC handling much or all of the executive, management and administrative activities, including newsletter production, database maintenance, finance administration, not to mention the daily grind of paperwork, phone calls and more paperwork, the board can resume the rigorous function that no other body can do as well: Planning and guiding the association’s future.

‘One-stop’ shopping

Even with a hundred willing and able volunteers, your organization will eventually need to seek out and hire specialists to perform some functions that are either too time-consuming or require special skills or equipment. You can spend hours and hours of valuable time interviewing these professionals and negotiating contracts, and still not be happy with the results.

The sensible alternative is to let your AMC handle it all. Either through existing staff of its network of resources, your AMC can make sure you have all the specialist expertise you need without wasting a minute of your time or a penny of your budget.

Cost effective staffing for business peaks and valleys

Any organization will have periods of relative inactivity interspersed with periods of intense activity. These productivity “spikes” require changes in staffing to handle the workload efficiently and cost effectively. Bringing in additional staff for peak times, then letting them go during slow periods can be expensive and disruptive for a stand-alone association, however.

An AMC, on the other hand, with its pool of human resources and outsourced professionals, will be able to quickly shift personnel to meet your needs as they arise, and without the time involved to get beyond the learning curve in training temporary help. All this means your association can do more, more effectively and without worrying about adequate staffing.

Cost savings on overhead

Your overhead costs will drop dramatically when you engage an AMC to handle your association. Research comparing operating ratios of nonprofit associations has found that the use of AMCs can shave as much as one-third off the operating costs of a “stand alone” association.

In addition, the AMC can provide the necessary phone lines, filing space, computers, copiers, fax machines and other equipment, usually at a fraction of the total you would pay as a stand alone organization, because of the power of volume buying. The AMC simply commands greater heft as a buyer, since it is buying on the behalf of several clients, then a single, smaller association would typically have. (For more information about associations’ operating ratios, refer to Operating Ration Report, ASAE Association Management Research Series 11th edition, published by the American Society of Association Executives.)

This power of volume buying also guarantees you savings on perishable office supplies such as paper, pens and paper clips.

Familiarity breeds know-how

When you call in an outside specialist for a particular project, you spend valuable time acquainting the specialist with not only the project at hand, but also with your organization’s overall goals, plans and style. It may take several tries before what you get matches what you had in mind. With an AMC, your account executive already knows the organization’s plans, purposes and individual style. All you have to do is lay out the project and go. Because your executive is already familiar with the organization, your chances of getting what you want the first time are great.

Accountability, continuity, dependability, and stability

Volunteers are often capable, dedicated and, most always, “free.” However, there are drawbacks. Everyone who has ever worked with an organization can tell horror stories of volunteers who didn’t come through, had a family catastrophe mid-project, or created some other disaster. A volunteer who quits mid-project must be replaced, and that volunteer must be brought up to speed. An experienced volunteer may be moved out of state by his or her employer. Any number of situations, conflicts or Acts of God can disrupt a volunteer-driven organization. Having an Association Management Company smoothes the disruptions and guarantees your organization stability and accountability in all areas, a guarantee you just can’t get from volunteers.

Staff commitment

You may wonder how an AMC can be as committed to your organization as staff might have been. Because the AMC’s success depends upon the success of the organization, the AMC has every reason to be looking out for your organization and its welfare. AMC’s are businesses, and no sensible, professional business owner wants to see a client fail.

Expertise for ALL stages of an association’s life
Associations go through life cycles, just like individuals. There’s the “New Organization” start-up stage; the “Acceleration” stage of rapid growth shortly after the organization is formed, then cycles of renewal and transition that continue throughout the existence of of the association.
An AMC knows these various stages very well and can offer the experience, knowledge, and resources to keep your association moving and growing through all the stages of your own organization. You won’t have to recruit a different set of volunteers for each transition or phase or find a specialist for each crisis.

With a good solid AMC at the helm, you may never need to deal with a crisis at all.