Marketing experts tell us that every company should have a two-minute ‘elevator pitch’ to explain what they do and why. I find that explaining what the concept of an Association Management Company (AMC) is in that short of a time frame is a difficult thing to do. Heck, I’ve been in this business for over 20 years, and I still don’t think that half of my friends or family really know what I do. “So, you do event planning, right” they say. Well, yes that’s right – but so much more too. Let’s see if I can explain what an AMC does, in the space of this blog.
What Do Association Management Companies Offer?
In simple terms, an AMC is a company that provides management, consulting and/or event planning services to not-for-profit associations or charities. AMC’s will contract their services to multiple associations and are thereby able to offer cost savings through combined efficiencies. AMCs have come a long way since they first came into existence decades ago. In the early days, an AMC only handled membership, finances and general secretarial duties. Today, AMCs are far more versatile and can also provide strategic and consulting services in all areas of association operations. Some service areas include: marketing, communications and social media. AMCs also provide full event planning services and oversight of education, certification and training. They will also guide their clients on proper governance and will plan Board, Committee and Annual General meetings.
AMCs can offer full service, one-stop shopping for all of an association’s day to day needs or they can be contracted for only specific outsourced services such as event planning. In a full-service scenario, the AMC staff become the face of the organization from Administrative to the Executive level. They are experts in association operations and management and will learn about the industries they serve. This specialization helps lead the association toward success.
Why Hire an AMC?
So why would an association hire an AMC? To be honest, a small grassroots level association would probably not outsource these services as the cost would be high compared to the budget of that type of association. Similarly, a really large association may have likely grown past the point of any real combined savings. That often leaves the mid-sized association as the best fit for the AMC model. Hiring an AMC allows the Board and volunteers in an association to focus on the goals of the organization, on networking with members and making all-important connections with stakeholders. The AMC handles the day-to-day operations necessary to keep the association running smoothly while also providing consulting and strategic guidance.
Cost Savings Through an AMC
An AMC offers substantial savings to an association in that they can offer shared office space and staffing. Boards of Directors don’t need to worry about leases and overhead. Nor do they need to worry about hiring, training, staff benefits, vacation schedules, etc. Those are all covered by the AMC. AMCs also reduce costs through their purchasing power and strategic partnerships. Finally, AMCs carry a wide range of insurance coverage (property, cyber, E&O etc.) which may complement the associations’ own policies to add value and peace of mind.
In summary, AMCs offer the flexibility, support and expertise that make the model an increasingly attractive solution for many associations. If you have questions or feel that it may be time for your organization to consider this model, we are happy to chat!