FAQS

What is the Association Acumen edge?

Association Acumen, LLC stands apart because we are dedicated to the mission of the associations we manage. Our clients’ mission is our mission, and our talented staff brings passion to our work. To gently guide our clients’ organizational evolution, we bring the six Es: energy, enthusiasm, expertise, efficiency, experience and an educated staff. We understand associations and we listen to our clients. We have the professional radar to assess and recommend what our clients need and the flexibility and the expertise to apply the appropriate advances to our clients’ day to day operations. Another strength is our size. We’re small enough to give personal attention to each of our clients and to serve as their best advocate. We’re also large enough to maintain the latest high-tech tools and sharpest skill sets so we can manage associations of any membership size.

What is an AMC?

AMCs (association management companies) are for-profit businesses that provide professional management and administrative services to associations. AMCs are owned and operated by experienced association executives. Associations are the clients, and they pay a fee to the AMC for the specific skills they need and amount of work required. AMCs have been in existence since 1890. They partner with organizations of any size, most typically with not-for-profit associations or foundations. Today, there are several hundred AMCs serving thousands of associations. The AMC provides a centralized office for multiple clients that serves as the client associations’ headquarters and staff. Typical services include meeting planning, administration/human resources, educational programming, board and committee coordination, financial management, strategic planning, membership services, marketing and public relations. An AMC offers a team containing specific talents. Because AMCs work for more than one association, they are in a position to offer more skills than the association could afford on its own.

Why choose an AMC?

ASAEAMCIIn a head-to-head comparison of the costs for staffing, occupancy and certain capital costs, a recent study showed AMC-managed organizations pay an average of one-third less for those resources than their standalone siblings. This comparative analysis was conducted by LoBue & Majdalany Management Group. The study reporting on standalone organizations was conducted by the American Society of Association Executives & The Center for Organizational Leadership (ASAE). The study reporting on AMC-managed organizations was conducted by the AMC Institute. Compared to standalones, organizations managed by an AMC:

  • Generated greater surpluses
  • Operated more efficiently
  • Exhibited lower operating risk
  • Enjoyed more diverse revenue profiles
  • Spent a higher percentage of revenue on meetings, trade shows, and educational activities.

In 2015, an Association Management Company Institute (AMCI) study of 167 associations showed that AMC’s deliver 317% more growth in net assets and 31% more growth in net revenue, as well as offering consistently higher income from products and services.

What does accreditation mean for an AMC’s clients?

When an AMC goes through the rigorous, voluntary scrutiny needed to achieve accreditation, it means that:

1 – The AMC wants to be a superior organization for its clients.
Achievement of AMC Institute Accreditation demonstrates an AMC’s commitment and ability to deliver consistent quality service.

2 – The AMC has proved it is a superior organization.
Accreditation demonstrates to existing and prospective clients that the AMC is able to deliver professional services at an extremely high standard, using best practices. An AMC accredited by the AMC Institute has invested significant time and money to meet or exceed the requirements, and clients can be assured they are working with a high-quality firm. Since accreditation needs to be renewed every four years, the ongoing commitment to quality is monitored. Fewer than 50 of the 500-plus AMCs worldwide – just 17 percent – have achieved the AMC accreditation. It’s a select group.

Why Do Smart Associations Turn to AMC’s?
Excerpted from ASAE’s Guide to Association Management Companies: Myths and Realities

Myth:

The AMC will make our association conform to their way of doing things.

Reality:

Whether a nonprofit organization’s staff is standalone or working in an AMC, the board is always in charge. Staff’s role is the same: to implement the board’s policies and strategic directions. The goal is to optimize leadership talents. Staff from an AMC often bring the value of working with other associations and experience to problem solving and are able to gently suggest “another organization conducts their electronic elections this way” or “ when the widget association went to a paperless meeting, these are some of the challenges they faced.”

Myth:

Our association’s members want their own staff.

Reality:

Members look to the leadership to select the best infrastructure for their organization and want services delivered in a professional and cost-effective manner, regardless of the staffing model. The majority of members will not realize that you are with an AMC rather than a standalone.

Myth:

Our association won’t be able to have a flexible staffing pattern.

Reality:

AMCs assign their professional and trained staff to specific clients, often in less than full-time assignments, to meet the optimal capacity and skill level need of their client organizations. Training and sharing of information is an integral part of what the AMC provides to its clients. If you need additional professional staff to ensure that your annual conference is a success, an AMC will be able to provide you with the short-term staff you need.

Myth:

Our association won’t be able to take advantage of new technologies.

Reality:

AMCs are constantly looking to provide services in the most cost-effective way, from telephones and internet services to computers and software. In fact, most AMCs have a staff person that specializes in looking at all of this. The costs and time commitments to do the analysis can place a burden on a standalone staff, but when shared among more than one association, they become more affordable. All of these expenses become more manageable when spread across each of AMC’s clients.

Myth:

Only small associations who are not yet able to hire their own staff use AMCs.

Reality:

Many medium and large associations with annual budgets in the $10 million range are with AMCs. Some have recently joined AMCs due to the current economic climate. By tapping into an AMC’s resources, they are able to do more with their management dollars. Volunteers would rather spend their time on moving their profession forward than looking at which computer system to buy for the office.

 

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