If you serve on the board or leadership staff of a nonprofit organization, you may have heard the term “Association Management Company” or “AMC.” You may have even had AMC’s recommended to you as a solution to an ongoing problem. But what exactly are these organizations, and what do they do?
Let’s shed some light on the subject by reviewing some basic questions about association management companies.
What Is an Association Management Company, Exactly?
An AMC is a for-profit organization that helps nonprofit organizations grow, succeed, and provide better service to their members. They do this by providing services, solutions, assets and expertise that are difficult or expensive for these organizations to perform or obtain themselves. These can range from providing staff to answer the association’s phone calls and mail, to providing the board of directors with crucial advice, to running all day-to-day operations. This allows the association to focus on their primary goals and other “big picture” concerns.
In other words, an AMC serves an association in any way that helps that association do better work and accomplish their mission. That may mean taking a load off their volunteers, saving them money, or handling their marketing and/or membership services.
As the word “association” implies, most of the organizations AMC’s work for are trade or professional associations, but they also work with thousands of other nonprofits.
How Do AMC’s and Associations Work Together?
Most associations choose one of two models when they work with an AMC.
The Full-Service Model involves the AMC essentially becoming the headquarters of the association, providing leadership, offices, staff, and conducting all day-to-day operations. This sort of turnkey relationship lets the members and board of directors focus on their mission, while everything from member services and risk management to event planning and fielding phone calls is handled by the AMC’s staff.
The Outsourced Services Model comes into play when an association prefers to call on an AMC when they have a need or have them handle one specific aspect of operations all the time. For example, an association may call on their AMC to plan their annual conference. Another may outsource all marketing to them year in and year out.
This model allows an association to rely on an AMC for almost any professional service, getting staff and resources when they need it.
What Are the Benefits of Working with an AMC?
There are too many to list! That said, here are some of the main benefits:
Increased Focus—Leaders and staff to spend their time and energy on their main mission and strategies, rather than day-to-day requirements.
Lower Overhead—Because an AMC will be providing common services for multiple associations, you will only pay part of the cost for expensive overhead items (such as office space and equipment) and will benefit from shared buying power and shared staff.
Greater Accountability—Tasks and information can slip through the cracks when a nonprofit is growing, especially in volunteer-led organizations. The staff of an AMC is paid to ensure every detail is properly handled, and they are accountable to you for it.
Reduced Risk—When your association’s business is being handled by expert professionals, risk is reduced, and the presence of the AMC (who have their own insurers and an interest in reducing their own risks) provides an additional layer of protection.
Necessary Expertise—Few nonprofits can truly afford to have experts in board governance, marketing, financials, websites and information technology, and a dozen other subjects on staff or on call. An AMC already has all these resources in place and can provide them as needed.
Could Your Association Benefit from Working with an AMC?
At V2, we’ve provided full service and outsourced services for national associations for many years and can deliver the resources and expertise that help you thrive. Get in touch with us today, and let’s see how we can improve your association together.