Earlier this year Constance Wrigley-Thomas, CAE and Serge Micheli, CAE CMP, authored an article in the CSAE Trillium Chapter Forum about the emergence of AMCs in Canada. Read it here.
• Allows association leaders to concentrate on policy issues instead of administrative tasks
• Provides an affordable, high degree of professionalism, management expertise and technology through the concept of shared resources
• Customizes staff activity to meet association needs
• Maintains continuity of business operation during changes in leadership and staff
• Provides cost-effective solutions to personnel, equipment, facilities, and budget considerations
Source: AMC Institute
When Association #4 retained the services of Essentient in 2007 it was experiencing cost overruns and year-end deficits. Within two years the association’s financial picture had brightened substantially. Financial reserves had grown by 75% and costs were in line as a result of savvy and effective fiscal management by Essentient staff.
Essentient is more than just an association management company.
Essentient also provides writing, creative and design services for member communications, event marketing and website development.
When Association #3 was faced with misleading advertising by competing energy companies as well as dwindling market share of their product Essentient designed a three month marketing campaign that engaged the members at the grass roots level and staged distribution of key messages through print, electronic and broadcast media. The campaign was delivered on time and on budget and the association was able to dispel some of the negative myths about their product.
These types of services set Essentient apart from its competition because they have the capabilities under one roof. In the past four years, Essentient has guided other marketing campaigns and project managed the creative design, branding, development and launch of four websites.
Since 2008, Essentient has helped Association #1 grow its membership by over 70%, despite one of the toughest financial markets in recent history. This association continues to grow with membership retention at around 90% and membership engagement at 84%.
From 2008 to 2012 they went from being 8th largest of 52 chapters to the 2nd largest. This was achieved through quality programming, creative marketing, effective communications and a well-defined value proposition. Volunteer leaders and Essentient staff work in partnership to identify new growth opportunities including a very successful mentorship program, and produce high end events such as their annual awards gala and case study competition. With over 1,000 members, the association is the envy of other North American chapters, award winning and is the premier association of its kind within its market area.
Association #2 has also experienced significant membership growth. Since becoming their AMC in early 2013, Essentient worked closely with the membership committee to shift their focus from recruitment to retention; and with the programming committee to align their program delivery with what the members want and need.
Between February 2013 and February 2014 membership had a net increase of nearly 20%, the first time the organization had seen sustainable membership growth in nearly 10 years. Essentient has also introduced systems and association best practices to the organization resulting in better structure and efficiency overall and less stressed volunteers.
AMCs offer a wide array of benefits and advantages, including:
Operational and Staffing Benefits:
- Customized staff and services
- Broad spectrum of expertise
- Day-to-day and ongoing staff management
- Improved staffing and resource allocation
- Proven best management practices and best-of-class resources and technologies
- Efficiencies derived from leveraging shared resources
- Improved buying power
- Reduced business risks
- Greater member satisfaction resulting from the professionalism and responsiveness of staff
- Freedom from daily operations that allows Boards to maintain their focus on mission and strategy
- Integration of innovative strategies and ideas
- Scalability to accommodate organization growth or contraction over time
Source: AMC Institute
According to the AMC Institute, association management companies, or AMCs, are for-profit businesses that manage associations to help them grow and prosper. They offer the expertise, staffing and resources that allow professional societies, trade groups, not-for-profits and philanthropic organizations to effectively manage day-to-day operations and advance their long-term goals. AMCs deliver high levels of expertise and accountability so that associations can continue to increase their value and relevance to members.
AMCs provide their clients with unparalleled flexibility, agility and financial advantages, which makes the AMC model a good alternative for managing many nonprofit organizations.
There are two primary models for working with AMCs:
Full Service (Essentient Association Management is a full service AMC): Delivery of turnkey management for all operating disciplines (ranging from membership, marketing and policy development to legal and risk management) and daily operations (including staffing, office space, equipment, contracts, technologies and member services).
Outsourced Services: Delivery of extra support in one or more areas of operations, including: membership services; strategic planning; meetings, conventions, expositions and trade shows; financial management and administration; legal counsel; education and certification; public relations and marketing; web communications and social media; public policy and lobbying; publications; research; and international services.