Essentient is hiring

Essentient Association Management is seeking an Associate Executive Director.

Essentient Association Management & Events (Essentient A.M.C. Inc.) was launched in January 2005 to assist volunteer directed associations in meeting their objectives by providing strategic leadership, administrative support and freeing up associations’ otherwise valuable resources to concentrate on tasks fundamental to their organization’s mission.

Based in Burlington, Ontario, Essentient is a full service AMC and event company that provides strategic and operational support to not-for-profit enterprises regionally, provincially, nationally and internationally. As a founding member of the AMC Institute Canadian Chapter, Essentient is a leader in the AMC space.

Associate Executive Director Responsibilities

Please Note:

  • We will only accept applications from qualified/experienced association managers.
  • This is not a virtual position. To qualify you must be able to work out of the Essentient office.

Serve as an Associate Executive Director for one of Essentient’s clients. This position will eventually become the primary point of contact for the assigned client and their leadership. You will work with other Essentient Association Management team members, including staff and contractors, to fulfill position responsibilities with our other association clients.

Within the Scope of Services defined for each client, the Associate Executive Director provides services to support client associations in the areas of:

Leadership (Governance, Board and Committee Support)

  • Provide professional counsel to client Board of Directors.
  • Attend all board meetings.
  • Contribute to the formulation of client policies, programs and procedures.
  • Implement board decisions.
  • Balance the clients’ programs and services with their mission statement and strategic plan.
  • Help clients set realistic goals, strategies and tactics.
  • Take the initiative to help clients implement strategies and tactics and achieve their goals.
  • Manage projects to ensure targets, deadlines and financial goals are met.
  • Report to respective Boards on a regular basis.
  • Work with support staff as appropriate on execution of responsibilities.
  • Keep Clients’ Presidents or designated contacts fully informed of matters affecting the association.
  • Provide committee support.
  • Take a proactive role in providing leadership support and actively participate in clients’ meetings.

Meetings

  • Working with our event planner, help to plan and manage logistics of some meetings and events. This may include RFPs, venue selection, contract negotiations, food and beverage, A/V, planning and marketing timelines, working with committee on program/speakers and coordination of marketing materials and communications.
  • Assist with the development and management of event budgets.
  • Work with staff to insure all meeting details are successfully handled.
  • Drive and monitor event marketing including sponsorship/exhibit sales.
  • Travel onsite to events as needed to manage event operations.
  • Work with support staff on online meeting registration.

Membership

  • Assist clients with developing strategies and tactics to sustain and grow membership.
  • Share latest best practices on membership with board/committees.
  • Work with support staff in developing and disseminating membership surveys as requested by client.
  • Implement membership campaigns as requested by client.

Finances

  • Assist clients with budget development and maintaining adherence to the budget.
  • Regularly monitor clients’ financial positions; send monthly financial reports to Clients’ Presidents and Treasurers accompanied by an executive summary.
  • Work with Essentient Association Management’s staff accountant to fulfill financial responsibilities requested by the clients including presenting and explaining financial statements as needed.

Communications & Publications

  • Work with communications staff to create clients’ marketing collateral.
  • Work with communications staff in sending broadcast e-mails.
  • Work with communications staff in ensuring clients’ web sites are kept up to date.

Other

  • Balance and allocate resources to meet client and Essentient Association Management objectives.
  • Maintain effective working relationships with officers, members, client staff, vendors and other parties associated with meeting the clients’ needs.
  • Understand, anticipate, and interpret the client’s needs, goals and plans.
  • Provide strong leadership to the client: set objectives, plan strategy, develop budgets, plan and execute actions, and report and interpret results. Overall responsibility is to optimize the client’s satisfaction.
  • Plan and prioritize all of the sub-activities related to the above points with the goal of achieving agreed business aims.
  • Attend and present at client meetings and functions, plus internal meetings; observe and report in both directions to ensure clarity and understanding is achieved and all client business activities function smoothly.
  • Orchestrate the cross-functional business flow integrating Essentient’s administrative, finance and communications staff with the client’s team.
  • Communicate, liaise, and negotiate internally and externally ensuring all participants understand tasks and timelines and be accountable, as the manager, for the results.
  • Effectively manage files and materials, personal time and productivity.
  • Effectively use Essentient’s technical resources and available client resources to gather required information or communicate internally and externally.
  • Plan, produce and deliver professional meeting packages, reports and presentations for the client.
  • Respond to and follow up internal and external enquiries using appropriate and timely methods.
  • Attend training to develop relevant knowledge, techniques and skills.
  • Travel as required to clients’ board and other meetings which may include overnights and occasional night/weekend work.

Requirements

  • University degree or college diploma in general arts or business.
  • 5 plus years working in association management. A CAE designation, while not mandatory, is desired.
  • Tech-savvy with the ability to quickly learn new applications. (Essentient currently works in a PC environment and utilizes the most up to date programs.)
  • Ability to communicate in both official languages, while not mandatory, will be an advantage.
  • A very positive, professional and flexible demeanor is required.
  • Must be a strategic thinker with the ability to anticipate the needs of the clients; to learn quickly, organize details with minimal supervision; and prioritize multiple tasks in a fast-paced, changing environment.
  • Must maintain confidentiality.
  • Strong customer service focus and the ability to work collaboratively.
  • Excellent spelling, grammar, and editing skills.
  • Fanatical attention to detail, accuracy, and deadlines.

To apply, please send your resume with cover letter and salary expectations to info@essentient.ca by Friday, June 8, 2018

Essentient Association Management
Constance Wrigley-Thomas, CAE
Owner/CEO
1-877-331-9668
http://www.essentient.ca

C-Says / D-Says – Jan 23, 2018

Ask me no questions; I’ll tell you no lies

D-SAYS

After more than seven months, I’m still the ‘new guy’ around the offices of Essentient Association Management. So it should come as no surprise that when I get asked a difficult question, I sometimes have to go to a higher authority for the answer.

I consider myself to be a pretty smart guy, so I do my best to figure as much out on my own as I can. Or, depending on how I’m feeling, I just go on instinct, hold my breath, and hope nothing awful happens.

Since taking the position of ‘new guy’, I’ve been asked a couple specific questions dozens of times and no matter how many times I hear them, they always manage to cause me some consternation.

What is an AMC and what the Hell does Essentient mean?

It doesn’t help that these are questions are most often by friends and family. Try as I might, it’s hard to pull the wool over the eyes of those who know me best.

But for those who don’t have the pleasure (or misfortune) of knowing me well, I’ve come up with a pretty awesome B.S. answer for the former. I simply tell them I’m the VP of Business Development for AMC. “You know, the television network responsible for The Walking Dead? Yep, that’s me!” And then I run away before they have a chance to ask any incriminating follow-up questions like whether or not I’ve had lunch with Norman Reedus.

I’m not saying it works often. Actually, it’s never worked. Not once. Ever. But it’s a heck of a lot less painful than trying to explain what an Association Management Company is because that almost always involves having to explain what an association is. When it gets to that point, that’s when I wish I had of chosen to become a teacher, or a lobster fisherman, or an organ grinder. At least when you tell people you’re one of those things, they don’t stare at you blankly for the next five minutes.

As for that other question, let’s just say I haven’t figured out my go-to answer yet. Come to think of it, I don’t even know what the actual answer to that question is.

Gonna have to see what Constance says about that one …

 

C-SAYS

Way to put me on the spot ‘new guy!’ But I wholeheartedly agree with you, it’s not easy trying to explain what we do for a living to folks who may not even know understand the association sector.

But allow me first to explain the origins of Essentient, a word that will not be found in any dictionary or book of baby names.

Essentient is an amalgam of two words – essential and sentient.

Essential is an adjective denoting something that is absolutely necessary or extremely important. It defines the nature of what we know and are capable of doing. Our staff perform the necessary and important tasks, projects, events, etc. that help our association clients thrive and grow. I also like to think that we are essential to the volunteer/staff team.

Sentient is an adjective that means able “able to perceive or feel things.” Because of our deep commitment to our clients, their members and stakeholder and because we are also volunteers during our off hours, we feel what associations experience as stewards of their community or sector.

So schmoosh those two words together and you’ve got ESSENTIENT, the name of the company that I founded in 2005.

Now as to that “What is an AMC?” question, I often find myself explaining my life’s work to glassy-eyed inquirers who were only being polite in the asking.

We are a full-service, associations-first AMC and a founding member of the AMC Institute Canadian Chapter. Therefore, it makes sense that I quote the AMC Institute’s definition rather than make up one of my own.

According to them “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.”

Essentient is that and so much more!

But perhaps that is another C-Says/D-Says topic for another day.

 

C-Says/D-Says is a regular blog column created and written by Constance Wrigley-Thomas and Doug Duke of Essentient Association Management, Burlington, ON.

One of Essentient’s own awarded CSAE Trillium scholarship

Burlington, ON (May 4, 2017)   Recipients have been revealed for the Trillium Gives Back (TGB) scholarship program and one of our own has been named among the list of award winners. Brynne Wrigley, Association Manager at Essentient was part of a select group of executive and business chapter members to be given news last month.

The TGB scholarship was designed as an opportunity for the Trillium Chapter of the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) to provide recognition and financial support to members of the chapter who are highly engaged and who exhibit leadership as well as motivational and inspirational qualities that exemplify the best of those working in the association sector.

Brynne Wrigley has recently been named a recipient of a Trillium Gives Back scholarship

“Brynne has quickly become an integral part of the Essentient team and has proven herself to be a very thoughtful and creative association professional,” said Constance Wrigley-Thomas CAE and CEO of Essentient Association Management. “Her value to our clients and to the work we do on their behalf cannot be understated. Using the TGB scholarship funds to further her professional development will only serve to increase that value as well as increase her confidence and capabilities as an association professional.”

Before joining the staff at Essentient in late 2015, Ms. Wrigley worked for over four years at the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), first as Membership Services Specialist and then as Education Coordinator. Her previous work experience also includes managerial positions with two high-profile Canadian retailers.

In the spirit of the scholarship, Ms. Wrigley is a firm believer in giving back to the community and has dedicated time over the last three years as a volunteer with the Canadian Mental Health Assocation (CMHA). In 2016, she became a volunteer coordinator and active committee member for the CMHA Halton Region’s annual Ride Don’t Hide event which raises critical funds as well as awareness in an effort to help break the stigma surrounding issues of mental health.

An avid cyclist herself, Ms. Wrigley can often be found on local trails and bike lanes. She has recently moved into a loft apartment where she shares space with a cat named Bunny.

Congratulations Brynne!

Essentient welcomes Doug Duke as new VP, Business Development

Doug Duke has joined the Essentient team as Vice President, Business Development

Toronto, ON (May 1, 2017) – In the midst of a busy spring season, Essentient Association Management has significantly increased its bench strength with the addition of Doug Duke to its roster of association professionals. Today, the Burlington-based company announced Mr. Duke as its new Vice President, Business Development effective immediately.

An alumnus of the journalism program at Humber College, Mr. Duke began his career in the field of communications and print media before entering the world of association management in 2004. Since that time, he has worked as Executive Officer of the Hamilton-Halton Home Builders’ Association and as Executive Director of both the Ontario Hot Mix Producers Association and the Toronto and Area Road Builders Association. Mr. Duke has also served as chair of the Executive Officers’ Council of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and has been active on various boards and committees including the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario, the Council of Ontario Construction Associations, the Ontario Construction Careers Alliance, and Aggregate Recycling Ontario.

“We are thrilled to have Doug join our dedicated team of association managers and support staff,” said Constance Wrigley-Thomas, CAE and CEO of Essentient Association Management. “Ours is a relatively small, but highly respected AMC. With his many years of association and not-for-profit experience however, Essentient is poised for some exciting future growth and an enhancement of its full-service offerings to our existing clients. I am extremely happy to have Doug join the Essentient family.”

In the role of Vice President, Business Development, Mr. Duke will oversee some of Essentient’s existing clients including the Canadian Chapter of CoreNet Global and the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology. He will also lend valuable support to other significant clients like the Greater Toronto Chapter of NAIOP, an association which represents the interests of developers, owners and related professionals in the area of office, industrial, retail and mixed-use real estate.

A native of the City of Hamilton, Mr. Duke recently relocated to Burlington. Apart from spending time with his 12-year-old daughter Rebecca, he enjoys cycling, indoor and beach volleyball, and the occasional round of golf. A staunch proponent of community engagement, Mr. Duke is looking forward to giving some of his spare time and energy as a volunteer to local causes and not-for-profit organizations, including those promoting the welfare of pets and wildlife.

Mr. Duke can be reached by phone at Essentient’s Burlington offices at 905-315-3166 (ext. 2373) and toll-free at 1-877-331-9668. He can be contacted electronically at doug@essentient.ca.

Essentient Association Management is a full-service AMC and event company that provides strategic and operational support to not-for-profit enterprises regionally, provincially, nationally and internationally.

Essentient’s Courtney Thack Recognized With CSAE Award

Toronto, Ontario – October 27, 2016

3d96c3aEssentient Association Management is pleased to announce that Courtney Thack, Association Manager, was honoured by the Canadian Society of Association Executives with the prestigious Donna Mary Shaw Award. This award was presented at the CSAE Annual Conference held in Toronto.

The Donna Mary Shaw Award assists young professionals wishing to pursue careers in the not-for-profit sector.

A graduate of Sheridan College (in Advertising) Courtney began her not-for-profit career with the Ontario Community Newspaper Association in 2009. Prior to beginning her employment with Essentient in 2012, Courtney had spent several months in South Africa working with underprivileged children.

Because Essentient is a relatively small (but full service) AMC, in working with all of our clients Courtney has been able to gain a wide range of experience in a number of areas as well as hone her skills in membership development, governance and event management. Courtney has a particular affinity for event and volunteer management and is committed to expanding her knowledge of governance and association best practices.

In her current capacity Courtney provides oversight and expertise to the 85 events that Essentient
manages annually and in 2015 was named one of 20 Millennials to Watch by Meetings and Conventions Magazine.

Courtney has the potential to become an association leader and driver in the AMC space because of her exceptional organizational capabilities, razor sharp critical thinking and her insatiable desire to learn, grow and make a difference.

Essentient Association Magazine congratulates Courtney Thack for being recognized by the Canadian Society of Association Executives.

The Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) is Canada’s premiere association advocate. It provides tools, resources, and education to help association professionals and volunteers succeed. From this success, Canadian associations will continue to grow and excel in pursuit of their goals.

Essentient Association Management is a full service AMC and event company that provides strategic and operational support to not-for-profit enterprises regionally, provincially, nationally and internationally.

Constance Wrigley-Thomas, CAE Inducted Into M+IT Hall of Fame

14055093_10157258246070317_2228802781220247145_nToronto, Ontario – On August 16, 2016 Meetings + Incentive Travel (M+IT) announced its 2016 Hall of Fame inductees in a special, live presentation at IncentiveWorks 2016, Canada’s leading meeting, events and incentive travel trade show and conference.

It was announced that Constance Wrigley-Thomas, CAE, Owner and CEO of Essentient Association Management was an honouree in the Industry Mentor category. This is the first time in the Hall of Fame’s history that a Certified Association Executive (CAE) has been inducted.

“We are delighted to welcome this year’s inductees into the Hall of Fame family,” says Robin Paisley, managing director, M+IT and IncentiveWorks. “Each of them has made, and continues to make, a significant contribution to the meetings and incentive travel industry. They are truly inspiring.”

Reflecting upon her award Ms. Wrigley-Thomas noted “Mentoring is important because it creates continuity and connectivity between the generations. The lessons that I have learned during my career may help someone cut through the clutter of decision-making to arrive at a solution. In addition to sharing my experiences of ‘what to do’, I am equally, if not more happy, to share ‘what not to do.’ As a mentor I can provide the “hand up” that a mentee may need to realize their potential as an employee, volunteer and perhaps, as a future mentor. ”

She went on to say “I have observed from my role as a member of 5 industry associations, as a volunteer with 2 and as an AMC of multiple associations, that mentorship programs are not just needed, they are expected by members at both ends of the generational spectrum.

Constance Wrigley-Thomas is also the recipient of CSAE Trillium Chapter’s 2009 President’s Award  and was recognized by NAIOP – Commercial Real  Estate Association, for Outstanding Contributions by a Chapter Executive in 2011. She sits on the Board of Directors for CSAE Trillium Chapter and is also the co-founder and Secretary/Treasurer of the AMC Institute Canadian Chapter.

M+IT is the owner of Canada’s premier events, meetings and incentive travel industry magazine and website as well as IncentiveWorks. It launched its Hall of Fame in 2009 to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves in the Canadian meetings and incentive travel industry.

Essentient Association Management & Events is a Canadian full service association and events management company. They are a leader and innovator in the association management company (AMC) space.

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Selecting an Association Management Company

The article below was prepared by the Canadian Society of Association Executives.

It provides a step by step narrative on what to look for when sourcing and selecting an association management company.

Selecting an Association Management Company
By Bob Hamp

While most associations hire their own staff and manage their own assets, many smaller associations and chapter affiliates retain an association management company (AMC) to reduce costs, promote efficiencies, share resources, access expertise and reduce volunteer commitments to administrative matters.

Prepare the Request For Proposal (RFP)

A selection committee that develops the RFP, evaluates proposals, conducts interviews and recommends candidates to the Board normally manages this first step. The committee typically includes both members who understand the organization’s history and past needs, and newer members who have a longer-term investment in its future.

Where do you begin to develop your RFP? What do you want to know about the companies you are evaluating? What will the companies want to know about your association and the services they will be asked to provide? You’ll find help with these and other questions in CSAE’s “Resources Library.”

Generally speaking, prospective AMCs will be better positioned to develop a meaningful proposal if the following information is made available to them:

Bylaws
Board and committee personnel
Previous meetings’ minutes and resolutions
Policy manuals
Number and location of Board and Committee meetings
Audited financial statements
Current budget, policies and procedures
Cash assets
Membership growth and retention trends
Dues structure
Marketing programs
Affinity programs (if any)
Meetings and conventions (number, location, number of exhibitors, booths, revenue and expense profiles, contracts with hotels and other entities, etc.)
Educational needs
Expense reimbursement policy
Newsletters published each year, including their circulation and any advertising that may be associated with them
After supplying this information, what do association representatives need to know about the AMC? Here are some suggestions to look for in a prospective AMC’s capability résumé:

Philosophy or mission of the AMC
Résumés for the principal(s) and summaries for support staff
Services provided
History of business and main area(s) of focus
Geographic range of operations (international, national, provincial, regional, local)
Typical client list
Areas of expertise (full-service, meeting and events planning, publications, research, marketing, affinity programs, data management, financial management, etc.)
Computer systems and software
Data membership management programs
Finance and accounting software
E-mail domain and ability to administer websites
Location of organization
Commitment to continuing education (membership and participation in CSAE).
 

Weighing the AMC Proposals

AMCs have differing management styles and price points, often making it difficult to compare proposals from several companies. The most important step in analyzing management company proposals is to look at your organization. Are you large or small? Growing or in need of a turnaround? What are the priorities in terms of programs—education; trade shows, publications, membership development or financial services, or some combination? While everything may seem equally important, the purpose of this analysis is to clearly define the most pressing current and future needs to make the best choice among good proposals.

Once you’ve taken a critical look at your organization, it’s time to turn the same critical eye to the AMCs’ proposals. There is no right or wrong answer, but there may be a best answer for your organization. One company is unlikely to be strong in all categories; look for the one that best matches your overall needs.

Creating a rating form can help you focus and clarify the analysis. Here are some general qualities your selection committee should look for when evaluating proposals and interviews with AMCs.

Stability.
A contract between an association and its AMC represents an investment of time and money on both sides. Does the AMC appear stable and able to meet its commitments? Does it have the human and financial resources to take on another client (that is, you)? 
 

Flexibility.
Can the AMC serve your current and future needs? Selecting an AMC is a long-term commitment and transitions are costly. So the AMC you select should be able to grow with your organization and assume additional responsibilities. Although some turnover is inevitable, it involves direct costs and indirect costs, such as those resulting from loss of institutional continuity, memory, and identity. 
 

Location.
Is the company’s location accessible to your organization? 
 

Other Clients.
Do any of the AMC’s current clients present a potential for conflict of interest with your organization? Is the number of other clients suitable to the size and resources of the company? Can it continue to handle its other clients’ needs and those of your organization, or does it plan on adding staff and resources? If so, how will new staff be allocated among current clients and your organization? How will your organization compare in size, in fee, and in needs to the other clients? Will your organization be important to the management company or will it be a minor client among much larger organizations? 
 

Look for a Good Fit.
While larger AMCs may have more resources than smaller ones, how will they allocate those resources to a smaller client? On the other hand, while a large association will be very important to a small management company, how will the company be able to accommodate the needs of a large client? 
 

Office Facilities.
If your organization will meet at the AMC’s office, does it have adequate meeting facilities? There are many home-based AMCs: this may help save you money on overhead fees. The question is whether such an arrangement will work for you. 
 

Equipment.
Does the AMC have adequate equipment and will it stay current with changing technology? How will the AMC’s technology help you achieve your objectives? 
 

Experience.
What is the experience of the individuals assigned to you? Is their experience well matched to your needs? How will the AMC assign staff to your organization and how much internal turnover can be expected? 
 

Cost.
AMC service fees range from full-service, which includes all aspects of overhead, salaries, benefits, equipment, and supplies, to a retainer-plus arrangement, where the client pays for all services, use of facilities and equipment, and supplies as required. To some degree, all pricing plans must include an overhead component (occupancy, equipment, and supplies), a staffing component (salaries, benefits, recruiting, and training), and a reasonable profit. 

Like all service businesses, AMCs sell time. Individual worker fees may be separated or packaged in an hourly rate or flat fee. The cost of time may or may not be clear. One thing is certain—it will be difficult to compare fee proposals. Make sure you understand the proposal and know what is included and what is not.

Remember also, that the better the AMC performs the more likely it is your organization will ask it to do more. You need to budget for all the costs, and these may not be included in the proposed fee. Ask what is and is not included. Determine what procedures, controls, and/or limitations exist to help you and the AMC plan for the cost of services.

 
Terms.
The proposal may or may not include all the terms of a possible contract. Will the contract be for a single year or for multiple years? If multiple, are there provisions for increased fees and services after the first year? What protections exist in the contract for each side? What provisions are made for termination? 

 

Services.
Look carefully at the description of individual services. If you asked the AMC to administer meetings, what exactly does that include and at what cost? Will the AMC take the minutes and circulate them? The exact description of the services to be provided can vary and affect cost significantly. As you consider the services to be provided, ask to see examples of the AMC’s work. What level of service is the AMC proposing and what has it done before? What is the quality of its work? 
 

Quality of Presentation.
Is it well written and error-free? Is it glossy boilerplate or customized? Is it a combination of the two? 

 
References.
Always difficult. It stands to reason that prospective AMCs will provide the names of individuals they expect will give them the best possible references. Current clients may provide valuable information provided you have some open-ended questions. What is XYZ’s greatest contribution to your organization? Can you describe a time when you were disappointed in their performance? What did they do to fix the problem? Do you feel you get good value for your dollars? Why? 

 

Interviewing a Prospective AMC
 

Choosing an AMC to manage all or part of your affairs demands that both partners get to know each other in an atmosphere of candour, respect, and comfort that will set the tone for a dignified, “No thank you, I don’t think this is the right fit,” or “Let’s go forward.”

Prepare questions to ask each AMC presenting. Assign each member of the selection committee a particular area of the proposal to address. Assess the different responses that each company gives to the same question. Explain your decision process to each presenting AMC and advise them of the final determination date. If you expect to conduct further negotiations, state when you expect those negotiations to take place.

 

Sample Questions to Ask an AMC
 

How does your philosophy compare with our association’s?
What are the geographic scope, budget size, and membership traits of current clients?
Are any of your existing clients potential competitors of our association?
What is the range of services and capabilities provided by your employees? Do you outsource any management functions, such as data management, meeting planning, financial record keeping, publishing, or mailing services? If so, how are the agreements with vendors handled?
What resources and equipment do you have to support client needs? Do you have the capacity to serve our organization?
What software programs (such as accounting and membership database) do you use?
Do you have system back-up and how will we access our data? Do you have a disaster plan prepared?
What reports can we expect? In what format will they be presented? How frequently?
Do you provide full-service management, stand-alone functions, or both?
May our volunteers provide some services, and contract with you for others? If so, would you prefer these come through a single, pre-authorized volunteer?
Who would be assigned to our account? What is their background and experience? Who do they report to?
Would we have our own dedicated consultant or be assigned a team that performs a range of functions?
Will we have access to the owner or principal, and if so, on what basis?
What are the strengths of your AMC, and what kinds of clients do you serve most successfully?
Have there been any recent changes in ownership or leadership? Are there any plans for merger, consolidation, or buyout, and if so, what succession plan is in place for a smooth transition?
Is there a conference room or other meeting space at your office? Where do your clients typically meet?
Do you have storage capacity? How will our documents be archived?
What measures do you take to train your employees? What does staff do to keep current professionally? What professional organizations do they belong to?
Do you have the ability to design and maintain a website?
How do you set your fees? Retainer? Time/hourly based? By project?
What about contract terms, evaluation, renewal, and cancellation?
Following the interview process, the committee usually recommends a firm for Board approval.

 

AMC Contracts
 

A written contract defines mutual obligations and expectations and provides a structure for the relationship. A standard contract or a drawn contract may suit differing needs. A standard client service agreement might include the service relationship, compensation, and termination. Contract documents may range from simple letters of agreement to those describing every detail of the relationship between the organizations. Letters of agreement, which generally contain the standard elements—offer, acceptance, and consideration—have the legal force of a contract and normally cover broad areas of agreement in general terms. A detailed contract may cover such specifics as number of meetings, number of newsletters published, etc. Most contracts between AMCs and association clients cover these basic issues:

Preserving the client’s rights
Determining the management fee or method of compensation
Listing services to be provided
Defining the duration of the agreement
Setting out the method for terminating the agreement
Stating the client’s obligations to the management firm
Bank accounts shall be solely in the name of the client, not joint with the AMC.
The client is responsible for expenses incurred by the AMC on the client’s behalf.
Annual audit (or review) will be conducted at the association’s expense.
The AMC has authority (or not) to negotiate and enter into agreements on behalf of the client (such as hotel agreements).
The AMC will receive fees or compensation for its services. Specify how the fees will be paid by the client (e.g., direct transfer of funds), when this will happen (e.g., first of each month), and what the fees cover and do not cover (e.g., a simple statement that telephone expense is not a fee and is a reimbursable expense).
When the contract is terminated, all materials should be returned to the association client in usable form.
 

Compensation
Most AMC contracts define the management fee, retainer fee, or other fees. They may wish to charge a management fee covering certain basic services and bill other services as used. The management fee covers staff time, rent, office use, and equipment. All other charges are on an as-used basis. Arrangements for special services may be addressed through separate letters of agreement independent of the management contract. The contract may specify the number of hours or percentage of time to be devoted to the client by key staff members.

Most contracts attempt to define the services the AMC will provide. While some contracts go into great detail on this subject, some firms prefer to keep the contract language loose. That way, both the AMC and the client depend on the mutual agreement they have reached. Defining services too narrowly may inadvertently lead to an adversarial relationship between the two parties.

Contracts are often drawn up for one year, either with automatic renewal, or with intent to renew. Short-term contracts require both parties to review the contract to ensure it continues to reflect current needs and expectations. Doing this annually tends to focus both sets of needs more effectively. In other cases, an association and its AMC may have a long-term contract. A long-term contract helps ensure the AMC will invest its time and energy for the long haul.

The period of notice required to terminate a contract may run from 30 days to 90 or 120 days. The termination clause for a large association may specify a period of six months or more. Longer notice offers protection for both the association and the AMC to provide both organizations with the necessary time to transition.

An annual review is essential and failure to provide some form of review can lead to misunderstanding. Even if the contract has remained unchanged and unchallenged for some time, it is wise to recognize that associations change.

Each new slate of elected leaders needs to clearly understand the relationship between the AMC and the association.

Developed with files from CSAE, ASAE and other sources.

Doing the right thing…

As as Association Management Company we are often faced with professional dilemmas where there are no simple answers or solutions.

As association executives, we are committed to always doing the right thing, even when “doing the right thing” might sometimes seem counter-intuitive to running a for-profit business – i.e. turning down freebies from a supplier. But that’s just the way we roll. High ethical principles are one of the pillars on which our company has been built.

One of our roles is to help our client associations understand what to do if a conflict of interest situation arises or make recommendations for a policy that will enable them to stick handle a difficult situation in the future. We see ourselves of stewards of the organization’s reputation and we want to make sure that clients avoid perceived or real conflicts.

According to the Institute for Global Ethics there are five values that are accepted by people around the world. They are:

  • Honesty
  • Responsibility
  • Respect
  • Fairness
  • Compassion

We face challenges every day in our work through interactions with members, volunteers, suppliers and competitors. By viewing every dilemma through the lens of “doing the right thing” we can feel good about our company, our people and the great service we offer to our clients.

Essentient Association Management subscribes to  professional codes of conduct promoted by the professional associations to which we belong including:

Canadian Society of Association Executives – Code of Conduct

AMC Institute – Code of Ethics

American Society of Association Executives – Standards of Conduct

And we think that doing the right thing is a good thing.

Never Under-estimate the Importance of a Name Tag

Over the past several years we have created tens of thousands of name tags for our meetings and events. And if there is one t524720_515002911886881_1211081280_nhing we have taken to heart, it is, if you don’t think that a name tag is important, just wait until your delegate/guest discovers that their name tag contains a spelling error or it is missing.

So what do we do that makes our name tags stand out?

First of all, we make sure that name tags can be read from several paces away. There is nothing worse than having to squint to read the person’s name. And keeping in mind that not everyone has 20/20 vision, we follow a very simple formula:

FIRST NAME – Sans serif, 54 pt.

First Lastname – Sans serif – 24 pt

Company – Sans serif 18 pt

The second thing we do is purchase a supply of name tags that a) have a simple elastic lanyard; but b) not the kind of lanyard that can twist. All of our name tags lay flat on the centre portion of the wearer’s chest. We also don’t use the pin on type of name tags as they can damage clothing.

Once the name tags have been printed, the staff responsible for the event check and double check to make sure that names and companies are accurate and that we can match every name to the registration list. We make it a priority to get it right the first time, ultimately avoiding awkward moments later at the registration desk.

Finally, while we may recycle the plastic badge holders, we never reuse the printed name tags for future events as names and companies change frequently. Every time we print a name tag it is based on current information in our database.

Still unsure about proper name tag etiquette? Here is a website that we found that provides lots of practical info.