Often, I hear non-profit professionals state their reasons they cannot hire an Association Management Company (AMC), or for that matter why they can not hire any staff at all. I often hear small business owners make the same reasoning.
“I just can’t afford it.”
I would say a better response is to say you just can’t afford not to hire an AMC, or based on preference, an individual, to perform the necessary duties and tasks for your association (or small business) to survive and thrive.
A dedicated staff, with experience and the know-how to get work done in an efficient and timely manner, is a must in today’s competitive world. Relying on volunteers is just not a formula that will lead to long term success. Your industry is likely very challenging and keeping up to date is a full time job. Trying to juggle volunteer or staff time, usually on tasks that they are not trained to do, wastes their valuable time. Working together with an AMC or staff, provides your volunteers or existing staff time to focus on how the association or business can serve clients and do its job. Why force a business owner or past president of an organization enter data, look for a venue, or manage a check book when they can be focused on serving member needs or making valuable industry collaborations? We have found that when organizations utilize our services, they grow and prosper as they are allowed to focus on “bigger picture” opportunities and planning.
Now, if you have made the decision to hire additional help, I would argue that the AMC model would be a better choice for most associations, and quite often businesses as well. For example, my company, Prime Management Services, has experts in customer relations, event management, trade show management, conference planning, database management, cutting edge web sites, accounting, graphic design, and has established relationships with experts in investment firms, law firms, printing companies, mailing houses, speakers, convention and visitors bureaus, and even hotel chains. Our clients benefit from the years we have worked hard to develop these relationships, and they get this benefit from day one.
By pooling resources, costs to customers are minimized, yet you benefit from the shared resource. For example, your association may be one that relies heavily on a CPA, while another is best served by friendly customer service representatives answering phone calls or emails from their members looking for assistance. Both associations may need the other service from time to time. But it is inefficient use of your funds, if it is even possible to hire both a CPA and a customer service representative. But with our company the resource is shared, making the best and most efficient use of limited resources.
Furthermore, our company provides one telephone system, one operating system, one data backup, one fireproof safe, one software system… you get the idea, we provide one expense that is then shared among our clients. A staff person often comes with hidden expenses that become apparent over time. No organization has a copy machine in use at all times! Why not share this resource? Not to mention, as with most purchases, buying in bulk reduces the per item cost. The cost to utilize an AMC may not be as high as you think. You may find that this is something you can do right away.