By Sarah Timm and Matt Karst
Strong associations have strong association management. But finding the right association management situation is not an easy task. Many factors, and many hours of research and discussion should go into the decision, as the wrong choice can kill an association. Some associations choose self-management, while others benefit from an association management company. Only your Board can determine the best path for achieving your mission. Looking at all of your options is a smart strategy. Here are our tips to assist your search.
Step One: The first step that goes into searching for a new AMC is validating the need for an AMC. Create a list of your association’s existing pain points. Take the time to craft this list carefully, then pinpoint your association’s top 3 areas of improvement for management. Your association needs to have a clear vision with a definition of success for your management.
Step Two: Once the needs have been determined, organize a search committee. This committee should consist of 2-5 people, ideally a mix of past, current, and emerging leaders. This committee will go over all the pain points previously discussed and use these to search for a viable AMC option.
The following are a list of potential criteria your search committee can use when assessing AMC options. Your association is not limited to these and does not need to exclusively use every one of these, they are here to set a baseline for criteria.
- Number of employees
- Number of clients
- Type of organizations managed
- Size of organizations managed – number of members and annual revenue
- Geographic scope of organizations managed – int’l, national, regional, state, local
- Length of time in business
- Location of AMC
- Certifications held by employees
- Experience and consulting capabilities of staff
- Additional criteria – One great resource is the AMC Institute RFP Template.
Step Three: After determining your search criteria and conducting the search, the results must be analyzed and acted upon. Begin by organizing the criteria in order of importance. Develop a “criteria grid” or spreadsheet to organize data analyzation. Take the time to thoroughly analyze every piece of data. Using your order of importance to assess all options, determine a few AMCs who stand out and frequent the top of the criteria list.
Step Four: At this stage, begin the interview process with the top AMCs on your list. Your search committee should lead the interview and know exactly the type of AMC they are looking for. Using the results form the interview, determine the top one or two candidates, and recommend them to your Board of Directors. It is beneficial to allow your top candidates to make a final presentation advocating on their behalf.
After this stage, all questions should be answered, and you should have your new AMC to call home. The time you put into the preliminary research will always benefit your process of searching for the right association management company.