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Management of Non-Profit Organizations

"New Year! New AMC?"
By Alicia Muller, Director of New Business Development

A New Year: A time to start fresh, a clean slate, endless possibilities. The new year is the perfect time to reflect on how "you've always done it" and think about your goals for the future and how you can attain them. You know the old saying about how you can't get different results by continuing to do the same thing over and over again. Has your association hit a plateau? Now is the ideal time to evaluate your current management model, whether it be a standalone association with a staff, a volunteer run organization or with an association management company (AMC), to determine if change is eminent and, if it is, taking the appropriate steps to move forward in the process.

A review of this nature may seem like a daunting task, so here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Talk to your Board of Directors to get consensus regarding change. A divided Board will not produce change and can be detrimental to the association.
  2. Consider a strategic planning session to set goals and initiatives for the future. This will help point you in the right direction regarding your management model.
  3. If finding a new AMC is your goal for 2012, use helpful resources such as the AMC Institute for information on AMCs and to identify those that might be a good fit with your organization.
  4. A few things to keep in mind - do your research and keep it simple! If you send your RFP to the masses, expect an overflow of responses, which will be very time consuming and may be counterproductive. Instead, narrow down what is important to you - Do you want an accredited AMC? Is location important? How about the types of organizations they manage? The more you can pare it down, the easier your search will be.
  5. All AMCs are not created equal and there are pros and cons of different sized AMCs. Whether big or small or somewhere in between, finding the right cultural fit is key. Your AMC should be considered a resource and a partner. Developing a strong solid relationship between volunteer leaders and your AMC staff is crucial.
  6. Take the plunge! Change can be scary but change can also breathe new life into your association.

Of course, choosing a new AMC is not going to solve all your problems. You also need strong volunteer leadership and an engaged membership. What the new AMC will do is help you see things from a different perspective and sometimes that is all the change you need to make a difference.

This could be just the New Year's Resolution your organization needs to be successful in 2012!

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