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Management of Non-Profit Organizations

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

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. 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.

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What it Means to be an Accredited AMC
By Vicki L. Scott, Director of Client Services

As a volunteer leader you may already be aware of and appreciate the value of individual professional credentials; however, did you know that Association Management Companies can also possess an industry accreditation? An AMC Institute Accredited Association Management Company (AMC) like Fernley & Fernley, has undergone a rigorous process to ensure that it has documented policies and procedures (best practices) in place that support quality standards and a commitment to exceptional customer service.

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Will Your Association Protect You?
By Robert C. Harris, CAE

With responsibility comes risks and liabilities for staff. The question herein is whether or not the association would protect you if something went wrong under your authority? An organization is more likely to come to the aid of staff or volunteers when systems and precautions have been implemented. Thus, good managers focus not only on meeting goals and objectives but also on developing systems to protect staff and volunteers. This article focuses on thirteen major areas, however, it should certainly not be considered all-inclusive, but it's a great place to start.

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"Board Orientation: An Essential Building Block to a Strong Partnership"
by Margo McDonnell, Executive Director

Volunteer leaders are elected to the board of directors often without a good understanding of their new role. A board orientation is an excellent way to provide an overview of the association's history, policies, strategic initiatives, organizational structure and financial status. This orientation should also explain the role of the association management team or paid staff versus that of the volunteer board. This understanding will help avoid duplication of efforts, create an effective working relationship and provide for a productive term.

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"Hiring Your First AMC: Five Tips For a Successful Search"
By Suzanne C. Pine

From membership development to meetings management and strategic planning, a board member's job is never done. Increasingly, volunteer leaders representing thousands of trade associations, professional societies and charitable organizations are partnering with association management companies (AMC's) to help meet their association goals. AMC's provide integrated headquarters and staff solutions for nonprofit organizations, allowing volunteer leaders to tap into expert support and management services, from day-to-day operations to specialized services.

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"Operation Perfect Association"
By Taylor Fernley, President & CEO

Do the crisis-of-the-day and on-the-job-training interfere with your systematic approach to managing your organization? That was, of course, a rhetorical question. As leaders in our industry, we must look far and wide to search out and combat inefficiencies that impact us on an ongoing basis. Put another way, we must identify "opportunity zones" for operational improvements—and then promptly fix them with a goal to improve customer service to ensure sustainability.

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"Partner or Perish"
By G.A. Taylor Fernley, President & CEO

What is the association management company's (AMC) responsibility in navigating its non-profit clients through today's increasingly harsh economic times? If the AMC and the association are acting as true partners, the role is clear - to work together to create a win-win scenario for both parties. As I travel across the U.S. meeting with Boards of Directors, I have found that no matter what the industry or profession the organization represents, they are all concerned that the economy will have an adverse affect on their revenue stream. Whether it's high gas prices that deter members from traveling to conferences, corporate cost cutting that no longer includes dues payments, or industry consolidation, it all impacts the association's bottom line. This is a time that can make or break a non-profit organization and the AMC can play a critical role if it is willing to consider creative, flexible alternatives that can serve to strengthen the partnership in the long run.

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"Focus On What You Do Best and Farm Out the Rest"
By G.A. Taylor Fernley, President & CEO

With the pressure of business conditions forever looming over our heads, we must continually evaluate our assn’s existing business model and determine if it is what we need to meet the assn’s current goals and position it for a strong and successful future. At one time, assn executives were driven by the mantra to be "all things to all people." Those days are forever gone!

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"Transitioning to an AMC"
By Suzanne Pine, Executive Vice President

There are many reasons to transfer management responsibilities to an association management company. Perhaps your current independent staff plans to retire, or a long-thought -out strategic plan requires a new management approach. Whatever the reason, you have to do your homework to find the right AMC to partner with, because all AMCs are not equal. When considering a change of such magnitude, you need to be very certain that the culture of the AMC matches that of your association.

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"How to Staff Your Non-Profit Organization"
By Vicki L. Scott, New Business Manager

Many factors must be considered when it comes to determining the best staffing model for a non-profit organization. Volunteers have always been a tremendous resource for handling the necessary administrative tasks associated with running an association or society. They unselfishly donate their time and are dedicated to a good cause. Of course, as the organization grows, so does the workload, usually to the point where volunteers alone can no longer effectively manage daily operations.

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