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The AMC contribution.

With 527 association management companies represented, the Association Management Company Section has the distinction of being the fastest-growing section within ASAE. Association management companies are professional service firms that provide nonprofit organizations with experienced executive leadership and staff as well as the proven practices and shared resources that come with such expertise-based organizations. AMCs help volunteer leaders achieve their visions, inspire their organizations, and consequently advance their professions, businesses, and the lives of their members.


AMCs manage associations with budgets totaling $2.04 billion and combined memberships of 3.1 million. Thus, not only do AMCs serve as an outsourcing resource for special projects, they also provide full-service association management services as well.

Productive partnerships

Those who run AMCs--including members of the AMC Section Council--wear two hats: association management practitioner and business owner. I believe that the AMC environment enables us to quickly identify trends and seize opportunities to capitalize on them. Case in point: In May 2003, members of the board of directors of the International Association of Association Management Companies (IAAMC), Westmont, Illinois, joined ASAE's AMC Section Council for a joint strategic planning session to see where we might take advantage of the strengths of both organizations and avoid duplication. As a result, we identified three areas--education, accreditation, and marketing--that we felt could benefit from our working more closely together. Following are some outgrowths of our work in each of the areas:

Education. One of the first initiatives we agreed to tackle was to combine the IAAMC Summer Meeting with the ASAE Annual Meeting and Exposition. The IAAMC Summer Meeting had traditionally been held immediately prior to the ASAE meeting in the same city. It was a logical approach, but it also made for a long time away from the office.

Thanks to the collaborative work of ASAE and IAAMC, the first joint meeting will be held at the 2004 ASAE Annual Meeting and Exposition in Minneapolis. A joint committee has planned the educational content, and the AMC owners-only sessions will fall within the structure of the ASAE meeting. Recognizing that this is an experimental year, I am confident that both the AMC attendees and our colleagues within ASAE will realize many benefits from being together.

Also, because of the expertise they bring to the table, many AMC owners and professional staff are called upon to speak at the annual meeting's educational sessions. And given that AMCs collectively plan approximately 4,000 major meetings and 14,000 other events per year, the AMC community will bring considerable buying clout to the exhibit hall in Minneapolis.

Accreditation. Both ASAE and IAAMC have accreditation programs for AMCs. Recognizing that two accreditation programs have the potential to create confusion in the marketplace, both the AMC Section Council and the IAAMC board are committed to better understanding how we can align our efforts.

Marketing. The AMCinstitute (, Westmont, Illinois, a joint venture of ASAE and IAAMC, has been effective at getting the AMC story out into the marketplace. Nevertheless, we are currently considering the idea of folding the institute into IAAMC, given that industry marketing typically falls within the responsibilities of a trade association. The move would also serve to eliminate any confusion in the marketplace.

Educational encounters

This year at ASAE Minneapolis, I invite you to increase your networking sphere. Chances are, the association executive sitting next to you in a session, speaking on a panel, or passing by in the exhibit hall comes from the AMC community. Take the time to learn from him or her--about both the association profession and the AMC industry.


Chairman, Association Management Section Council, 2003-2004

President, Management Solutions Plus, Inc., Rockville, Maryland
COPYRIGHT 2004 American Society of Association Executives
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Title Annotation:ASAE Up Front; Association Management Company; American Society of Association Executives
Author:Palys, Beth W.
Publication:Association Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Previous Article:Building on a vision.
Next Article:Diversity coverage: more breadth.

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