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Strategies for Increasing Non-Dues Revenue

For many associations, the ability to face and overcome the many challenges brought on by the global pandemic centered on maintaining and building new revenue streams. Those most successful continued to prove their capacity to adapt and embrace novel and innovative approaches beyond the usual sources of income.

Association revenue has typically focused on membership dues and annual conference registration revenue, even in periods of stable economic growth. The lessons of the past year have taught us that these may not be enough to sustain the organization over the long-term.

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Don’t Burn the Furniture, Please

by Dave Bergeson, PhD, CAE, Vice President of Client Relations, Association Management Center

It would be cliché and perhaps too obvious to say that for nonprofits and associations, this year is unlike any other. And yet, here we are. Most of our in-person conferences have been canceled. Many, if not most, of us, are implementing virtual meetings and conferences. Our traditional forms of content delivery and revenue streams have been disrupted.

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COVID-19 – A Time for Refresher on Basic Board Member Duties

Bennett Napier, CAE, President/CEO, Partners in Association Management

2020 as we all know has been a “test” for not-for-profit organizations. The short and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on traditional revenue streams, membership needs, and program delivery have created some interesting dynamics relative to board staff/roles.

I have heard countless stories this year from peers that serve as CEO of a number of associations where volunteer board members, while well-intentioned, have placed themselves and potentially the organization in harm’s way, for example, having unauthorized ex parte communications directly with hotels related to contract negotiations on meeting cancellations or postponements.

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Financial Sustainability in Troubled Times

Kelly Meiners, Director of Accounting, Diversified Management Services

When thinking about financial sustainability, who would have ever envisioned the economic environment that we have endured in 2020? Who would have planned for a pandemic and the economic conditions associated with it? But it has happened, now what do we do?

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Can Working with an AMC help You Save Money?

There are three common ways that associations are managed.  Some are managed by volunteers.  This is most common in small, start-up associations and usually gives way to non-volunteer management as the association grows.  Many associations are managed by full-time staff employed directly by the association.  Perhaps the most common of all forms of management, there are thousands of associations employing their own staff.  The third method of management is for the association to contract with an association management company (an AMC).  I should mention that there are hybrid models that mix elements of these three, but these three approaches are the most common.

For an association to be managed and managed well by volunteers requires an unusual set of circumstances to come together.  First, the association has to be small enough that the required amount of work can be handled by volunteers.  Second, there has to be available a number of people who have an abiding commitment to the association and who have the talent necessary to do the work required.  Usually, there is one key person with a passion for the organization who drives the volunteer effort.  Since the financial considerations around management is the thrust of this article I will say right up front that as long as you can get volunteers to manage your association and as long as they do a good job, if you want the cheapest management alternative you can’t beat free!  However and as I alluded to earlier, volunteer management is usually not a permanent solution for a growing, successful association.

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Is There an AMC Behind That $5 Million Association?

Jonathan Lurie, Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Smith Bucklin & Associates, Inc.

Picture this. A successful association with an operating budget of $5 million known as “the” source for industry knowledge with a board of directors that is strategically focused. The organization is humming on leading-edge technology, providing for efficient operations and supporting a solid financial foundation.

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Performing Due Diligence: How an Association Board of Directors Should Evaluate its Association Management Company

By Mike Dwyer, CAE, Association Headquarters & Paul Hanscom, CAE, Ewald Consulting

It’s not uncommon that an association board of directors will decide to take a harder look at its relationship with its association management company partner after a significant change has occurred. This could be a change in staff leadership, management fee adjustment, or shift in the scope of service. Some associations have governing documents that stipulate that a level of review is required on a given time cycle, e.g. every three years. And occasionally a particularly fastidious board member will ask when the board last performed such a review, claiming that it’s the board’s fiduciary duty to perform its “due diligence” to ensure the resources invested by the association in the services provided by its AMC are well spent.

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