Advancing the AMC Model - How We All Can Contribute to Our Collective Success
Greg Schultz, AMCI’s 2016 Chair, has been one of the Board’s most vocal advocates of the importance of marketing the value of the AMC model. As he leads the Institute’s efforts to increase awareness and interest in working with AMCs, we asked Greg to share where the Institute will place its focus, and how members can get involved.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing AMCs in marketing to volunteer leaders and association executives?
Lack of awareness - Research we undertook a little over a year ago still showed a lack of awareness for the model and how it benefits associations – and this is consistent for volunteer leaders, captive staff, and organizations providing goods and services to associations.
Offering options/flexibility – Many organizations express interest in using an AMC’s services on an ad hoc basis prior to considering full service.
Communicating competency around transitions – Currently, organizations are more apt to consider the services of an AMC when they have reached a fork in the road. They may have reached a tipping point in appreciation of the lack of sustainability of their current business model, a planned or unplanned executive director transition, or the need for a rapid response to an opportunity or crisis in their space.
Perception – Whether it is keeping an association’s brand independent, delivering expertise in specific industry or professional sectors, or having real passion for an organization’s mission, there is uncertainty that AMCs go beyond being efficient general managers for associations that cannot afford to directly employ full-time staff.
Cost and value – Volunteers and association staff generally appreciate that AMCs provide efficiencies, but they often measure value in terms of cost reduction rather than value creation and growth.
What is AMCI doing in 2016 to address these challenges?
Our mission is to increase awareness and tell the AMC story around areas that resonate with our primary markets: association volunteers, stand-alone staff and third parties that have trusted relationships with association boards and staff.
Our tactics fall into two major areas:
Improve: Improving the quality and reliability of the services AMCs deliver benefits all AMCs. We continue to promote accreditation and best practices within our industry. This year we will introduce new webinar education programs for AMC staff.
Prove: We need more proof of the value AMCs bring – why it makes sense to move from an asset-depreciation management model to a value-creation management model. In 2015 we completed an independent Financial impact Study that demonstrated AMCs provide a greater return on investment than a standalone management model. http://www.amcinstitute.org/?page=numbers. In 2016 AMCI will support new research that will demonstrate the reach and impact of the AMC industry.
Promote: We have developed a message platform that addresses the concerns I noted above, head on. And we are increasing strategic outreach and direct engagement with influencers, volunteer leaders and standalone staff. Continuing to promote the results of the independent Financial Impact Study is a key part of our 2016 marketing program. And we are creating and distributing more content that demonstrates the expertise of the AMCI member firms, innovations being undertaken that advance the association industry, and value/benefits of working with AMCs. This component is critical to the overall program, it provides qualitative proof to support our qualitative research. But we need members’ support to make it work.
How can members get involved?
More content and more attention translates to more focus on value of the model...
We need your content that demonstrates AMC leadership, value and success. Make sure AMCI is on your media list, send case studies, blog posts and material that your company has generated to promote your own successes and value. We will push it out via AMCI channels, and your organization will be credited. Win-win!
Be part of the online community and discussions on the AMCI LinkedIn group and Twitter, and encourage your staff to do the same. Contribute your content and thoughts to our social media channels and retweet and repost AMCI content to help spread the message.
Contribute your data by participating in AMC surveys (there’s one coming out in soon).
We will continue to refine our tactics and measure our results. We are making progress! If you have ideas or concerns send me a note firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch with AMCI CEO Tina Wehmeir at email@example.com.