Successful associations engage like-minded people willing to contribute time, expertise, insight, and passion to achieve common goals. When an organization’s needs exceed what can be managed by volunteer leaders, the association must consider hiring paid staff to professionally manage the organization. When searching for a staffing solution, it is critical that the board choose an outfit that will help expand services, member satisfaction and overall growth.
An association can choose to either retain an individual staff executive as an employee of the organization, or they can hire an association management company to comprehensively handle operations.
Associations choosing to hire an individual staff executive typically look for someone who can manage organizational operations, actively participate in key decision making, engage board members and members at large, and who have a full understanding of not-for-profit management. Moreover, the right candidate will align with the culture of the association.
Hiring an association management company (AMC) is also a popular choice for many organizations. AMCs provide management services on either a fee-for-service or all-inclusive basis, which often include the services of professional staff and administrative support, as well as office space, technology, and equipment needed to operate efficiently. AMCs typically manage several associations from one location, providing a wide range of benefits including shared technology systems, access to expert specialized staff, and shared purchasing power.
While each staffing option has a different approach, they are equally viable choices for association leaders to consider. Regardless of outcome, the staffing decision should be carefully researched since the respective staff will undoubtedly word hand-in-hand with the board of directors in setting the strategic direction for the association.