A Users Guide to AMG
Founded in 1982, Association Management Group (AMG) is dedicated to delivering professional services related to the staffing and management of tax-exempt organizations. With offices strategically located in metropolitan Washington, DC at Tysons, Virginia and on Capitol Hill, AMG’s 80+ employees deliver their nonprofit expertise to numerous valued client partners.
Why Do Board Volunteers and Enlightened Executives Select an Association Management Company such as AMG Over Other Direct Staffing Options?
More of today’s progressive and forward-thinking board of directors are selecting the shared management and staffing approach, usually at a considerable G&A savings compared to the expense involved in funding an office and directly employing staff.
At AMG the shared staffing approach relates to creating an appropriate client team; 95 percent of our clients have an exclusively assigned executive and from one to six additional support staff assigned to their team.
Organizations select the AMG option to:
- eliminate all employer liabilities
- increase access to a highly skilled and stable professional staff
- reduce operating and administrative costs
- achieve complete elimination of capital expenses and long term leases
Additionally, benefits include:
- Unprecedented technology capabilities because of AMG’s cutting-edge web-based technology infrastructure. No other AMC has AMG’s ability to design, host and manage the content of client websites, while providing “live” in the database services to members. Some of these include membership join/renew, event registration, membership directories/locator programs, profile update capability, webinar delivery, social media and discussion forums and event calendaring. AMG has a variety of software products to meet all client needs.
- A contract provision which grants clients the unequivocal right to prevent AMG from serving organizations they find competitive or incompatible.
- A contract provision, which guarantees clients that AMG will not accept commissions, fees or incentives. In other words, we guarantee our status as your unconflicted “agent”.
- A contract which reduces the liability of officers and directors by at least 40% and a related reduction in O&D insurance costs.
- Complete elimination of all staffing and headquarters issues, including the costs and disruptions associated with staff changes, staff recruitment and all other staff management/compensation issues.
- Complete elimination of all issues, which limit and/or eliminate organizational flexibility such as: office and equipment leases and employment contracts.
AMG Pricing and Income Sources
Unlike many association management companies, AMG offers its clients a “fixed fee” versus a “time and materials” fee.
Like stand-alone headquarters, AMG’s fees are based upon the costs of the people, facilities, equipment and insurances allocated to each client. AMG offers its association professionals unique opportunities for professional training and advancement, competitive benefits, productive facilities and technology tools, competitive compensation, and opportunities to work with respected colleagues, all to attract the profession’s best and most committed professionals.
Further, everything AMG purchases, from pencils and pens to hotel rooms, are leveraged against our total buying powers. Since AMG does not “mark up” or accept incentives from vendors, every client is able to benefit from AMG’s discounted and leveraged buying.
In addition to full-service association clients, AMG does outsource work, especially in meetings and event management, government relations and consulting to other associations.
AMG Expenses and Business Costs
Due to AMG’s sophisticated accounting systems, clients receive AMG’s volume discounts and receive and review original bills AMG uses to pay vendors. This unusual practice and benefit allows client organizations to create and maintain their own independent credit record/reputation while at the same time benefiting from leveraged buying scenarios.
AMG’s principal expenses include employee (both assigned and shared) compensation, followed by employee benefits, occupancy expense, equipment (computer hardware and software), employee training and acquisition, insurances and bonds, office supplies, professional dues and subscriptions.
In every instance and category, AMG costs and cost ratios remain below even the best results achieved by stand-alone offices; a fact that is reflected in the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Annual Operating Ratio Studies.
Confidentiality and Security
No client finances, records or other assets are ever co-mingled or put at risk. Individual accounts and databases are established and maintained for each client and state of the art security codes and conventions are maintained to protect the confidentiality and security of all client assets. We agree to maintain confidentiality for any client who may elect to discontinue a relationship with AMG and our contracts specify that no real property, including data, created by AMG for clients ever transfer to AMG ownership.
What If Client Organizations Elect to Change, Add or Reduce the Services They Receive from AMG?
No organization can change purposes, priorities or activities easier than an AMG client association. Any change can be achieved simply by notifying AMG in writing. If the change is significant enough to require staff changes it may be necessary to observe the 90-day no fault notice specification in the AMG agreement to allow for reallocation of people, but in most cases such changes can be made quickly.
What If Client Organizations Wish to Change, Reduce Or Add Staff?
Unlike stand-alone staff situations where employment agreements, new employee search activities and costs, new employee training, loss of service and related issues disrupt the smooth functioning of organizations, AMG undertakes and/or eliminates these concerns. Not only does AMG step up and take care of these matters, it provides temporary staff to continue services and the association Board retains its right to select its chief staff executive. This applies to the first and all subsequent executives necessary to serve AMG clients.
Just like effective stand-alone headquarters, AMG’s client leaders/chief staff executives, with the support of AMG’s HR Director, select and dismiss staff assigned/authorized for the client they manage. AMG does not believe we can hold chief staff executives accountable unless they are empowered to also select and manage their staff teams. AMG’s HR/Operations department also assists chief staff executives with staff searches, training and management.
All AMG employees must meet AMG’s stringent qualifications and performance requirements in addition to the chief staff executive’s requirements.
How Are AMG Staff Assigned to Client Organizations?
AMG’s president, the assigned chief staff executive and each organization’s elected board leaders meet initially and then, at least annually to discuss and agree upon the services and staff needed to support the organizations goals and objectives.
Most AMG chief staff executives are selected jointly by client organization’s and AMG’s president. Usually, the client Board and AMG’s president agree upon selection criteria, including a range of compensation. AMG then presents two to four candidates meeting that criteria and the client selects the final individual to be hired by AMG as that client’s chief staff executive.
All staff assigned to client organizations is detailed in AMG agreements and are hired and fired by the mutually selected chief staff executives. All staff changes are appropriately discussed with client leadership but client leadership remains sufficiently uninvolved so as not to confuse the employer-employee relationship or become exposed to the liabilities related to that relationship.
What If Client Organizations Wish to Reward AMG Staff Assigned to Their Organization Beyond AMG’s Rewards?
Compensation and other forms of reward can become very complex. While AMG never wishes or intends to limit compensation or other rewards we must, as the “employer”, insist that all financial compensation of AMG employees be done with the full knowledge, approval and accounting required by law and in compliance with AMG’s status as an independent contractor.
It has been AMG’s practice that if individuals or client organizations feel AMG employees serving their organization are due additional compensation or other rewards beyond that received from AMG, they consult AMG’s president to discuss the most appropriate process. The additional compensation is taken from the client’s annual expense budget.
What If A Client Organization Wishes to Modify or Terminate Its Agreement With AMG?
One of the most compelling reasons for doing business with AMG is the simplicity and flexibility of changing priorities and directions it affords organizations. AMG has been very successful at encouraging, facilitating and enabling client organizations to change priorities, size, direction, staff, and every other dimension. Usually, clients are able to make such changes and remain AMG clients but now and then, AMG can’t and won’t go where the client wishes to go and that is when the 120-day no fault termination option included in all AMG agreements becomes most valued.
There is absolutely nothing wrong or inappropriate with clients and/or AMG knowingly opting to end a management relationship. Of course, the longer the notice given, the better and the more appropriate the transition will be. Any notice down to one hundred twenty days is workable and allows the appropriate treatment of the people and organizations affected.
Who is in Charge?
AMG fully subscribes to the Carver policy governance model. This model focuses on a results-oriented approach to board governance and puts the board fully at the helm and “in charge.” It ensures that the chief staff executive hired by AMG, but reporting to the board, has the opportunity to be successful and to work with leaders who are focused on governance versus management and operations.
The board’s ownership authority is best employed by operating as an undivided unit, prescribing organizational goals and objectives and making all its decisions using the principle of policies. The Policy Governance model provides a values-based foundation for discipline, a framework for precision delegation, and a long term focus on what the organization “is” and what it does.
What Should an Organization Do to Consider Becoming an AMG Client?
Contact AMG President Bruce Wardle, CAE or Vice President, Business Development, Ryan Wall:
Association Management Group, Inc.
8400 Westpark Drive 2nd Floor
McLean, Virginia 22102
Phone: (703) 610-9000
Fax: (703) 610-9005