When I was a kid, I was a decent swimmer, but miserably bad at many other sports. I ended my little league career for Sweeney and Meyer Realty without a single base hit. After (another) hitless game, my Mom told me: “you can’t be good at everything…pick what you want to excel at and concentrate on that.”
Good advice, Mom. And, it’s good advice for anyone considering the pros and cons of in-house staff versus an association management company.
Particularly in a small association, the in-house staff has to wear many hats. I’ve seen single individuals who are tasked with running a conference, processing membership invoices, updating a web site and managing committees. In fact, that kind of a range of responsibilities isn’t uncommon.
But it’s unlikely to find one individual who excels at all of them. That’s the advantage of hiring an association management company—to engage the services of people who specialize in and excel at specific tasks. If you’re running an event, a management company allows you to have the services of an expert event planning team just when you need them.
Association management companies can work for larger-staffed organizations as well—it enables the staff to focus on just what they’re good at, and outsource the tasks that are more “commoditized.” If an organization is having a subject matter expert spending time printing name badges, that’s not maximizing value for the members.
It makes me wish I could have outsourced some of those at bats thirty years ago.