Association management is very different from managing a business. Find out how it’s different and how you can benefit by hiring professionals to manage the organization for you.
Association management presents many challenges to managers who are used to working in businesses. Businesses are aimed at maximizing profits. They are organized with a top-down structure. Even though employees may have lots of input into the company’s operations, it ultimately comes from above. Other organizations tend to be more democratic. All members share in the decision making process. Here are some of the ways that association management differs from managing a business.
Association management is slightly different than other areas of managing because of the structure of its organization. One of the main differences is that the “owners” of the organization are members who are paying dues in it. This means that the entire structure of the organization is completely different than that of a business.
These members govern the actions of the organization. They elect board members who then handle various aspects. They form task forces, committees and other groups within the organization and oversee their activities. At the top of each of these sub-groups is usually an acting director. It’s their job to act in the best interest of the rest of the group.
The staff who work in these groups are often paid. The executive manager must oversee this aspect of the organization as well. Budget is a major requirement in everything that the organization does. This is different from a business because everything is transparent. All members have access to information regarding how the money is spent.
Rather than spending the money to maximize profits, an organization uses it for a number of different things. These include maintaining any property that the organization holds, developing the organization toward new goals and implementing changes within the organization.
A business is concerned with maximizing profit and growing financially. Association management is different because organizations work toward a common goal. Understanding this objective is the key to successfully managing associations. All members are “in this together” and all actions must be made toward the aimed-for end result.
Many organizations also work to avoid risk. Risk is a necessary part of growing a business and making big gains. For a community organization, it is considered dangerous. These organizations also work with much less funding, so measure must be taken to ensure that money isn’t needlessly wasted.
There are now companies that handle your association management for you. These companies are experienced and skilled at handling an organization’s managerial needs. Most importantly, they can handle the accounting and finances. This is the biggest challenge for people who are coming into association management from the business world. Hiring professionals to handle these tasks for you is an investment that can pay off by creating an organization that runs smoothly and works toward its objectives.