Why is the image of a frazzled intern fetching coffee so ubiquitous?
We all know that interns have much more to contribute than just coffee runs, but the image endures – in part because it illustrates a few important principles. In every profession, there are low-level tasks and high-level tasks. There are critical tasks that demand skilled workers and tasks that people with less institutional knowledge and less of an acute skillset can do.
Look around your office. Are different jobs are suited for different people based on their experience and expertise?
Getting coffee is a low-level task, perhaps best for those still learning the field. The same could be said of dues collection, data maintenance, and other essential, but low-skill responsibilities. Those with experience and in-depth knowledge spend their time elsewhere, on high-level tasks. Everyone, from interns (whose job should be to learn, not fetch coffee) to CEOs and board chairs, should spend their time on the tasks that best suit them and lie within their area of expertise.
This is rule number one of scaling your company and accomplishing more with the resources that you have.
Unfortunately, many association professionals spend a lot of time on low-level tasks or work outside of their field. For instance, running reports from your association management software is a common responsibility. Also, membership managers often find themselves in the throes of event planning.
When your skilled workers venture outside their fields or focus on low-level tasks, your association suffers. Staff can no longer devote their time to important strategic initiatives or your members because they’re too busy scrubbing data.
Your staff and your association as a whole will be more effective if you take low-level tasks and specialty work off the shoulders of your employees.
Professional association management services allow you to do just that. Offered by AMS software providers and some association management companies, these services will help you get higher quality work along with saving time and money by letting your staff focus on your members.
4 Association Management Services that Save Time and Money
Service #1) Website Design
According to research compiled by Ironpaper, 94% of people cite web design as the reason they mistrust or reject a website. By outsourcing web design, you help your association avoid becoming part of that statistic by ensuring you have an attractive, professional website that draws members and prospects in.
Your staff won’t have to stress about color schemes, navigation, or graphic design, especially when they’re not experts in those fields.
AMS providers who include a website in their membership management software are a great choice for this type of service. Your provider is already familiar with your association and its branding, and their staff has the expertise to design your site so it meets your members’ standards.
Having your website management tools in the same AMS software suite as your membership database also means that after the initial design in finished, you’ll likely be able to make your own content changes and updates. You already have access to your AMS platform and are familiar with its tools, so you’ll have no problem accessing your website and using those same tools to update information and optimize content.
Service #2) Website Migration
After web design, one of the most complicated aspects of changing your website provider is moving all your pages over to the new system. There are a lot of factors to consider, and getting everything right takes a huge amount of time. You have to inventory all your website pages, take internal links into account, analyze each page’s keywords, SEO, and more.
If you don’t get it right, you could lose your top converting pages or, worse still, your association’s SEO ranking. So take the pressure off your association staff by letting your association management software provider do the work for you. AMS providers regularly transfer large quantities of data (think membership database transfers) and they have systems for expediting the process with fewer errors. Your AMS company is also already familiar with your association.
Often, your website migration can happen at the same time as your AMS database transfer, so your association can get everything out of the way at the same time. Like web design, if you migrate your website to your online membership software, many AMS providers will also give you a great deal. They’ll migrate your data and website pages for less than specialty web companies, which will help you stay within your budget.
Service #3) Event Management
Events are more complicated than they may look to an outsider. There are venues, food, and sessions to plan. That’s not to mention the contracts that need to be negotiated and the clauses that need to be added to protect your association should any changes or cancellations occur.
If your staff doesn’t have expertise in all these areas, as well as general hospitality, then planning your conference could be an added source of stress that takes away from their real areas of expertise.
AMS software providers, on the other hand, often have professional meetings planners on staff. With years of experience, these experts can help you plan and execute your entire event from start to finish, or they can just take a piece of the planning off your plate. If you want to do the high-level tasks, for instance, your AMS can run your registration software, manage your request for sessions, answer registrant questions, or just be onsite to run registration. Your staff can take care of the rest of the event planning.
Taking on expert event help is one of the best ways to save money when planning your conference. Professional meeting planners have industry connections and know where to find the best deals. Their specialized knowledge will help ensure that your meeting stays on budget and goes off without a hitch.
Service #4) AMS Administration
Much of the work that goes into membership management is considered low-level. That includes dues collection, data cleaning, reporting, and answering members’ questions on how to use your member portal. Your employees’ time is better spent on more impactful work like mapping out new benefits, not going through and cleaning data.
The best membership management software providers will offer a “managed AMS” or “AMS administration” option, where they take care of all the in-the-trenches work with your software. That includes dues renewals, data maintenance, running reports, and answering members’ questions. Some AMS providers will even include aspects of event set up and website maintenance in their administrative services.
Of all the association management services, AMS administration saves your staff the most time and effort on an ongoing basis. Yearly or monthly dues collection is done for you, weekly and monthly reports are set up without any effort from your staff, and more.
You don’t even have to worry about training new staff members or dealing with shortages when employees leave your association. Experts from the same company that build your AMS software will manage your membership through times of turnover.
Association Management Services Takeaway
Your staff is smart and they bring valuable industry expertise and people management skills to your association. Don’t let those abilities fall by the wayside in favor of data cleanup and other low-level tasks.
Your employees’ skills are better put to use on important strategic initiatives that make a difference for your members and your mission, such as creating engaging email campaigns or drafting compelling content.
By outsourcing some of the low-level, time-consuming, or complicated tasks that come with managing your association, you free up your employees to focus on what they do best. And when your employees focus on serving your members with high-level projects, you create a better member experience along with a better overall association.