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What is Association Management?

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  • Written By: H. Bliss
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2016
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Association management is like corporate management, but it is used in an association, which is a distinct type of business. Often, association management services are performed by association management companies (AMC). Responsibilities of association management include managing staff and managing finances, as well as setting and meeting goals for the progress of the association. Some AMCs also handle public relations and marketing functions for associations.

In business, an association is a membership organization that collects dues from its members in exchange for services that help advance the business-related interests of its members. Associations come in many sizes, from just a few members to several thousand members. They also have vastly different budgets depending on the size and scope of the organization services and its members.

Monitoring association conduct means supervising association staff to ensure they conduct themselves ethically in a manner congruous with the goals of the association. Rules for ethical behavior for association staff include limits on gifts received by association staff members, addressing workplace behavior, and preventing conflicts of interest that stem out of employment or business relationships held by association staff. If an association handles confidential information, association management is also responsible for ensuring that sensitive information stays confidential.

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One major part of association management is planning the progress of an organization so it can grow and perform its functions successfully. Association management executives plan goals, design events, and create services in an effort to smoothly run and improve an organization. It is the also association management company's job to design effective plans to complete tasks related to advancing the association and a means of measuring the association's success under the management. Part of this responsibility includes finishing the project on time and within the allotted budget.

Because association members pay dues to participate in the association, members are important to the funding of an association. Marketing and public relations are a large part of gaining association members. Most AMCs also handle promotion and marketing while managing an association, though some associations have dedicated marketing teams that do not handle management tasks. A large association is more likely to have a dedicated marketing department for public relations than a small company.

Marketing tasks that can be helpful in managing an organization include advertising, press and reputation management. Association staff engaged in marketing design ads, purchase ad space, and connect with members of the press to make important announcements. When an association has an online presence, marketing may also include an online reputation manager that can address Internet complaints that are affecting the company's general reputation.

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