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Frequently Asked Questions

What are “association management specialists (AMS)?”

Companies which manage the affairs of two or more associations on a contract, shared-cost basis. The company provides the professional and administrative staff, office space, and equipment; each association buys the services it needs. The typical company works for five to ten client associations. However, we are very careful to give full attention to each client and we always use the association name when we’re working for that client.

Why are we considered specialists?

Because that’s our only business. This means professionalism, efficiency and economy of service for our client associations. We can easily set up a meeting, process statistics, or prepare a newsletter, because we’ve handled that assignment many times before. In addition, we can provide our client associations with sound advice about new projects or ideas, because we’ve had experience with the same project or idea for another client.

What do we provide to client associations?

Service is our primary function. We are responsible for furnishing services to and on behalf of our clients. To put it another way, associations represent and serve their members - so we must represent and serve our client association and their members.

What services do specialists provide to association clients?

AMS companies are staffed to furnish full management and basic administrative services. If services are not provided by the specialist staff, the company acquires or retains them outside and supervises them on behalf of the association.

How large are specialist companies?

Most companies like ours have fewer than ten employees. This means that everyone is involved to varying degrees in servicing each client. 

What particular services are provided to client groups?

Typically, management of all administrative duties, conventions and meeting management, seminars, membership promotion and retention, government relations, contracts, trade shows, insurance, statistical collection and dissemination, institutional advertising and public relations, and standards and certification programs.

Why do associations retain specialist companies?

The most commonly-cited reasons are professionalism, economics and efficiency, counsel and leadership, and continuity of management.

Please explain “professionalism.”

Specialist companies have a range of skills. We can transfer knowledge from one association or situation to another, to ensure that proposed activities are properly planned and mistakes are minimized. We also have a depth of skills. We are also an experienced team; not just "one or two people who were available" when a group needed staff. We have a diverse skill set. We back one another up, and exchange experience and ideas with one another. We have a range of contacts. We know which artist or printer to call for a particular assignment. We know and work with a variety of professionals and consultants. We know hotel and convention people. Whatever our clients need, we can do it or see that it’s done.

What do you mean by “economics and efficiency?”

Especially in these inflationary times, when all associations have difficulty increasing their revenues, specialist companies are coming into their own. We have a record of providing services to our clients on an economical, efficient basis. We are, of course, the natural choice for small associations which can’t afford a full-time staff. We offer them professional management and administration on a shared-cost basis. We also offer significant advantages to all associations, regardless of size or budget. They have no investment in equipment; the association pays only for what it needs, as it uses it. We can shift personnel to where they’re needed, for only as long as they’re needed, thus controlling costs. And we can offer better, higher priced experts - such as engineers or communication or membership directors. Clients can get the best, using and paying for services only when they are required.

Why are “counsel and leadership” a consideration?

Few members of associations have the time to do more than give general direction to their association. They depend on staff to generate new ideas, test them on leaders and members, and make certain they are implemented properly. This is a key role for the specialist company. We believe it isn’t enough to just offer economical and efficient services to our clients. We provide leadership and counsel to your key people. With our breadth of experience and constant exposure to new ideas, we are in a strong position to help lead our association clients. 

What do you mean by “continuity of management?”

When an association manager leaves for another job or is unable to work for an extended period, the elected officers are left to find a replacement--a process that can sometimes take weeks or months! Our company avoids that crisis. Management is our ONLY business. If staff personnel changes, we will fill the void...either from within our staff or by undertaking the search ourselves. Our company, not a single individual, is the manager, and always provides continuity. 

Southern Association Services


P.O. Box 801
Macon, GA 31202-0801, US

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