What is Association Management?

Graphic of a person trying to explain association management

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Jessica Campbell Author Profile

Jessica Campbell


My mother asked me the other day, “what do you even do?” I’ve explained my work more times than I can count but she still had no idea what to tell her colleagues when they chatted about their children’s jobs. This is a common issue for those who work in association management, and especially for those of us who work in an association management company (AMC) setting.

After considering the question, I concluded that a basic understanding of association management is needed for the work I do to make sense to anyone who doesn’t live in the association world day in and day out. To get to the heart of it all, I went back to the beginning and contemplated the question, “what is an association management company?”

To answer this question, I first turned to the standard definition from the AMC Institute. “Association management companies, or AMCs, are for-profit businesses that manage associations to help them grow and prosper. They offer the expertise, staffing and resources that allow professional societies, trade groups, not-for-profits and philanthropic organizations to effectively manage day-to-day operations and advance their long-term goals. AMCs deliver high levels of expertise and accountability so that associations can continue to increase their value and relevance to members.”

Now that I have the textbook (or AMC Institute website) definition, I wanted to look at an association management company from an AMC employee’s perspective. Since my explanation of association management didn’t resonate, I turned to my colleagues at AMR Management Services and asked for their definitions. Some of their perspectives are included below.

“An association management company is a professional services firm that “lifts the load” for volunteer leaders of associations and professional societies. We provide infrastructure, expert staff, and proven practices and processes – which allows association leaders to focus more time on leading and governing. At a higher level, our team of association management professionals bring expertise in strategic guidance, vision planning and execution. Overall, an AMC is a partner with a focus on helping associations become efficient, effective and productive organizations that can truly serve their member needs.”

–  DeLaine Bender, CAE, Vice President of Client Services

“An association management company has expert knowledge in all aspects of association management, from membership engagement, conferences, and education to financial services. A company who strives to make their clients as successful as possible.”

– Tracey N. Tucker, Office Administrator

“To me an Association Management Company is a group of experienced professionals who use their combined knowledge, expertise, and experience to tackle all the parts of an association that association leaders usually find difficult to manage so that volunteers with limited time can get past the how to do something and work more on the why.”

 – Mike Cooke, Director of Web Strategy

Which perspective resonated with you? They all share a common theme of providing expert knowledge for the benefit of the association, which is also reflected in the vision, mission, and promise of AMR Management Services. Hopefully this helped you gain a basic understanding and association managements makes sense. Fingers crossed that it works for my mother…

For a deeper dive into the AMC world, check out the blog posts linked below!

Jessica Campbell Author Profile
Jessica Campbell
Project Coordinator

Degrees and Credentials:
B.A in Childhood Studies from Rutgers University & M.S in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum with a PreK – 4 Teaching Certification from Drexel University

Association Management Professional Since:

What inspires you about your work?
I enjoy working with a team to help associations develop their own voice as they grow, thrive, and work towards achieving their goals. I may not be on the front lines effecting change, but I can work from behind the scenes and make a difference in the lives of so many inspiring and passionate people.

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