This paper reports the results of a study examining the rates of change in the length of chief staff executive tenure and of turnover in office locations of membership-based organizations for the period 2009 to 2015. The study sample was 396 randomly selected associations from 9 of the most populous states and the District of Columbia.
The results of each case were surprising. They revealed much higher frequency of turnover in standalone organizations compared to organizations managed by Association Management Companies (AMCs). As the chart above shows, standalone organizations changed their chief staff executives more than 10-times more often than AMC-managed organizations. This study may finally reveal evidence explaining why AMC-managed organizations outperform standalone organizations in key performance indicators. Download full report.
The study was conducted in 2018 as part of a commissioned project to investigate the incidence of membership-based organizations “going virtual.” For purposes of the study, “going virtual” was defined to mean that standalone organizations ceased to have a physical office, and staff worked remotely, presumably from their homes. It was not possible from the documents examined to come to any conclusions about the state of organizations going virtual. However, we discovered two interesting findings about the rates of change in chief staff executives and in the location of associations’ headquarters.
Our accidental findings: Standalone organizations with annual operating revenue of $.5M to $2.5M changed their chief staff executives three times more often than AMC-managed organizations of the same revenue size. More dramatically, standalone organizations with annual revenue of $2.5M to $5.0M changed their chief staff executive ten times more frequently during the seven year period.