AMC Managed Organizations Are More Stable Than Standalone Organizations – Withdrawn

In September of 2019 we published the results of a study with the title: “AMC Managed Organizations Are More Stable Than Standalone Organizations”. We are withdrawing that study because we learned of an error in our analysis. In short, there were no differences in the frequencies that standalone organizations and AMC-managed organizations change chief staff officers or their office locations.

We wish to thank Nick Bundra, COO of Management Connection, a fellow AMC in Southern California for pointing out our error.

We remain open to all review and critique of our research projects. We are motivated to present important knowledge about association management choices for membership-based organizations.

Leadership Boost for an Underperforming Organization


The board of directors (board) of the California Association of Flower Growers & Shippers (CalFlowers) had become a management committee where the board president, a volunteer member of the board, functioned as the de facto chief staff executive (CEO is the title they use in place of executive director).  The arrangement had been in effect for about eight years.  Shortly following the 2008 to 2010 recession the association had a revenue shortfall and decided to forego hiring a CEO to manage their staff and operations.

In 2012 the association had corrected their revenue challenges and realized they could afford to hire a CEO.  In that same year they also engaged an association expert to evaluate their association and future needs.  The consultant’s assessment was somewhat grave.  He concluded that the association did not reach the thresholds for even simple adequacy in any of the 10 performance areas he used.

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M3AAWG – Foundation for Growth


The Messaging Malware Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) had a very uncertain future when it held its first official meeting in May 2004 in Washington, D.C.  At that first meeting were the five founding members and a number of invited guests from email service providers and their network carriers.

The founding board retained Jerry Upton as their executive director, an experienced industry executive with enough association experience to know that he needed a solid operations and headquarters base to have any chance of growing the organization.

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Board Training

Is peak performance important? Can training and ongoing assessments of performance make a difference in outcomes? Absolutely yes to both questions. Board training does make a difference. It’s almost absurd to even ask these questions, yet one study found that more than half of board members in a national survey stated that their respective organizations did not effectively prepare them for board service.[1]

The above referenced study is both useful and interesting. It’s useful because it provides evidence about how board members experience their time and contributions serving on nonprofit boards of directors. It’s interesting because it largely confirms what most experienced executive directors know from practice. The simple truth is that every nonprofit board can have the onboarding and training they need to improve their contributions and their satisfaction serving in these important roles.

[1]     Association and Nonprofit Boards:  Maximizing Effective Service; © 2017 Heidrick & Struggles:  Project team:  Julian Ha, Bill Hudson, and David K. Rehr

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ABVLM Switched to L&M to Grow


The American Board of Venous & Lymphatic Medicine (ABVLM), previously known as The American Board of Phlebology, was founded in 2007 and experienced a few years of good growth for a new medical board.  However, in 2011 when the board of directors assessed their then-current management and operations solution against the growth challenges they faced to mature the organization, they knew they needed to make a change.

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Are Priorities an Issue for Your Board?

If you are experiencing low board engagement, even in a small subset of board members, it’s more often that board commitment is not a high enough priority for success.

There are a variety of steps you, as the executive director, can take to address the matter of making board member commitment the right priority for success.  Of course, what specific steps to take depends on a number of cultural factors.  This post does not attempt to address culture and the myriad contextual factors that may exist in a specific organization or situation.  But there are some general approaches that have proven useful to me.

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COVID-19 Infection Rates in SF Bay Area Counties

Updated November 29  2020 – As of November 24th the total number of positive tests for COVID-19 in the 6 Bay Area counties reached 120,174. The 6-County daily rate of change was 0.83% (It’s been between 3.29% and .21% since July 14 – the results of the past week doubled over the previous week – for the 3rd week in a row!. We began a new spike in the last week of October!  This rate for the more than 6.6M population of the 6-county area is 1.80%; this is among the lowest for metropolitan infection rates in the country. We’re still in the rainstorm and cannot put away our umbrellas without severe consequences!

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AMC-Client Relationship is Not a Partnership

I recently attended the annual meeting of the AMC Institute in Long Beach, CA.  For a west coast venue, there was good turn out and Long Beach Convention and Visitors’ Bureau rolled out the red carpet.

There was a program this year that resurrected an old topic:  “Trusted Development as a Client Partnership Strategy” presented by Michael Reed of Bloch and Reed (Association Advisors).  Bloch and Reed is not an AMC, so in defining their role with clients as a “trusted partner”, I have no issue.  I continue to have an issue defining the AMC-Client relationship as a “partnership” for the same reasons I did back in April 2009 when I first posted on this topic.  (“AMCs More Like Agents Than Partners”)

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The Value of Selecting an Outsider as Chief Staff Executive

L&M concludes a highly successful six-year engagement providing executive management to the California Association of Flower Growers & Shippers (CalFlowers).  It’s been an honor and privilege to serve the CalFlowers board of directors and membership.  We are grateful for the new friends we made and to have learned about the fascinating cut flower industry.

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