Contents: Guidance - - Feedback - Tradeoffs - - Resources - - Relationship - - Terms - -
The agreement between your association and the Leipper Management Group (LMG) is a commercial contract. We may have a formal, detailed, and written contract reviewed by lawyers or we may have an informal verbal contract perhaps supplemented by a letter of understanding. The form of the contract does not change the fact that it must comply with all applicable laws and is enforceable on all parties to the contract. The general idea is that LMG will provide services to your association and your association will support those efforts and pay amounts billed by the LMG.
Much of what is needed for successful teamwork with your association management company is exactly the same as needed for teamwork with your peers and other volunteers in the association. Please check our Dear Association Leader Archives for bulletins for discussions about these and related issues.
Ideally, all services would be based on association policies and budgets that are published and accepted by the Board as indicated in meeting minutes. These policies and budgets would be thorough and there would be no unexpected circumstances or surprises. Reality is usually a bit different. There is always a need for some flexibility but this flexibility should not extend to major operational policies. The Board needs to perform effectively to make sure that its service providers know when to go along with a particular officer or director and when to make sure that there is Board approval for some action. The Board needs to delegate effectively and make sure that all members of the team know what the other members are supposed to do and the limits on areas of responsibility. When the association changes leadership, the Board should moderate policy and operational changes to make sure that there is an effective balance between the enthusiasm and ideas of the new leadership and a proper prudence in changing the course of the association.
Effective guidance is not a set and forget type thing. As the journey progresses, feedback is needed to adjust the course and keep it on track. People who are angry or not aware of their emotions and feelings are not in a good position to offer feedback. Feedback helps point out the guideposts on the trail, reinforces proper action, and provides concrete and constructive suggestions about how best to achieve goals and objectives.
There are always tradeoffs in getting the job done. Doing things in a hurry usually means an increased probability of error and trying to avoid that error can be expensive. Smaller associations are often not able to garner the cost benefit of mass production which can also be expensive on a per item basis. Proper planning and a familiarity with the actual costs and tradeoffs can help an association avoid inappropriate expectations and unpleasant surprises.
Without the necessary resources there is unnecessary expense. The most important resources an association can provide, after the capital needed to pay the bills, are volunteers and information. And it is information that is most often the lacking resource. It takes effort to convey and communicate information. Giving away information is also a giving away of power. But all members of team must know who is doing what and who is supposed to be doing what and where everyone is going and how they are going to get there in order to get the maximum result for the minimum cost. Any time a question cannot be answered simply, there is a cost. Any time someone takes an action based on incomplete information, there is a risk of unneeded expense or improper action. You must be able to trust your association management company with the information needed to get the job done for you.
In working with small associations run by volunteers who do not have much experience at the corporate executive level, LMG finds a number of common situations where association leaders can harm their association by poor business relationship management. At LMG, we understand these problems and consider it a part of our business to provide education that will minimize their effects and costs.
Business services must be valued in the competitive marketplace. Association Directors should make sure they know what it costs to purchase the services needed and not use what they think those services should cost as a basis for decisions.
LMG is hired to help with association business - not the association to help LMG with its business. The association's means to evaluate service business overhead is not to delve into the internal affairs of its service companies but rather to solicit bids for services and to compare what competing companies offer.
The association purchased experience and expertise for its needs. Association leaders are obligated to use and accept what was purchased. They should respect the expertise and expense hired by their association and avoid thinking they know better (their better knowledge should be used to sell the Board on its selection of services. Once the Board decides, then the duty of loyalty requires that the decision be accepted).
Cordiality, respect, and good communications work best to develop effective teamwork. Take a positive approach and seek to fix problems and we will get the job done together most effectively.
The association board controls the association. Make sure to provide effective direction and oversight to make sure that association goals are met. If there is a perception that the Leipper Management Group is not working within a proper scope or providing desired services, then communications, feedback, and, perhaps, better guidance is needed from the Board and its officers.
Association leaders inherit customs, policies, and partners and should honor them appropriately. LMG's client is the association and not any particular association leader or delegate. It does no one any service to put LMG in between the expressed policy of the Board and the desires of any particular officer or director or association member.
Keep in mind that your success is our success. We don't compete with you and we aren't out to do you harm. Our goal is to make your association successful so we can share in your accomplishment and you can continue to purchase our services. Without associations like yours we would not have a business!
LMG association management service fees are payable in advance each month. If the sum of three months payments is less than $500, payments may be made quarterly. The costs for standard services are heavily dependent upon communications costs. LMG reserves the right to adjust these costs either up or down as changes in postage rates, telecommunications, or other cost changes are encountered.
The association billing cycle will be monthly or quarterly determined by the frequency of payment for services. The billing cycle determines how often membership solicitations will be sent and membership reports will be prepared.
The statement must be paid in full within thirty (30) days of the billing date
In the event that of failure to pay the balance of the account in full when due, a monthly administrative charge of 2% of the unpaid balance or $5.00, whichever is greater will be assessed.
LMG reserves the right to withhold rendering additional services until the account is made current.
A retainer or security for payment of fees may be required prior to commencement of services beyond the initial interview where the services to be rendered are estimated to exceed $500.00 in value.
LMG may find it necessary to increase hourly rates or other fees and will provide at least sixty days notice of such change. The client will, at that time, have the option to retain other assistance.
Acceptance of this agreement indicates direct personal responsibility for all fees and costs billed for requested services regardless of the fact that a third party may ultimately agree or be ordered to pay some portion of said fees and costs. Client agrees to pay reasonable attorney's fees in the event that litigation becomes necessary to collect any amounts pursuant to this Agreement.
LMG has the right to associate any other assistance deemed desirable in the handling of client matters. The client further understands that LMG does not render advice about taxation or legal matters and that LMG recommends that such advice be obtained from properly qualified firms.
The Leipper Management Group Leader's Guide - About the business of running an association.
The Leipper Management Group Director's and Officer's Orientation Guide - What are the responsibilities and duties of association officers and directors.
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