Association Management Companies Are Your Nonprofit's Path To Success
A Portland, Oregon, association executive has acquired that city’s largest traditional association management company for nonprofit trade associations and professional societies.
Geoff Horning, the buyer of Update Management, is a past board and executive-committee member of the Oregon Society of Association Management, and he also served for 11 years as executive director of Oregon AgLink, the former Agri-Business Council of Oregon. Until the purchase, he headed Oregon Hazelnut Industries, an agricultural trade group.
Terms weren’t disclosed. The sellers were Portland owners Michael and Sandra Fisher, who founded Update in 1983.
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Update manages national, regional and state associations. Horning said he’s known the company for almost 20 years, having served as chair of the Oregon Society of Association Management, an Update account.
“I’ve been active in OSAM for a long time,” he said, noting that he “knew a couple of members on staff. They were not aware of the negotiations that were completed a little more than a week ago.”
Horning remarked on the similarities between AMCs and standalone nonprofits while acknowledging he’ll have a learning curve.
“The similarities, I understand association and nonprofit organizations, their challenges, and their goals … they are mission-driven and ultimately they want to be able to provide their members the service their mission requires,” he said. “The difference with an AMC is, where my biggest challenge is, when you have 20 or more clients, you can’t delve as deep into the woods.”
“I’m hoping to learn from my great staff,” he added. No major changes are planned — the AMC plans to remain in its current building with its current staff. “I have no desire to create a shake up of something that doesn’t need to be shaken up.”
Mike Fisher has retired and his wife, Sandra, is staying on until June, per the purchase agreement the parties negotiated.
“The only thing changing is I’m coming in, and Mike and Sandra are going to be golfing, hiking or wine tasting, or whatever they’d like to be doing on that particular day.”
Horning is listed on the website as president and CEO, and he will take the reins of a few of the firm’s 20 nonprofit trade associations and professional societies. “We intend on supplying the same first-class service that Update Management has always provided,” he said.
National associations managed by Update are National Association of Consumer Shows, National Organization for Human Services and Springbrook National User Group.
Regional associations are Financial Planning Association of Oregon & SW Washington, North Pacific Orthopedic Society, Northwest Hydroelectric Association, Pacific Northwest Precast Concrete Association, Pacific Northwest Steel Fabricators Association and Structural Roof Erectors Association.
State associations are Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon, Oregon Association of Health Underwriters, Oregon Building Officials Association, Oregon Dental Hygientists’ Association, Oregon Landscape Contractors Association, Oregon Physical Therapy Association, Oregon Psychological Association, Oregon Association of Defense Counsel, Oregon Society of Association Management, Oregon Society of Health-System Pharmacists and Oregon State Pharmacy Association.