From the Outside, Three Ways Outsourcing

Throughout our 6 Degrees of Associations series, we’ve met with experts in everything from digital marketing to pricing strategies, market research to non-dues revenue strategy.  Along the way, we have also made multiple observations about practices in the private sector and how they could apply to the association market. Alas, there is one obvious way that the private sector can take note from the world of non-profits and trade associations and that is to use more outsourced experts.

That’s right, outsourcing expertise can have tremendous benefits in all areas of your business, and no one adopts this practice more readily and with more trust and empowerment than the association world. Here are three ways outsourcing can benefit your organization:

Cost Savings

This one is the obvious argument made by most service providers, but it is worth repeating. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management states that the average cost to hire an employee is $4,129, with around 42 days to fill a position.  The SBA recommends that to estimate the cost of adding an employee to your payroll you should figure in about 25-40% of their salary on top of what you pay them. Finally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual total turnover rate in 2020 was 57.3%. Sure, you pay a higher hourly rate for an outsourced resource, but the stability of that resource may far outweigh the tax implications and turnover costs of an employee.


Okay but we’re not all financially focused at the expense of people, we get it. However, consider the specific jobs to be done and evaluate how many hats one employee might be wearing versus their productivity. While there are some roles that need to be generalists, a lot of organizations have specific tasks to be done that may not require a full-time employee. Let’s assume an organization needs to have an in-house marketing executive to set strategy and maintain brand continuity and planning, but their social presence may not demand a full time social media specialist. Rather than get an in-house talent who is running between planning your next event and managing your online communities, why not outsource those vastly different skill sets to get the best of each, for the time you need them.

“Untangle the Knots”

In our discussion with Patrick King of Imagine, a brand marketing and digital consultancy, he used this analogy. Often outsourcing key strategic support can help bring an outside perspective that can help untangle the internal knots of overlapping and competing priorities. As well, a company like Imagine can help to unlock key insights that may be missed due to stagnation or sheer burnout from internal employees who have spent too much time in the weeds and are potentially biased by historical knowledge.

Let’s Go

In a time, such as this, when the labor market is drastically changing and technology is disrupting every area of business, finding the right talent for the right task regardless of whether they are on the payroll, or a contract is critical for success. At Advancea, we eat specialization for breakfast. Like a lot of our fellow service providers in the association industry, we are proud to play an important part of many different organizations’ success rather than soak up overhead and time with just one. Regardless of what specialization an agency partner or consultancy can bring, the economies of scale cannot be beat when one team is working across multiple organizations.

What knots need untangling in your organization? What potential needs to be unlocked? Let’s go.

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