Association Field Report (April 7, 2020)



Hi friends, it’s JP with your report from the field today.
Almost every conversation I have with association leaders right now is around membership renewal.
What are you going to do with your renewal statements? It’s one of the hottest topics out there. Some associations are in a fiscal year rather than a calendar year. So, I want to give you some perspective from our experience with The Moery Company as well as some of our association colleagues that we work with and what they’ve learned.
I recently received a notice from my local Chamber of Commerce this week for membership renewal. They have been working harder than ever before on our behalf and they have provided us with information about the SBA loans so the Mount Vernon Lee Chamber of Commerce is getting our renewal. They need it from companies like ours right now more than ever before because they have a lot of members that are struggling and may not be able to pay. So, they invoiced and I paid.
Now, the association component of this: if you use the right tone, if you’re understanding, and if you provide options to pay (such as a deferral or a payment plan) then you will have a message that will be very well received by your members. I expect that, across a number of industries, some of the businesses are flourishing and busier than ever while others are struggling. The gap between those is more pronounced than ever. However, you were actually seeing that during normal business times, right? Some companies were struggling while others were doing well.
My point is, don’t say no for someone else. Set up a good tone, provide plans, provide deferrals and payment options. The number one thing is you want to keep a company engaged and active for your association and you want them to stay a member. Give them the options to do that. It’s important to go ahead and send that invoice because, after all, you got a heartfelt and gracious tone. American businesses are trying to keep things going, why should associations be any different?
If you do decide to delay sending out membership renewals, think about when you will. What is the time frame and what are the conditions that will make you say, “Okay, now it’s the right time to do so!” Who decides that? Are you going to prorate their dues if you don’t invoice them until September of this year? And are you going to offer deferrals and payment plans then? Do you have a plan for when you’re done kicking the can down the road? I know this is an important and critical decision. I also believe that your association is delivering more value and engaging more people than ever before. You’ve earned your keep and other businesses are doing the same. I want you to do this based on the facts in front of you and emotion to get you through this. And I would highly recommend moving forward as much as you can.
Best wishes. I hope it’s helpful. Bye bye.


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