How Association Leaders Are Pivoting Their Organizations – Notes From Our Covid19 Executive Leader Round Table



Last week we hosted a COVID-19 Roundtable with association executives and asked them what was working, and what was not working, in various areas of their operations. There was a lot of valuable information shared that we compiled into an executive summary and we wanted to share it all with you. Feel free to reach out to us (via the form at the bottom of this page) and let us know if we could help you in the areas of membership, sponsorship, and business development.

  • People are hungry for information and they are willing to pay for it, especially if you are ahead of the curve in delivering pertinent information. There is exceptional value in providing leadership and visionary thinking.
  • Reach out to members and non-members with compassionate messaging. Checking in on people builds relationships.
  • Membership fees are a key driver that enables associations to go to do work for their members. Associations are demonstrating more value than ever before during these uncertain times. Some are sending out their renewal notices earlier than usual because of increased communication and delivery of value to their members.
  • Renewals are still happening. Some are offering deferred payments, partial payments, lowering of dues for certain levels, and temporary complimentary access so long as the member stays engaged.
  • Associations have opened up their information portals for non-members as a public service. Some non-members are ready to join as soon as they are able to do so. Capture names and contact information of those showing interest and using the free information so that they can be converted once things “open” back up. It’s not going to be free forever.


  • Associations are converting face-to-face meetings to virtual platforms for content delivery and networking.
  • Need to be mindful that not everyone will be available to sit through full day events. Some meetings and delivery will have to be split into smaller chunks and spread over multiple days to accommodate work-from-home schedules and shorter attention spans.
  • Use webinars, and other virtual delivery platforms, to build awareness of your association’s capabilities and develop relationships with members and non-members.
  • The question is, “How do we provide our members a platform to do business now and for the foreseeable future? What’s the best platform?”

Virtual Networking

  • Segment groups for smaller more focused virtual networking events. Use the opportunity to pair members and partners to help both solve common problems and reach common goals.
  • Partner and facilitate discussions/events by interest, goals, problems, age group, region, etc.

Virtual Events – Security Concerns

  • Some firms have forbidden the use of Zoom over security concerns. Organizations are using Microsoft Teams and GoToMeeting, to name a few, for secure connections.
  • Some are using voice conference calls if screen share is not necessary.


  • Sponsors perceive the value of virtual events to be lesser than one of face-to-face meeting; the dollar commitments are lower because of this. Some associations are accommodating the lower spend with the understanding that the cost will increase back to pre-Covid19 pricing the following year.
  • Send out “thank you” communications to annual sponsors as well as providing sponsor information to members should they need to use the partners’ goods and services.
  • Broker special calls for members and sponsors.
  • Not all is lost. Some partners/sponsors have more funds available because of the lack of travel and events.
  • Sponsors still want to spend money to continue reaching your members.
  • Diversify your sponsorship portfolios to include digital and yearlong opportunities.

Government Relations

  • There is a heightened awareness of government relations value. Some associations are truly differentiating the value and effectiveness. Some companies are hiring lobbying firms for the first time ever.
  • Member engagement is up for associations that focus on advocacy.


  • Days are much longer, there’s no longer a nine to five.
  • More phone conversations are happening. People are seeking out human connections.
  • Business conversations are now less about Covid19 and the initial panic and now focus on, “We’re in it now. What do we do to keep moving forward?”

P.S. We’ve recently launched an Association Stimulus Package to help associations not only survive but also thrive during these turbulent times.
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