Research: COVID-19 and Beyond: Lessons for Associations from the COVID-19 Crisis

426 associations participated in this comprehensive research project that provides insight into the current and future impact of the COVID-19 crisis on associations. Learn what associations did, what they learned, and what insights we need to integrate into our future planning processes. The report includes a “what did we learn” section to enable you to gain a quick overview of what you need to know when planning for the future.

Download your PDF copy at COVID-19 and Beyond: Lessons for Associations from the COVID-19 Crisis Report.

Click here to Watch the Webinar Here.

Click here to Download the Slides to go with the webinar.

VIDEO: “Sponsorship Update June 2020: Who’s Sponsoring Associations This Month?”

This past month has seen a number of really exciting sponsorship and partnerships proceed. In this session Julian Moore will talk about what sponsorship deals are closing, who is currently looking to sponsor, how best to approach, and opportunities that are currently available for associations seeking sponsorship funds. In this session Julian shares the highlights on what’s happening in sponsorship this month.

Watch the video

Research – Impact of COVID-19 on Associations

We are running a comprehensive research project seeking to understand the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on associations, how they have responded, and what the future will look like for associations post-COVID-19.

A comprehensive report will be emailed directly to all participants.

The turnaround on this survey will be quick to ensure insights are out (and able to be applied) quickly.

Please help us get the best possible outcomes by taking a few minutes to complete the survey found at this link: 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QW3HKRK

WHITEPAPER – Rise!

This pandemic crisis will gravely impact the health and livelihoods of many. However, it also creates the need to build union capacities even more pressing. This paper, written by Belinda Moore and Chris Walton, explores the current landscape for unions in Australia and outlines innovative pathways forward for unions to more effectively empower Australian workers.

Download the whitepaper

Watch the presentation

Online Community for Association Professionals

A new community for association professionals has launched at www.answers.net.au.

With an interface similar to Facebook, this site is a collaborative effort by the association community to develop a piece of software that will enable associations to build better online member communities.

By creating a site that meets the needs of association professionals, we are also creating a piece of software that will suit the needs of their members.

This site already has a number of innovative features. For example, any site participant can connect to the payment gateway (in about 1 minute) and generate income through the site (eg: by running their own events, selling resources, selling products).

Soft launched in late April 2020, there has been strong feedback and engagement from the over 400 association professionals already on the platform. As a result, after you log-in, you will see a lot of new features and functionality going live each week.

We recommend heading across to www.answers.net.au and taking a look for yourself 🙂

VIDEO: “Reshaping Associations – The Impact of the Pandemic on Membership Models”

In this webinar Belinda will discuss how the gradual shift from traditional membership models (service provider models) to community membership models (including subscription models) has accelerated with the pandemic. This session will cover the major factors impacting change and how different are adapting their membership models to the new operating environment.

Watch the video.

VIDEO: How to Create Your Association Partnership Recovery Program

This is a recording of the 45 minute webinar run on Friday 3 April 2020. COVID-19 has decimated the traditional funding sources of many associations. With events and their associated sponsorship in disarray for the foreseeable future, associations are scrambling to deliver enhanced services to members remotely and remain financially sustainable. Sponsors are facing their own challenges. Organisations that traditionally provide sponsorship are currently more concerned with what will happen to their staff and adjusting to the new operating environment. When they do begin looking at new opportunities, they will be assessing them by their ability to generate a strong measurable return to help them rebuild their momentum. Now is the time to retain your existing sponsors and, as the timing becoming appropriate, ensure your partnership program is ready to come back with a bang. In this webinar, Julian Moore, Australasia’s foremost association sponsorship practitioner, will discuss how other associations are successfully adapting their offerings and the key steps needed to create your partnership recovery program to ensure strong revenues into the future.

Watch the video.

Download the slides.

VIDEO: Creating a Pandemic Management Strategy for Your Association

This is a recording of the 45 minute webinar run on Friday 27 March. In the association sector, the wide-spread cancellation of events is having a major impact on the financial sustainability of many associations. We are already experiencing a massive flow across the economy as a myriad of jobs and other opportunities that associations support are being lost. Association staff are having to grapple with cancelling major events (some at very short notice), moving CPD online, and managing member concerns. “Business as usual” isn’t an option. Most of the people I’ve heard from are concerned about balancing helping members with the need to ensure their financial sustainability. Without a doubt, these are challenging times. But now is also an opportunity for associations to fulfill their primary purpose by being a beacon of hope and support for their communities. In this webinar, Belinda discusses the practical steps associations can take to effectively assist their members and secure the sustainability of their association.

Click here to watch the video.

Click here for a PDF copy of the slides.

Free Pandemic Management Strategy Template for Associations

Business as usual is not an option in 2020. Associations wanting to navigate through this crisis need a clear, simple, and focused strategy that delivers powerful value for members while also securing the sustainability of the association. To assist with this, we’ve developed a free Pandemic Strategy for Associations template for associations to use as a starting point for developing their plan for this crisis. Click here to download your copy.

These are the times associations are made for

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt by everyone throughout our community.

We are all dealing with challenges we could not have imagined just a month ago. The whole toilet paper shortage was funny at first. Then I ran out of paper. It got dramatically less funny with each additional store I visited. It became deadly serious when it was apparent that many of the most vulnerable in our society were not able to access this essential item.

In the association section, the wide-spread cancellation of events is having a major impact on the financial sustainability of many associations. We are already experiencing a massive flow across the economy as a myriad of jobs and other opportunities that associations support are being lost. Association staff are having to grapple with cancelling major events (some at very short notice), moving CPD online, and managing the concerns of members.

Download a free Pandemic Management Strategy Template

Register for the free webinar on Creating A Pandemic Management Strategy

“Business as usual” isn’t an option. Most of the association leaders I’ve heard from are concerned about how to balance helping members with the need to ensure their association’s financial sustainability.

Without a doubt, these are challenging times. But now is also an opportunity for associations to fulfil their primary purpose by being a beacon of hope and support for their communities. Associations are doing this by:  

  • Demonstrating strong leadership – People are scared. Their businesses, livelihoods and loved ones are at risk. Through your daily actions and communications give them the confidence that you are in control of the situation.
  • Being the source of truth – People need up-to-date information on the issues that affect them. Be the source of truth by proactively gathering and validating information – then share it quickly on all possible mediums. Become the hub of information on what’s happening. Sharing the government’s latest health information with added messaging as it pertains to your members is a great start.
  • Facilitate connections between members – Your community don’t just want to be passive recipients of information. Provide a mechanism that enables members to share their stories, ask for help, and offer support. This could be something as simple as a Facebook group specific to the pandemic.
  • Actively manage your cashflow – If you don’t have the reserves to carry you through, now is the time to work on your cashflows. Negotiate with the tax office for a delayed payment on your BAS, remove unnecessary upcoming costs, and organise payment plans for other bills. Take the opportunity to shed costly programs that are no longer relevant to members.
  • Deliver tangible value to members that need it most – Identify the most significant challenges each of your member segments must overcome in the coming months. Develop and deliver solutions for those members who need it most. Potentially, there may be opportunities to generate new revenue streams from developing innovative solutions to contribute to you being able to achieve this sustainably.
  • Plan your sponsorship recovery strategy now – Your sponsors will be experiencing the same negative impact as your association and are currently pulling back. When they return to the market their objectives will be different, and you will need to adapt your offering accordingly. There will be significant opportunities available for those who have tailored solutions to answer these needs ready to go. You should already be planning your sponsorship recovery strategy.

There are some silver linings to this crisis. For us, it’s a re-evaluation of how we deliver our services. Jumping on a plane is not an option right now, so we’ve had to make changes. We’ve supported clients via video, teleconference, and email occasionally in the past. Now, with social distancing an imperative, we’ve moved all our services to these platforms for the time being, and it’s working well so far.

If you’d like to talk to us about sponsorship, partnerships, strategy, revenue generation, or membership for your association (or even just have a chat about things) email belinda@smsonline.net.au and we can arrange a time for a chat.

There are tough times ahead and by working together we will get through this. I hope that you, too, will find your silver lining amongst everything that is happening.