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There’s an awful lot happening in the greater environment that impacts associations. Here are three issues association leaders will want to be aware of:
Several weeks ago, President Trump signed an Executive Order issuing a temporary payroll tax deferral for the employee portion of Social Security taxes from September 1 through December 31, 2020. The order applies to "any employee the amount of whose wages or compensation, as applicable, payable during any bi-weekly pay period generally is less than $4,000, calculated on a pre-tax basis, or the equivalent amount concerning other pay periods." The EO has created many questions for employers. How does one define an "eligible employee"? Is eligibility affected by employees holding more than one job, employees changing jobs, the employer opening or closing during the period, etc.? How are wages or compensation defined - inclusive of bonuses, vacation payouts, overtime etc.? While Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has said the order is voluntary, voluntary for whom - the employee or the employer? The US Chamber has stated that, in the absence of further guidance, it's unlikely employers will implement this order. There's also been considerable concern expressed about this being a deferral, which means the bill will come due unless the President and Congress act to offer amnesty. All of this ambiguity leaves association leaders (and employers) in the unenviable position of potentially having to explain to employees why they do not see the extra money in their paychecks they'd heard about. Listen in to this podcast from the Journal of Accountancy for more details.
In the past several years, there has been an explosion of website accessibility lawsuits leaving many associations scrambling to figure out if their websites fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act. (All associations with an internal or public-facing website should evaluate whether their websites must comply with the ADA.) Some experts suggest that all websites be ADA compliant - here's a 4-minute podcast explaining this issue. The current groundswell for organizations to demonstrate a real commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) creates another compelling reason for leaders to evaluate association programs and services' accessibility.
Enter COVID-19 on the scene - associations are now creating thousands of hours of live and recorded content. Are associations required to closed caption all of their live and recorded virtual content (videos, webinars, conferences, etc.)? Should association content be closed captioned to improve accessibility for members and customers? The answer to these questions should likely be consistent with each association's response to website ADA compliance. Association leaders should explore this issue with legal counsel, key association personnel, and, potentially, boards. ADA compliance and closed captioning are not just critical risk management issues that add cost and complexity to association programming and marketing efforts. They are also a visible reflection of an organization's commitment to accessibility and DE&I.
The pandemic caused many associations to take their trade shows into the virtual realm. The IRS views virtual trade shows differently from in-person ones, so this shift could result in shows being subject to unrelated business income tax (UBIT). Until the IRS offers further guidance, useful direction may be gleaned from that which was provided in 2004. Association leaders seeking to mitigate UBIT should be mindful of how shows are scheduled (limited in length versus perpetual), structured (keeping the focus on information-sharing, education, and networking) and promoted with regard to the purpose (stimulate interest in industry products and/or educate attendees on changes or innovations in them). Venable, LLP, offers useful insight here.
On Wednesday, March 9th, MSAE President Cheryl Ronk will be honored with ASAE's first ever Association Political Leadership Award at American Associations Day. The award will be presented by John H. Graham IV, president and CEO of The Center for Association Leadership. The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.
The Association Societies Alliance's (ASA) newly approved annual leadership award has been named after and posthumously awarded to the late Shane Yates, CAE, CMP, CTA, former executive director of the Ohio Society of Association Executives (OSAE). This award honors his memory and contributions to the association sector after he unexpectedly passed away this spring.
This can't miss edition of Association IMPACT Magazine features profiles of the 2016 Rising Leaders Award Winners, insight from Cheryl Ronk, CAE on the changing role of meeting professionals and checkpoints to an extraordinary association.
MSU fans are excited. Miles Bridges, a stand out freshman basketball player, has decided to stay at Michigan State University for his sophomore year and continue to play ball versus going to the NBA.
One of the principle roles of associations is to advocate on behalf of their memberships before the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.
As associations move past the early response phases to COVID-19 and plan for an uncertain future, there is a lot of conversation around how to analyze business lines and develop business models. While there are many different approaches to doing so, the Business Model Canvas is a deceptively simple tool that captures a business model's building blocks in a useful, one-page snapshot
The BMC is a visual organizer that focuses on the essential aspects of a business model and allows the user to appreciate the relationships among those aspects. The Value Proposition is central to a strong business model, and it is oriented as such in the tool. Also inherent in the tool's design are both sides of the balance sheet. On the right side of the BMC, are those aspects of the business model that relate to revenue generation: Customer Segments, Customer Relationships, Channels, and Revenue Streams. On the left side of the BMC are the aspects that have costs associated with them: Key Resources, Key Activities, Key Partnerships, and Cost Structures.