Want to stay up to date in the association world? This blog will provide you with news about members, industry updates, trends and more!
MSAE is excited to welcome Tobi Lyon, MBA, to our Board of Directors! Take a moment to get to know Tobi and what she brings to our organization.
More than 175 industry professionals joined us for the Safe Meetings in Michigan Virtual Conference, held June 16-17. It was a truly fascinating learning experience, which sought to discuss and address the gorilla in the room; what would the future of conferences and meetings look like for the rest of 2020 and beyond?
These days, risk management is top of mind for association leaders. Last week, I had the opportunity to discuss event risk management with Jeff Tenenbaum. Jeff is one of the nation's leading association attorneys. He (literally) wrote the book on association tax compliance and currently sits on ASAE's Legal Advisory Council. Because Jeff is deeply involved in association issues, he's an excellent resource on some of the more complex and highly specific scenarios that associations are navigating.
During our conversation, Jeff made it clear that both associations and venues have a duty of care to host our members safely at face-to-face events in the context of COVID-19. He encourages associations to endeavor to obligate venues to take on significant, specific responsibilities to keep attendees safe - perhaps in the form of an addendum to the original contract that would, ideally, include indemnification of the association. (This may be more than venues are willing to do so we should expect some give and take on this.) Jeff also suggests it's a good idea to check in on your general commercial liability insurance policy to ensure that it contains legal defense coverage. All the better if the venue will also name the association in its general commercial liability policy.
MSAE's Annual Meeting will be held on August 4, 2020, beginning at 12 PM at the Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center - I hope you will join us! We have some important items on the agenda including the election of new directors to the board, the ratification of a revised set of bylaws, and an update on the State of the Society.
MSAE's Board of Directors unanimously supported the slate proposed by the Leadership Identification Committee, chaired by Denise McGinn, CAE. The slate includes Steve Pontoni of the Michigan Association for Justice and John Tramontana, CAE, of the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association, who stand nominated to fill two open seats, both with three-year terms. Barring the petition of any write-in candidates from Active Members, the slate will be accepted as presented at the Annual Meeting.
COVID-19 has completely changed how members view meetings and events. For as long as there are still new cases across the country, potential conference attendees are going to hesitate to join a few hundred (or thousand) of their peers in a singular location and sit in big rooms with other people. While we’re certainly headed in the right direction in many locations (particularly Michigan!), we’re not anywhere close to being out of the woods.
How will association revenue be impacted by COVID-19? Membership? Revenue from education and meetings? We're all asking these questions and modeling various scenarios as we work through budget projections and chart the path forward. MSAE recently partnered with the Association Societies Alliance and Dynamic Benchmarking on a COVID-19 Impact Survey to get some perspective on these questions.
The survey focused on four key areas: staffing, professional development budget, gross revenue, and membership. Here's what stood out to me as I reviewed the results for the US and Michigan:
Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem fair. As an organization, you spent some big money on a new website to make your association (or company) shine online. But, it’s been a few years now. That shine has begun to wane, as design trends have inevitably changed. The site doesn’t load like it used to, and organic search, once your domain’s strong suit, has become anemic for even the most apt search terms.
So, are you sunk? Probably not. We’ve found two excellent tools to help you gauge where your website’s weaknesses are and how to address them. Best of all? These tools are 100% free.
The events of the last ten days evoke strong feelings in all of us. But feelings do not an authority make. I am acutely aware that I do not possess the life experience nor the knowledge to speak credibly on the matter of racial inequity. So, I will simply invite you to join me as I work to overcome my own ignorance.
The Michigan League for Public Policy made a decision several years ago to apply a racial equity lens to the anti-poverty work that was at the heart of their mission. Emboldened by the knowledge that the disparities in health, wealth and well-being that they seek to eradicate are largely a result of racism that has been enshrined in public policy over the course of U.S. history, MLPP created the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge It's designed to be a personal exploration of racial equity taken in over several weeks.
I hope you’ll consider joining me.
I like to start out my client meetings with “tell me about your organization” and “tell me about your event.” These questions don’t directly impact the Audio Visual quote that I will later write, but the answers are invaluable as to how my team approaches the look, feel, suggestions, and options that are available to our clients. Plus, honestly, it’s one of my favorite parts of this job – learning who we are supporting, and why they do what they do. It’s usually extremely rewarding to know how we are helping to get the message out and successfully meet the event goals.
Given the uncertainty of the pandemic, ORGPRO was always going to look different in 2020. On our call, we went over why we’re offering a hybrid conference, with a virtual experience to complement the option of attending in-person. The conversation was enlightening in a variety of ways, but in two polls we conducted during the call, it was clear that many executives share similar attitudes and concerns about the future of their events.