The following was contributed by TMG COO Joe Sapp, CAE
Associations and their leaders have a history of facing disruption. Think back to the 2008 financial crisis, then technology disruptions, and now the COVID-19 Pandemic – disruption is everywhere. In each of those disruptions, associations continued to play a key role in their industries. Each of them brought people together, provided essential education and services that advanced industries, and shared a common voice for those who needed it most.
Small and medium-sized associations will continue to face disruption and greater competition from other associations or for-profit firms. Becoming agile and being able to respond to those disruptions is essential. Leaders of those organizations need confidence in their operations and confidence that they have accurate data to make decisions. Most importantly, they need time to be able to analyze and make the best possible decisions for their members and stakeholders.
Through the last several weeks I have spoken to numerous TMG client partner board members about how they are reacting to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Many are facing cancellation or postponement of their annual meetings and the fear that future economic conditions could reduce membership numbers. What I have not heard, is concern over their operations or concern about the continuation of business from their TMG headquarters team. As an association management company serving dozens of associations, we continue to find new and better ways to provide the essential services that an association requires, regardless of the climate.
While our team has moved to a work-from-home structure, our operations have continued. Mail is being processed, committee meetings are taking place and membership renewals are going out. Those may seem like trivial issues but whether your association is large or small, each of them is important. These actions serve as some semblance of normalcy in a world turned upside-down.
Having these rock-solid operations allow the Board to devote full attention to converting its postponed annual meeting into a virtual meeting or to direct focus onto another issue specific to the organization. Most importantly, the TMG teams give hours back to Board members because they don’t need to focus on administrative or operational issues; these hours can then be used by our volunteers to focus on family and what matters most during this Pandemic.