Global Association Hubs Newsletter – May 2020

This edition concentrates, unsurprisingly, on Covid-19 related issues: where you can access great factual information, in general and from our four partner cities, what associations are doing and thinking about their future direction, and speculative musings about the “new normal” we’re going to face after the initial crisis is past.

I’d like to start with a bold and optimistic statement:
There has never been a time in human history when international association activities have been as critically important.  

True, we face huge challenges to reinvent business models, overcome cashflow and logistical crises, and help members to rebuild their psychological and professional equilibrium. But the potential of international associations to drive positive societal progress should neither be underestimated nor downplayed!  Never before have there been so many dangerous, globally connected, immediate problems to overcome: scientific; healthcare-related; economic; environmental; educational. These are not going to be solved by nation states working with national groups of scientists, economists and business leaders, but by widely-dispersed collaborative projects and innovations, a multitude of experiments, and open and honest sharing of data and results, of successes and failures.

Associations have to step forward and lay claim to this leading role – it will not be handed to us on a plate!  If the last few weeks have taught us anything, it is that the future is not a fixed environment that we have to prepare for, it is an exciting range of possibilities that we will have to proactively invent. 

Martin Sirk
Global Association Hubs International Advisor

You’ll see that we have entirely redesigned our website and newsletter to better showcase our library of valuable resources for our association friends, including a platform for association leaders’ voices, and to make navigation as easy as possible. We look forward to hearing your feedback, and welcome recommendations for new content that you would like to share with your peers about the future of international associations.

Covid-19 resources at your fingertips

Advice includes: Public advice, Country & technical guidance, FAQs, Travel advice, Situation reports, Media resources, Research & development, Strategies, plans & operations and Mythbusters.
Read more »

Global Association Hub partner cities: official Covid-19 advice & resources

If your association is based on one of our partner cities, or you are planning to set up an office or organise a meeting over the coming months or years, you’ll find the very latest updates here:

Brussels | Dubai | Singapore | Washington DC

Global business events industry resources

JMIC and EIC, the two umbrella organisations representing all the main business events associations, have created Covid-19 resource centres through which you can access a vast range of material and advice produced by their member organisations and other partners.  As new global, regional or national guidelines and best practice are developed on how to safely organise live events, they will be available here:

Joint Meetings Industry Council | Events Industry Council

Food for thought!

Imagining the Post-Covid-19 International Association

In this recent Boardroom article, Martin Sirk argues that the successful post-Covid19 association will be one that is extremely agile and flexible, and one that will take roads less travelled.   Associations need to redesign themselves to become “solution engines”, not just “membership machines”, if they want to remain relevant.

Reinventing the Association Wheel

Another thought-provoking Boardroom article by Juanita Vorster, in which she challenges associations to re-think the value proposition of their collective expertise, especially when faced with increasing competition from fast-moving data-hoovering corporations.   Expert human input into AI processes is one fascinating opportunity, as is the ability of association communities to become trusted sources of crowdsourcing wisdom.

Association Laboratory Covid-19 Strategic & Economic Impact Study

Global Association Hubs research partner Association Laboratory has made freely available the complete report of their recent survey, with data and opinions from a wide range of associations, both US and international.  There are some very sobering results here, especially for those associations that either had low financial reserves before the crisis hit, or which depended very heavily on large surpluses from their live events programme.

Particularly worrying is the combination of low levels of event insurance that this survey reveals, and the widely-reported reluctance of insurance companies to pay out on legitimate claims.

But it’s also clear that associations are taking creative, urgent action to redesign their business models, seek out new partnerships, and re-think their digital strategies.

European Association Summit »
10-11 March 2020

EAS was possibly the last international association conference to take place before the world entered our Covid-19 intense lock-down phase, and it’s astounding to reflect back on our thought processes at that time!  With 20-20 hindsight, our simple “no handshakes, no social kissing” rules of engagement sound very naïve, but that was we all believed were sensible precautions.  We are all now significantly older and wiser, and it is unimaginable that our meetings will look like this again, at least for the next year or so!

Having said that, EAS was a great success, with extremely positive feedback on the wide-ranging education programme and networking opportunities.

All the EAS presentations and supporting materials can be found here.

Topics included:

Global Association Hubs organised a “wisdom of crowds” interactive workshop on “Designing the Perfect Partnership Model (for your association)”, which produced the following comprehensive check-list of potential projects or objectives that be addressed using partnership concepts; potential, sometimes surprising partners; value offerings that can be exploited by both your association and your partners; and constraints that prevent partnerships from succeeding.

GAHP is proud to be an official supporter of this not-for-profit advocacy platform for international meetings, which features a wide range of case study stories and research projects related to the societal impact of such meetings, and especially those organised by international associations.  The Iceberg has also collated a valuable selection of Covid-19-related stories related to association perceptions and reactions, and how the business events industry and key destinations are being affected.
Find out more »

Great news for those who are sad about missing out on this year’s IMEX Association Day.  As part of their massive virtual #PlanetIMEX initiative, IMEX have teamed up with ASAE and ICCA to deliver a special association education programme on Monday 18 May.  Invitations to regular attendees were sent out by IMEX on 7 May.   If you didn’t receive an invitation, and are a bona-fide international association executive with strategic or meetings-related responsibility, you can now register here.
All registrations will be vetted by IMEX before approval to make sure only qualified associations participate.

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