Covid-19: Associations in Action

Part Two

In my column last week, I wrote about the speedy and decisive actions that associations here and around the world have done in the light of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.

In all these good practices, the common underlying factors are: (a) direct involvement and hands-on action of the CEO; (b) focused messaging and provision of advisory services in mass communication channels; (c) morale-boosting campaigns to promote the industry; (d) engagement with government on policy support and funding assistance; (e) use of technology to do online events; and, (f) top-of-mind care and helpline for members.

Twenty nine US patient-focused organizations, including the American Lung Association, American Diabetes Association and American Cancer Society, called on the US Senate leadership to pass a Covid-19 response bill enacted earlier by the House, while also pushing for additional measures in a forthcoming legislation. In the Philippines, 22 business organizations and associations wrote an open letter urging the government for the immediate passage of a special law to address Covid-19.

On March 25, President Duterte signed into law the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” that grants him additional powers to implement measures to fight the coronavirus spread.

The US Chamber of Commerce’s “Understanding the Coronavirus” webinar, recorded in partnership with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, discussed the impact of the virus on the private sector and what businesses should consider as they respond. Here, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry has issued an advisory on Covid-19 response guidelines.

The American Medical Association has shared information with doctors via text-based recommendations and live video events, including a Facebook Live discussion that was held recently.

The American Heart Association has a resource webpage, advising caution and preparation for people who have heart disease or who have survived a stroke, as they are among those facing a higher risk of complications from coronavirus.

The Washington, DC-headquartered National Restaurant Association continues to engage with local, state, and federal officials to help employers and employees address this public health emergency through its coronavirus information and resources webpage.

The US Travel Association’s “Emergency Preparedness and Response: Covid-19” toolkit provides guidance to travellers, a guide for communicating healthy travel practices, and other resources.

The Columbus, Ohio-based Council of Development Finance Agencies’ new Covid-19 Resource Center provides a collection of financing programs and resources to address disaster relief and recovery.

The Brussels-based European Society of Association Executives has a dedicated webpage on coronavirus updates that provides measures currently put in place in many organizations in the Eurozone.

In Asia, these are some of the associations that have Covid-19 advisory services for their members: the Asian Federation of Exhibition & Convention Associations, the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers and the Singapore Association for Conventions & Exhibitions Organizers and Suppliers.

While associations, which organize regular meetings, seminars, conferences and exhibitions, and whose revenue streams depend significantly on these events, are all struggling at this time, the general mood is one of positivity and optimism–that while the resilience of the association community is being tested now, it is in fact as strong as ever!


The column contributor, Octavio “Bobby” Peralta, is concurrently the secretary-general of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific and the Founder & CEO of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives. PCAAE is holding the Associations Summit 8 on November 25 and 26, 2020 at the Philippine International Convention Center, which is expected to draw over 200 association professionals here and abroad. The two-day event is supported by Adfiap, the Tourism Promotions Board, and the PICC. E-mail [email protected] for more details on AS8.

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