( The Packer )

Churches, corporations, restaurants, schools, and practically every American institution have been challenged by the coronavirus.

Industry associations, as well, have been hurt by the inability to hold in-person events.

No one knows what is around the corner, but we do know that determined and optimistic produce association leaders will make well-considered decisions to strive to serve the needs of their members.

What that will look like isn’t clear.

A report that by the International Congress and Convention Association took a survey of associations around the world and found that associations are considering various options in response to COVID.

A change in membership models or fees was cited by 42% of respondents, according to the survey. Also being looked at are rethinking meetings (47%), online education offerings (43%) and sponsorship strategies.

The report said 60% of association respondents said their members “are telling them that virtual meetings have limiting factors compared to physical options.” Association members polled by the survey said the top things they most like about face-to-face meetings are opportunities to meet new people and to feel a sense of community.

The sophistication of digital events is growing every day, but there are parts of in-person events that can’t be easily replicated.

I posed this question to the LinkedIn Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group: 

How will COVID-19 and the lack of in-person events in 2020 affect the path of industry trade associations going forward?

Here are the responses from 74 votes so far, with a couple of days of voting left:

  • New funding models required: 19%;
  • No change - normal in 2021: 5%;
  • Mergers more likely:  20%;  and
  • Expansion of digital content: 55%

What is your view?


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