Associations Offer Free Help

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Prevue investigates how meeting associations are helpings members

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption in the industry, and many meeting professionals are experiencing job losses, furloughs or other financial difficulties, we asked meeting associations what they are doing to help their members with dues and grants.

Prevue spoke to several meeting associations, including the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), which has responded to the pandemic by extending its membership term by three months for all levels of membership.

“COVID-19 has impacted industries around the world and associations are no exception,” said Susan Robertson, CAE, ASAE president and CEO. “With many of our members having to cancel face-to-face events and adjusting budgets to compensate for those lost revenue streams, ASAE made the decision to extend the membership term by three months across all membership levels to continue to provide vital resources during this time at no additional cost.”

The Meetings Mean Business (MMB) coalition is offering free of charge training and educational opportunities to its members, as well as leniency with membership dues during the crisis.

“We’ve witnessed, and continue to be moved by, the resilience of our coalition members and the industry at-large during this extremely challenging chapter,” said a spokesperson for MMB. “Some ways that associations like ours can lessen the burden on member companies in the near-term, is by meeting their resilience with flexibility. And while we haven’t yet reached the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s critical that we remain optimistic about where we are going and continue paving the way for recovery.”

PCMA has extended its membership terms during the pandemic and is offering a hardship dues rate to anyone experiencing job loss or financial difficulty.

“In these unprecedented times, our members need resources and upskilling support more than ever,” said Meredith Rollins, executive director of the PCMA Foundation, in a statement. “At PCMA, we have been extending membership terms for those that need it and offering a hardship dues rate to anyone that is experiencing job loss or financial difficulty. The Foundation has added additional scholarships in the fall for both professionals and the supplier community.“

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is providing renewal support to its members with the help of a grant received from the MPI Foundation.

“At Meeting Professionals International, we understand the financial duress that our industry has experienced from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Drew S. Holmgreen, v.p. of brand engagement, MPI. “It’s our duty and responsibility to support professionals in need, ensuring they continue to gain the benefits availed to them through membership at MPI. Thanks to a grant from the MPI Foundation, we’ve been able to provide renewal support to many of our members in their time of need and at zero cost to them. As we advance towards recovery, we will continue to support our members and this industry, which will lead the way in creating economic stability and growth.”

“The right thing for us to pursue was insuring that our community had the resources to remain engaged,” added Kevin Kirby, executive director of the MPI Foundation. “The MPI Foundation is on track to distribute over $560,000 by year end back to members via grants and scholarships that cover the spectrum of membership, professional education and industry relief. By the way, our ability to give is due to the generosity of our donors who constantly support our members and are the backbone of our foundation efforts.”

The Events Industry Council (EIC) has expanded the testing options for its Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification. After completing an application, candidates can now sit for the exam throughout the year, either at a testing center or from their home. Previously, candidates could only take the exam at a testing center during one of four quarterly exam windows.

“The CMP is our industry’s standard of excellence. Now more than ever, we recognize the need that exists to best support our industry and those seeking testing options to take their CMP exam as it suits them best,” said Amy Calvert, CEO, Events Industry Council. “The CMP certification and the support of the global network is a differentiator for those seeking growth career opportunities in their professional journey. We want to support that journey by offering enhanced testing options, particularly during these trying times for our industry. These enhancements allow us to ensure that we are offering timely and accessible testing options.”

EIC has partnered with Prometric, a leader in assessment development and delivery, to deliver the test through its remote assessment delivery solution ProProctor. Each online administration will be monitored by a trained and certified proctor, and the software used to deliver the online exam will be the same as at the testing centers.

EIC is also offering relief support for CMP candidates impacted by COVID-19. A $50 relief is available on the initial application fee and on the certification examination fee, if an applicant has been affected by COVID-19 and has been furloughed, had their position eliminated or experienced a salary reduction.

The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), which is offering the Moira Hearn Memorial Fund to provide financial assistance to SITE members unable to otherwise maintain their membership due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Combining generous donations with contributions from each board, the Moira Fund pays up to 75% of the membership dues of successful applications who set out their reasons, in strict confidence, for needing to avail of the fund to a committee comprising current and former members of the board,” said Carina Bauer, president, SITE Foundation & CEO, The IMEX Group, in a statement. To date, more than 35 SITE members have used the fund.

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