By Joanna Lee, Gesmer Updegrove
As the world goes into social lock-down to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus, many conferences, face-to-face meetings, and other in-person gatherings are being cancelled or postponed. While the mass cancellations are disappointing and disruptive for everyone involved, it is potentially devastating for non-profit associations, such as open source foundations and standard setting organizations, that often rely on in-person events to sustain themselves financially, facilitate collaboration and community, and accomplish their non-profit mission and purpose. If you participate in the leadership of a collaborative association that hosts conferences or other large events, you’ll likely find yourself responding to the following situations in the upcoming months:
  • Deciding whether to cancel events
  • Seeking to terminate existing contracts with hotels, hosting venues, and other vendors
  • Negotiating cancellation clauses when entering new vendor contracts for future events
  • Deciding whether to issue refunds to event sponsors and attendees who choose not to attend events that continue as planned
  • Evaluating whether to acquire event cancellation insurance
  • Short-term and long-term planning for how to continue providing value to your members and remain financially viable even if the pandemic
For tips on how to navigate these challenges, please read the Gesmer Updegrove blog post here.