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An Open Letter to Association CEOs

Dear Association CEO,

The next 90 days will be THE make or break period for many associations.

Having worked with trade and industry associations for the past 20 years, I believe this moment presents the greatest opportunity and most serious threat to your organization and the underlying business model of all associations.

Here are five reasons why:

  1. Operating revenue is being decimated.
  2. Virtual events are just scratching the surface of their full potential to generate revenue.
  3. Few associations have reserves that will cover operating costs for more than twelve months.
  4. Internal teams are under significant pressure, and many lack the expertise and experience required to navigate these unprecedented times.
  5. Association executives often don’t have the trusted external advisors they need to navigate through the uncertainty.

Now is the time to introduce new sources of revenue.

Now is the time to expand your membership and introduce a new generation to your association.

And now is the time to plan for the most successful 2021 hybrid event that your organization can deliver.

I firmly believe we are on the verge of an association renaissance. Thoughtful strategy, clear-headed and decisive planning, and strong, confident leadership are what every organization needs in times of uncertainty, risk, and chaos. Now, more than ever, decisive leaders will prevail.

For strategies on how to overcome these challenges and lead your organization during these difficult times, visit I wish you great success, and, knowing many of you as I do, I am encouraged by what I know will be a period of renewal coming from the decisions you make these next 90 days.

With respect,

Don's signature

Don Neal

P.S. If you’d like to talk further about the ideas I mentioned above, email me at

Don Neal

Founder & CEO

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