Communication Sent to Chapter Leaders on March 12, 2020:
Dear ARMA Volunteer Leaders,
As you know, things are changing rapidly on the public health front—and we know that you are trying to make decisions on your upcoming events and identify your financial risks.
Per conversations with our legal counsel as well as messaging being put out by the international association & meetings community related to:
- Our community responsibility to members and in response to public health behavioral requests.
- The reputational risk to ARMA International and the chapter.
- Financial liability with regards to contracts – for example: missing deadlines to exit contracts with no or smaller penalties, risking going forward and losing attendance but still having food costs, etc.
- Legal liability of holding events – for example: even if someone makes an elective decision to participate and they contract the virus there is a potential risk for institutional or personal liability depending on the seriousness of the individual’s health impact.
Today, we urge you to:
1. Cancel, reschedule, and/or re-purpose any March and April events as virtual events. For small events, exit contracts that you can before penalty deadlines and renegotiate contracts for a future commitment where able. For larger events, depending on whether your contracts are with national hotel chains, ARMA may be in a position to assist with contract negotiations.
- Sample verbiage for cancellation:
- For the health and safety of our members and all attendees, we are cancelling (meeting name) on (meeting date). Additional information will be provided to paid registrants as soon as possible.
- Sample verbiage for rescheduling:
- For the health and safety of our members and all attendees, we are rescheduling (meeting name) on (meeting date). Additional information will be provided regarding the new meeting date and time and registration fees.
2. For chapter/region events in May where air travel and hotels are not involved. We recommend holding for another week or two BUT sending a message to registrants that more information will be coming.
- Sample Verbiage:
- At the current time, we are monitoring public safety announcements and will update members and registrants on any impending changes.
3. For May-June events involving travel. We recommend holding for another week or two BUT to explore renegotiation now as well as virtual options.
- Sample verbiage for Websites and/or an email communication:
- For the health and safety of our members and attendees, we are rescheduling (meeting name) on (meeting date). Additional information will be provided regarding the new meeting date and time and registration fees.
4. Sponsor Obligations. Look at the sponsor obligations you have with your events and, in the case of cancellations, see if there are ways to re-purpose any obligations to other meetings or events coming up and/or come up with other visibility opportunities, e.g. virtual sponsorship of a webinar.
How ARMA Can Help
Our new CEO Mona Buckley and headquarters staff are in the loop on daily communications from the event and association industry, as well as upcoming communication/webinar from our law firm They will provide additional information/updates weekly to region directors and chapter presidents. In addition, we are evaluating virtual meeting vendors for more complex multi-day events and will get that information out next week.
We all recognize this is an unprecedented situation and the key will be frequent communication all around.
Please reach out to me and/or Mona email@example.com directly, or Tricia and Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org as needed. A region directors call is already scheduled for early next week and additional information will be provided to all volunteer leaders from that meeting.
ARMA International President