Damian Hutt, executive director, Association of Association Executives.

Raffaella Donadio, scientific affairs manager at the European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care.

“For associations that rely on event revenues and have only got a year’s reserves in the bank it’s uncertain they’ll survive. Those associations that have got a number of years in reserve will have to curtail their activities which are, in effect, financed by the conferences. “Our research has shown that nearly 50 per cent of associations offered their flagship event online for 20 per cent or less – and that’s unviable. Worse than this, some associations said – ‘we’re going to give our event away from free,’ which is a very, very difficult decision to roll back on. “Associations seemreluctant toconsider that the value for delegates is similar, and therefore that the price should be similar, but they must address this and communicate it to their members. “They need to say to their members, ‘look this is valuable content, not just something you find on the internet, we have to research, programme it, we have to guide the speakers, record it, and this costs money. And you must understand that a lot of the activities of the associations were funded by the profits on the conference – so we need to retain the profit element.”

“Associations have been assessing the fact that the model should change and not be based only on the congress as a first, sometimes unique, source of revenue.We were all aware of this, but the pandemic made it clearer and unavoidable. “The real challenge in associations should be creating new services for the community, thus new sources of

I’d like to see an entrepreneurial spirit, and new business models…

income, in order to lower the risk linked to the congress business and increase the offer for the members. I would like to see a new entrepreneurial spirit and renovated business models able to balance and secure revenues. “The aim is not making more profit, the aim is to be able to reinvest in the organisation and continue serving our members andcommunityby creating and sharing knowledge and opportunities, which is our ultimate goal.”


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