How five UK associations responded to Covid-19

Association news
Published on 25 November 2020

Mid-March when the lockdown started in UK, all organisations were faced with an unprecedented situation that required a quick response while all communication moved online.

Individuals looked at the government and members looked at their associations for guidelines and support. Here’s how five associations, all finalists in the Association Awards UK 2020, in the Best Member Support during Covid19 category, responded to the pandemic:

  1. Association of British Insurers focused on retaining, supporting and raising the profile of its members and associate members. At the end of February, ABI replace their in-person events and organised online updates and sessions with members instead. In March they launched a COVID-19 Hub for insurers and policy holders with relevant announcements and resources and changed their monthly newsletter to a weekly edition. ABI was instrumental in launching a COVID-19 Support Fund, to provide immediate relief to charities affected by COVID-19.
  2. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy formed a "Member & Public Covid-19 response” (MAPCOR) team mid-March, which was tasked with coordinating BACP’s response to the pandemic, anticipate “what comes next” and advise the association, and to evaluate the impact of BACP’s output on their KPIs. Meeting weekly, MAPCOR created  BACP's Covid-19 Hub where all Covid-related efforts were centralised - FAQ pages, newsletters, resources, webinars, a space for members to connect, blog posts, etc. 
  3. The British Society for Immunology created the “Connect on Coronavirus” package of activities, aiming to engage, support and inform members, the scientific community and the public about Covid-19, to influence Government policy and to secure research funding to tackle the Coronavirus. Included in the package were webinar-series, research resources, wellbeing resources for coping with the lockdown and with working from home, government lobbying. The British Society for Immunology also opened the UK-Coronavirus Immunology Consortium, which is government-funded. 
  4. Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, who’s members purpose is to "ensure that all the physical environments in which we work, eat, live and play are safe”, adopted a two-fold strategy: to provide guidelines to professionals on the frontline and to represent the profession to government and its agencies, to whom they provided insights and expertise in developing regulations. To provide guidance to professionals and the general public, CIEH emailed its members as updates and announcements were made, introduced a weekly newsletter, used their blog to explain the new regulations and created a new, dedicated section on their website, and ran over 40 webinars called "Covid-Conversations", which were attended by over 25,000 attendees. 
  5. The Physiological Society’s aim was to provide psychologists with support and to identify ways to minimise the potentially long-term, adverse impact the pandemic and its implications could have on physiology. The Society launched the "COVID-19 Hub" after identifying the member benefits and resources that would be most valuable to members. To ensure the resources in the hub were relevant, they surveyed its members; some of the resources created include online training courses, mental health resources, financial aid for members in difficult financial situations and a plethora of Covid-19 related content distributed via blogs, video, social media and their in-house podcast. 

Overcoming the challenges imposed by the situation, by the unknown and of having to change priorities overnight, associations changed tactics and promptly responded to their members' needs. 

You can find out more about the Assoication Awards UK here, and see the list of finalists here.


Anca Urdea
Anca Urdea

Association of Association Executives