In Troubled Times, A Message of Hope

Mar 17, 2020


This isn’t the article that I intended to write this week. When nearly every email hitting your inbox is about the nasty impact of the coronavirus, I wasn’t sure that people needed another message on that topic… but to ignore the impact that the current situation is having on membership-based organizations seems like it would be tone deaf.

But this message isn’t about the looming impact of the pandemic, or one full of cautionary tips related to public safety. Those messages ARE important right now, but I think it’s important in the midst of everything that is uncertain and stressful, that we recognize the good that is happening and the true leadership that is being shown by associations, trade groups, and cause communities right now.

When I look around, I see:

1. Leaders putting the interests of people ahead of their own financial concerns and organizational traditions;

2. Leaders stepping up with extraordinary supports to aid members who are facing extended time off work, often without pay;

3. Leaders putting countless hours into understanding the issues and communicating with care and compassion, in a manner that supports rather than creating panic;

4. Leaders collaborating in novel ways and having open discussions across organizations that typically compete for community resources.

5. Leaders making the extremely difficult decisions that need to be made, amidst layers of complications.

I am deeply encouraged by these all of these things. 
Just a couple of years after I started my business back in 2005, our economy was hit by a significant recession. A lot of companies pulled back during that time and it was a scary period of uncertainty for me. 

The thing that was most noticeable to me when we got to the other side of the economic crisis was that my association clients were the ones that had held on strong, that kept right on moving forward despite the odds. 

Back then, I found myself reflecting on why the membership organizations would survive the uncertainty so well and the only conclusion I came to is that I think people need communities of impact during such times. We need each other. We need leadership. We need to feel like we're not alone in weathering the storm.

If you are among the many people who are facing the impact of this COVID-19 situation every single day for your organization, for your family, and for your community, I’m sending to you the utmost respect and admiration.

My team is here… we've been working virtually for 15 years, so for us, the impact on the way we do our work is unchanged.

If we can help you handle the extra workload that comes from transitioning to virtual, or cancelling events, or doing extra member communications, we're available and ready to make this situation easier for you. Just send a quick reply to this email and we can connect right away.

Of course, if you are just head down, doing the work that needs to be done, stay strong and stay well. These storm clouds are temporary and, when you're weary, know that YOU have a community that is here for YOU.


Joy Duling is Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership.  Since 2005, Joy and her team have helped associations, trade groups and membership-based nonprofits run their programs more easily and deliver exceptional member care.

You can find FREE tools, tips and training to help you run and grow your membership organization in The Joy of Membership Help Hub.

Hey there.  I’m Joy Duling, Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership.

Clients hire me to help them design and deliver exceptional member experiences. If you lead an association, trade group, or membership-based nonprofit, you can find FREE resources to help you run and grow your membership organization by visiting here:

I look forward to connecting with you there.