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Coronavirus - Communications Best Practices
Coronavirus - Communications Best Practices

In this impromptu roundtable, we discuss crisis communication and best practices for rescheduling events.

Jenn Norman, CAE avatar
Written by Jenn Norman, CAE
Updated over a week ago

Below are some tips and ideas our customers shared during the roundtable:  

Event Cancellation/Postponement Notifications:

  • Put “Postponed,” “Rescheduled” or “Cancelled” in the event title and also in the event description and page content.

  • Create alerts throughout the site – How-to Article: Alerts

    • Emergency Alert (top navigation bar)

    • One Time Alert - Note, this requires acknowledgement each time a change is made, but you have the capability to link out to HTML links

    • Member Compass Alert 

  • If you have automated email notifications set, remember to turn them 'off' in the Settings tab of the event.

  • If you have automated emails about the event set up through MailChimp or Constant Contact you’ll want to remove/update that within those platforms as well.  

  • Call registered attendees to notify them of the event's postponement/cancellation.


Keep a single blog post with information so that new information can be updated and is kept all in one place. Send out a link to the blog post when updates are made.

Create a shared internal Google doc with event status updates so association staff has the information in one place and can communicate to the members about the status without having to search. 

One customer is holding a virtual Town Hall for members - online via Zoom to talk about what's happening within the industry as well as what's going on with the association. One hour long: 10 minute update on “here's what's going on” and 50 minutes of discussion between members.

Refunds, Credits, Cancellations (consider your Association’s procedures & cancellation policy)

If the event is rescheduled to a later date, consider asking those who already registered & paid if they prefer a credit to go towards the rescheduled event later versus a refund. For several associations that have rescheduled events in the past, many times members would choose to take the credit. 

One association is rescheduling an event but has not set an alternate date yet – they process credits toward the rescheduled event, and once the new date is secured will follow up to find out if those registered can still attend (and process refunds as necessary at that time). 

Another association took a hybrid approach in the past when rescheduling an event. This particular association offered a 50% refund, leaving a credit on the event and the following year the event was larger because of the credit. 

Cancellation Policy

Examples (used with permission)

Event Cancellation Insurance: Be sure to consult with your attorneys or other legal counsel concerning contracts. Here are steps that AE’s on the call were taking concerning event cancellation insurance and hotel contracts:

  • Check for a communicable disease rider in the event cancellation insurance. 

  • Check the hotel contract within the force majeure clause for language such as the word “inadvisable” 

  • It's possible a force majeure clause could apply since the new limit on groups is no more than 50 people, however, one AE heard from another source it may not kick in unless there is a domestic travel ban, or if the local airport were to close down etc.

  • Many venues are being strict on hotel cancellations, but flexible on attrition. 

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