Research Helps Association Minimize the Damage of Pandemic Event

Timely Member Feedback Assists Association React, Adapt and Survive!


During the first few months of the 2020 COVID pandemic, an international association wanted to learn more about what type of impact the COVID pandemic would have on their association and their membership.  In addition, they wanted to identify specific areas where their members may need assistance and how the association could offer the most support and best represent the members during this time.

No matter how well a company or association is prepared for a market disruption, there is no way to be completely prepared for a global pandemic.  When dramatic shifts in the market occur, organizations must react quickly and adapt or change to meet current conditions.  Timely and targeted research can help organizations identify key issues and find solutions to maximize their ability to survive major disruptions in the market.

A short turn-around for this research project was critical to providing the association with a strategic plan to help members and the association survive.  Since the project was for an international association, the research plan needed to include not only the U.S and Canada but other areas of the world including; Asia, Europe, Mexico, South American and the Middle East. In addition, the association wanted to measure members’ satisfaction with their response to the pandemic and ability to communicate and support members.


To provide a quick turn-around on the research, AIM recommend the association use a simple short email survey with no more than twenty questions. To “boost” response, AIM recommended the association President would notify their membership of the research prior to distribution and strongly encourage all members to participate. In addition, only members who participated in the research were offered a summary report with the findings.


AIM worked with the association to develop a survey instrument that would identify the specific type of issues that COVID caused, how much impact they had and how long members anticipated they would last. Not only did the research measure the impact on member sales but on nine other areas of members’ businesses: supply chain disruptions, reduced productivity, worker safety and their need for financial assistance. The research also helped the association evaluate how the pandemic might impact the services, meetings, education and certification/accreditation programs they offer members.

To make it easier for global members to participate, AIM translated the survey into Chinese, Spanish and Korean. AIM handled the survey design, data collection, analysis and report.  This ensured all individual responses remained confidential. To help get results within a short time period, the association distributed survey invitations and reminders to eliminate bounced or blocked emails.


AIM was able to complete the entire project within 4 weeks with over a hundred responses for a response rate from 15% of members with 57% of countries represented.  The research provided the association with a clear understanding of how the pandemic was impacting members’ business and feedback on how the association could best support them over the next year.  The research also uncovered future business opportunities for members and ideas for how the association could increase member participation for their meetings and programs.

Today there is a lot of talk about how artificial intelligence (AI) and how ChatGPT can be used for business. While AI can be used to do some preliminary research on a specific market or situation, it can’t necessarily provide organizations with the targeted market intelligence they need to react and adapt to major changes in the market.  As presented In a blog titled, What To Do About ChatGPT for Planning Business Strategy technology can’t tell you what to do because it has limited ability to take action. However, a customized research project designed to address specific objectives within a particular market can provide organizations with the market intelligence they need to react, adapt and change their business strategy.

For more information on industry or market research, please contact Patty Fleider at or 847-358-8558.