Associations Need More COVID-19 Aid, ASAE Says

Relief for membership associations reeling from event cancellations and other business disruptions amid the coronavirus pandemic was not included in the Senate bill passed Wednesday night.

ASAE said Thursday that the massive $2.2 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package that passed the Senate late Wednesday night lacks adequate aid for revenue-stricken associations.

ASAE and its members flooded Capitol Hill with requests for association-specific relief in the emergency bill that was negotiated this week. Specifically, ASAE asked Congress for

  • $25 billion in aid for associations experiencing financial losses from canceled meetings and events
  • association access to small business interruption loans to prevent layoffs and continue paying employees
  • creation of a pandemic risk insurance program to create a federal backstop for prospective insurance claims related to a pandemic or epidemic.

These provisions were not included in the bill the Senate approved unanimously.

Associations would be able to take advantage of at least one provision in the bill: an employee retention payroll tax credit available to businesses that have seen at least 50 percent reduction in revenue in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019, among other qualifying conditions.

There are also numerous provisions in the bill that provide relief for the 501(c)(3) nonprofit community. Nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees can access $350 billion in loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) that would be forgiven under certain conditions. The bill also creates a temporary universal charitable deduction for non-itemizers capped at $300. Nonprofits with a furloughed or reduced workforce can also access the fully refundable tax credits that would cover employee wages and be applied against the employer’s share of payroll taxes.

ASAE’s members sent more than 10,000 pleas for association-specific assistance to Capitol Hill over the course of a couple of days this week. ASAE President and CEO Susan Robertson, CAE, said the organization will continue to press Congress to address the community’s needs in the next relief package that will be negotiated in the weeks ahead.

“ASAE applauds Congress for swiftly taking action to assist millions of Americans, corporations, and small businesses impacted by COVID-19,” Robertson said. “At least one of the provisions in this economic stimulus package—an employee retention tax credit to assist businesses and 501(c) entities that have a furloughed or reduced workforce due to the coronavirus—will benefit some revenue-stricken associations along with other impacted segments of the economy. We need more, and we have made some very specific asks of Congress to assist associations suffering due to COVID-19-related event cancellations and other losses. We understand there is an additional relief package under consideration after the passage of this third stimulus package, and we will continue to make the case that associations need and deserve additional aid during this crisis.”

The House is expected to vote on the bill, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, on Friday.


Chris Vest, CAE

By Chris Vest, CAE

Chris Vest, CAE is vice president, corporate communications and public relations at ASAE. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!