Weekly Now: Holiday Member Engagement, 2020 Style

For a year-end video message to members, the New Jersey Society of CPAs found inspiration and humor in the small frustrations of remote work. Also: A major cyberattack on the federal government could be a problem for associations, too.

It’s been a tough year for a lot of folks. But reflecting on the challenges of 2020 offers an opportunity for member engagement—and even humor. Case in point is a holiday video produced by the New Jersey Society of CPAs:

Full of experiences all too familiar to people who’ve spent much of the past year working from home—noisy dogs, hungry kids, muted audio—it’s a bit of fun at the end of the year, and 2020 in a nutshell. NJCPA says members are loving it.

(Have you created a year-end video of your own? Please share it in the comments.)

Other recent headlines:

Ambulance services at a breaking point. The American Ambulance Association is warning that the effects of the COVID-19 crisis are endangering ambulance services, according to NBC News. The association recently sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services saying that higher costs, reduced revenue, and insufficient federal aid threaten the survival of private ambulance services providers. “All the funding that the federal government gave us, whether it was PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] funding or money from HHS, all of that is long gone,” said Jim Finger, the chair of the AAA rural provider task force and an ambulance service administrator in Vermont, in comments to NBC. “But we still have all these issues, and we’re trying to find ways to financially survive and continue to do our jobs.”

Letting employees decide when to return. If you’re debating whether to have your employees return to the office, odds are that you’re giving them a say on the issue. A report from the professional services and accounting firm KPMG notes that 82 percent of companies are letting employees decide whether they feel safe returning to the office, and only 27 percent of employers are planning on making the move in the near future. “While it seems that employees are successfully working outside their traditional offices, employers have new questions about how to measure productivity in a virtual world,” KPMG Advisory principal Atif Zaim said in a news release. “Organizations are working on new measures to avoid exposing employees to undue health risks through widespread return-to-office initiatives ahead of available vaccines.”

A Warning for Association Tech Pros

If you’re well-briefed in tech news, you may have heard that several agencies of the federal government experienced a data breach recently. But what you may not know, as association tech exec Thad Lurie notes, is that the attack involved a common network management tool called SolarWinds Orion—which has been affected by a major exploit involving state actors.

Over the weekend, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency warned that all federal civilian agencies using SolarWinds Orion should “disconnect or power down” the service immediately. The problem goes far beyond federal agencies, however: FireEye, which was also affected by the attack, noted that Orion is widely used by major companies and that the attack shows little trace of malware on the platform itself. Orion was exploited at the supply chain level.

“The campaign demonstrates top-tier operational tradecraft and resourcing consistent with state-sponsored threat actors,” FireEye’s Kevin Mandia wrote in a blog post.


Sometimes, a short video or two is all you need to reach your members. That’s a lesson the American Concrete Institute recently learned.

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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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