Rising to the Challenge

Magazine ,

By Josh Gold, CAE, CMP

It would be an understatement to describe the COVID-19 crisis that has gripped our nation and the world since early spring as a challenge. I felt like the universe was throwing one curveball after another. If you’re a baseball fan, you know that when a pitcher throws a curveball, the ball seems to be moving smoothly until the direction appears to shift suddenly. If you swing at a curveball, you might miss or you might send it over the foul line. There’s also a chance you will get a hit.

FAA and our affiliates have done a great job of rising to the challenge presented by the pandemic. The crisis has caused us to be nimbler and more flexible than ever before in order to meet members’ need for information. 

For example, FAA had never produced a webinar before this year, but that didn’t stop our events team from stepping up to the plate. Between April and August, we hosted more than a dozen webinars, some of which drew more than 600 attendees. Members who missed the original webinars have logged in to the FAA website to view recordings (faahq.org/webinars). 

The FAA government affairs and communications teams worked tirelessly to produce and keep updated a robust COVID-19 resource center on the FAA website, including a continually updated tracker of COVID-19 policies and regulations of Florida’s 67 counties and many of its numerous cities. In addition, email updates kept members informed about state mandates and executive orders issued by the governor regarding evictions, amenities, and more. Not related to COVID-19 but vital for apartment communities are legal requirements regarding human trafficking that will go into effect early next year, including mandatory training for certain on-site staff members. More than 500 FAA members participated in free online training, which continues to be offered complimentary to FAA members on our website (see Page 24 for details). 

The numbers show that our members made good use of the information we have been providing. The average monthly impressions at the FAA website from April through July was 34% higher than the same time last year. The open rate for the Florida APTitudes monthly e-newsletter is up nearly 40% and the average click-through rate has doubled.

The challenge presented by the COVID-19 crisis has a silver lining, in that it gave us an opportunity to reconsider our offerings and our value. It’s not unusual for a well-established association to become stagnant. There’s a fine line between tradition and stagnation. The FAA Annual Conference & Trade Show, for example, is an extremely successful event that receives favorable reviews year after year. That’s a tradition worth building upon, and we have our sights set on a better-than-ever event marking FAA’s 50th anniversary in 2021 — even more spectacular than usual, after having to cancel this year’s. 

This crisis prompted us to shift how we operate and to look for new and creative ways to serve our members. We hope that providing new resources and responding to your needs has demonstrated to you that FAA is here for you. We will continue to provide you with best practices, information about regulations that affect you, and other resources. As always, if there are other ways we can assist you, please don’t hesitate to let me know via email at josh@faahq.org or by calling FAA headquarters at 407-960-2910.