Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The COVID-19 pandemic is a major health, safety and economic crisis. Citizens and governments across the globe face dire circumstances to keep people safe and their economies stable. During this challenging time, ASAE is doing everything it can to help its members and association professionals continue their critical missions and navigate the COVID-19 pandemic as safely as possible.

Get the latest on COVID-19 Advocacy from ASAE Public Policy


ASAE Advocacy

The Essential Pillars and Purpose of American Associations

On July 21, ASAE announced a new, mainstay messaging piece to support our members and the nonprofit association community: The Essential Pillars and Purpose of American Associations. This document is intended to correct misconceptions about nonprofit associations and their purpose and function in the economy and society at large. Please feel free to share broadly.

Advocacy Materials

  1. Download ASAE’s Advocacy Handbook, which was developed for American Associations Week 2020 and details ASAE’s main policy priorities.
  2. Download ASAE’s infographic on the Association Impact on the American Economy and Society, which demonstrates nonprofit associations’ presence and contribution across the economy and society.
  3. Visit our American Associations Week 2020 Downloadable Resources page for more advocacy materials, such as program recordings, social media support and template communications to legislators.
  4. Sign up for Inroads, ASAE’s weekly policy newsletter.
  5. Email for additional materials or with questions.

NEW: Join ASAE’s New Community Sign-On Letter!


Congressional Outreach

On July 21, ASAE delivered a letter to House and Senate leaders and administration officials that calls for nonprofit association-specific relief in the COVID-19 legislative package, which is expected in August. ASAE specifically requests expanded eligibility under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for Section 501(c)(6) nonprofit associations that have been largely left out of the CARES Act and other COVID-19 relief measures. Nonprofit associations, which are a fundamental underpinning of American society, are being forced to make grim financial decisions to cover losses associated with the ongoing pandemic. To help counter perceptions that associations are somehow undeserving of the types of assistance provided to other sectors, ASAE also shared with Congress The Essential Pillars and Purpose of American Associations, which outlines four fundamental, incontrovertible truths about the nonprofit association community.

On July 1, ASAE and more than 2,200 organizations across the country sent a letter to Congress that continues our urgent requests to expand eligibility under the PPP. The letter also call on congress to pass the following legislation:

  1. Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020 (R. 7011), which would establish a system of shared public and private compensation for business interruption losses and event cancellations resulting from future pandemics or public health emergencies. If enacted, this program would begin January 2021.
  1. Skills Renewal Act (R. 7032 / S. 3779), per proposed amendment. The Skills Renewal Act would provide Americans who have been laid-off or furloughed due to COVID-19 a $4,000 tax credit to pursue post-secondary skills training and career development.

On April 14, ASAE and more than 4,300 organizations across the country sent a letter to Congress and the Administration to again call for critically needed support for associations amid COVID-19. On May 11, ASAE resent the sign-on letter along with a new cover letter ahead of a major House Democratic proposal.

Between March 20-24, association advocates answered ASAE’s calls to action and sent over 10,000 appeals to urge Congress for emergency relief.

On March 23, ASAE wrote Congress and the Trump Administration to once again urgently request that all Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c) organizations, including Section 501(c)(6) organizations, such as trade, professional and membership associations, be included in emergency relief negotiations.

Legislation and Policy

Ongoing Updates

September 3ASAE Announces New Community Sign-On Letter  

August 7 I August 4 I July 28 I July 24 I July 21 I July 10 I July 9 I July 1 I June 25 I June 18 I May 28 I May 18 I May 12April 27 I April 23 I April 16 I April 14 I April 9 I April 2

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Since March, ASAE and its members have actively urged Congress to expand the PPP – the flagship COVID-19 relief program – to include 501(c)(6) nonprofit associations. ASAE’s most recent letter, dated July 21, 2020, was ASAE’s sixth communication to Congress that calls for nonprofit association support during the pandemic. Expanding the PPP to include nonprofit associations is broadly supported by ASAE’s membership, as ASAE also led two additional community sign-on letters, alongside 6,500 signatories, to help expand the PPP.

This policy priority has broad support among hundreds of legislators in both parties:

  • The House-passed HEROES Act would expand the PPP to all 501(c) organizations.
  • Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) led a bipartisan letter in direct support of nonprofit associations.
  • Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) also sent a letter that urged Congressional leadership to expand the PPP to nonprofit associations.

Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020

On May 27, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020 (H.R. 7011), which would establish a system of shared public and private compensation for business interruption losses and event cancellations resulting from future pandemics or public health emergencies. ASAE has called for such a proposal since its March 19 appeal to Congress and played a major role to ensure that H.R. 7011 would support associations – particularly through coverage for event cancellations. If enacted, associations and others would have access to this insurance beginning on January 1, 2021.

ASAE supports H.R. 7011 and continues to build support in Congress, as expressed in Congresswoman Maloney’s press release:

“The Pandemic Risk Insurance Act offers a critical solution for associations and others devastated by event cancellations, slashed reserves and sharp membership declines amid COVID-19,” said Susan Robertson, CAE; American Society of Association Executives President and CEO. “ASAE thanks and applauds Congresswoman Maloney for introducing this important bill, which will no doubt help provide America’s 62,000 associations the security they need to fully reignite our community’s far-reaching economic impact through industry-focused conferences, workforce development and educational programming, among other critical services.”

The Skills Renewal Act of 2020

Introduced in the House by Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Terri Sewell (D-AL) and G.T. Thompson (R-PA), and in the Senate by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC), the Skills Renewal Act would serve as a boon for American workers hit hard by the financial reality of COVID-19. This important bill would provide Americans who have been laid-off or furloughed as a result of COVID-19 a $4,000 tax credit to pursue post-secondary skills training and credentials and thereby help reestablish their welfare and wellbeing.

If amended, as proposed by the Professional Certification Coalition (co-lead by ASAE), Americans could use the credit to pursue and obtain industry certifications and other professional credentials that would help them more fully access the economy and contribute to a dynamic marketplace through increased competition and consumer choice.


On March 25, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which would provide over $2 trillion for “emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.” On March 27, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the CARES Act, which President Trump subsequently signed into law.

Some provisions in the nearly 900-page emergency aid package support Section 501(c)(6) organizations, but significant assistance would be available to Section 501(c)(3) organizations and certain other nonprofits. Additional relief packages are expected in the future, and ASAE continues to fight for the association and nonprofit communities in Congress. Read ASAE’s CARES Act one-pager.

Susan Robertson, ASAE’s President and CEO, said in a statement:

“ASAE applauds Congress for swiftly taking action to assist millions of Americans, corporations and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. 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.”

American Associations Week 2020

American Associations Week (AAW), June 15-June 18, was a free, week-long virtual education and advocacy event to help inform policymakers and urge Congress to support the association community. AAW highlighted meaningful ways that associations strengthen society, and provided programming and resources to amplify these messages and mobilize stakeholders to help inform members of Congress.

Throughout the program, we provided tools for you to share with Congress and the media about the positive role associations play in American society and how our members and constituencies are impacted by COVID-19. All the while, we hosted policy webinars, digital education programs, virtual town halls and fireside chats. Visit AAW’s Downloadable Resources page for materials and program recordings.

Questions or More Information?