June 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)   WITH MEMBERS SERVING OVERSEAS, MEETINGS TAKE A HIT

Military Groups Face Attendance Shortfalls

Army reservists go off on assignment to the Persian Gulf.
Army reservists go off on assignment to the Persian Gulf. Call it one more by-product of the war on terrorism: With legions of Army reservists and members of the National Guard deployed around the country and overseas, military associations are bracing for decreased attendance at conferences. At press time, the United States Army Reserve and the National Guard had mobilized a combined 219,651 members, compared with 265,000 called up for 1991’s Gulf War.

Over the past few months, planners at the Washington, D.C.-based Reserve Officers Association of the United States have noticed a decrease in pre-registration at recent events, as an estimated 10 percent of ROA members are away on active duty, while those at home hesitate to make long-term plans.

At ROA’s midwinter conference in January, about 25 percent of attendees waited until the day of the event to register. “It gives us stress, and it gives the hotels stress,” said Lani Burnett, ROA’s director of industry affairs.

At the Washington, D.C.-based National Guard Association of the United States, 2003 conference chairperson Colonel Bradley MacNealy estimated 15 percent of his members were deployed at press time, many serving as engineers and peacekeepers in Iraq. It was not certain how many of those members would attend NGAUS’ annual conference in September.

MacNealy and Brunette said they have assured concerned sponsors that important decision-makers still will attend their conferences. Meanwhile, family support meetings suddenly are gaining in popularity. In January, for instance, the ROA held a panel on the effect of mobilization on family finances. Another hot topic is re-employment rights for reservists who have difficulty returning to their jobs after being away for long periods.

In light of increased uncertainty, military associations have begun taking measures to protect themselves financially. NGAUS includes a war clause in its contracts, and ROA has elected to carry cancellation insurance.

In some cases, suppliers have shown leniency. “The most patriotic and nicest thing I saw,” said one ROA official, “is a hotel general manager saying, ‘Don’t worry about your attendance. It’s wartime, and I’m not going to count it.’”


What Association Executives Earn The gender gap in earnings grows in relation to size of organization, according to a 2001 compensation survey. Male CEOs Female CEOs Trade association $136,775 $92,125 Individual membership association $139,241 $85,204 Total staff size: 2 or fewer $75,000 $60,000 3 to 5 $95,640 $77,000 6 to 10 $116,550 $108,000 11 to 20 $138,200 $126,000 21 to 50 $201,923 $159,280 51 to 100 $237,900 $145,518 More than 100 $287,600 $249,233 Total annual budget: $300,000 or less $67,600 $54,789 $300,001 to $500,000 $75,600 $68,579 $500,001 to $750,000 $90,000 $72,800 $750,001 to $1 million $102,000 $87,525 $1,000,001 to $2.5 million $118,800 $112,425 $2,500,001 to $5 million $170,000 $137,100 $5,000,001 to $10 million $227,750 $160,585 $10,000,001 to $15 million $225,994 $171,750 More than $15 million $285,000 $256,269 Source: American Society of Association Executives

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