First and foremost, I hope you, your families and your coworkers are healthy and doing as well as possible under these uncertain and trying conditions. Like all of you, the team and I at PPAI continue to monitor the situation, adjust, adapt and continue to hope and pray for improvement. Now, as always, my promise to you is that PPAI will not lose its focus – you and your business. The promotional products community has weathered many challenges in the past and we always come out stronger because we stand and work together. Our primary goals over the next days and weeks are twofold. First, to make sure we can continue, along with our service partners, to provide essential services to members and the industry. Second, to make the necessary business decisions to ensure that there is a strong and relevant trade association in place to help you recover and rebuild when this crisis ends.
As the news about COVID-19 continues to pour in, I understand many of you are seeking some sense of normalcy in a situation that is far from normal. With all of this in mind, I want to remind you of some resources that are available to you, as well as update you on a few things:
- Coronavirus Information Page – This page is continuously updated and includes helpful links to the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, industry news as it relates to the virus, the latest updates on PPAI events, and a recently added section for regional event updates. https://www.ppai.org/coronavirus-information/
- Supplier Status Update Page – We’ve created a web page for suppliers to share status updates about their business operations. This is an informative resource to learn about new safety measures, adjusted hours, temporary closures and factory cleaning methods straight from suppliers. https://www.ppai.org/unique/coronavirus-related-supplier-updates/
- Promo Connect – Promo Connect, PPAI’s online community, is a valuable resource to directly connect with other industry professionals. We are already seeing a spike in communication activity via this platform on a variety of topics. https://community.ppai.org/home
- Free Online Learning – We are making all education courses (more than 300 offerings) via PPAI’s online education platform free to PPAI members. https://onlineeducation.ppai.org/
- Working From Home – Out of an abundance of caution and under the direction of local officials, PPAI staff members are now working from home. We prepared for this likelihood in advance and as a result, you should experience no interruption in service.
Additionally, PPAI is having to make some very tough decisions regarding events:
- Promotional Products Work Week Postponed – We will postpone this week-long event, originally scheduled for May 4-8, to coincide with Advertising Week, October 5-8, where we already invest heavily in industry advocacy activities. The industry and Association will use this as a rallying point to begin rebuilding and the early October dates can be both timely and fortuitous.
- PPAI’s Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) Cancelled – Our annual visit to Washington, D.C., originally scheduled for May 6-7, in which our members represent and lobby on behalf of our great industry, has been cancelled. However, we intend to encourage all members to reach out to their members of Congress to thank them for their work on behalf of all of us and ask them to keep the needs of small businesses top-of-mind.
- SPARK Conference Cancelled – While we recognize the importance of young professionals to the well-being and future success of our industry, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this program, originally scheduled for July 15-17. However, PPAI is considering making SPARK a one-day event in conjunction with The PPAI Expo in January 2021. We will continue to find ways to serve this vital community.
- Other PPAI Events – Currently all other events are being evaluated. Rest assured, when the cancellation of any event is discussed, so too is the opportunity to offer programming in a virtual environment. Please know that all decisions will be made with your best interests in mind.
We have all entered uncharted waters together, and it will take cooperation, support, compassion and sound business decisions for us to get through this. Together it is possible.
As I look ahead, I want you to know we will continue to evaluate and redefine every aspect of our business, as necessary, in order to provide you with the support you need. We will work together with you to ensure that your business and your Association are around for the next 100 years.
From the entire PPAI team, we wish you the best.
Reach out if you need an ear or have an idea to share. And most importantly, keep washing those hands.