NACUBO Sets Path Forward Through COVID-19 Financial Implications
A Message From Susan Whealler Johnston, NACUBO President and CEO
In 2019, NACUBO unveiled a strategic blueprint to support business officers and higher education. We have made great strides in solidifying our role as an indispensable 21st-century membership association. While our dedication to the spirit of that work remains constant, NACUBO has not been immune to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since February, NACUBO leadership, staff, and board members have been focused on the health and safety concerns of the people in our community—our staff, members, and business partners. We truly appreciated the patience, support, and understanding as we pivoted to new professional development and e-learning opportunities.
Like many, our staff has been working from home these past months. We are proud of the COVID-19 resources and other online offerings NACUBO has been able to deliver during these tough times, and grateful for the thousands of professionals who have responded positively to our telephone town halls, webcasts, accounting tutorials, and other offerings.
Like so many of our member colleges and universities and our business partners, NACUBO has experienced financial losses brought on by changes in the U.S. economy and by the particularly adverse impacts the pandemic has had on higher education broadly.
This spring, we changed signature programs such as our Higher Education Accounting Forum and Student Financial Services Conference into virtual meetings. NACUBO’s 50th annual meeting is now a week-long series of dynamic online experiences. With the virus still active, vaccines a long way in the future, and social distancing measures likely to continue for months, we also are reimagining our fall programs and creating a new online curriculum for professional development.
Our membership renewal season commenced at the end of February and ran until the end of May. We are grateful that so many institutions are maintaining their membership. At the same time, we know that many colleges and universities are cutting spending on things such as memberships, professional development, and travel—cuts that unfortunately also impact our business model.
Recovery and Action
NACUBO’s leadership team and board of directors are committed to striking a balance between the immediate needs and longer-term goals of the organization. As a result, we have taken a hard look at our budget and are implementing many of the same strategies our members are employing to weather the crisis, including staff layoffs and salary reductions. We also have decided to cease the publication of Business Officer magazine for the foreseeable future, putting in its place a series of short, timely, solutions-oriented publications delivered electronically. The magazine’s archives will continue to be available online.
These changes are not easy to make. But NACUBO is determined to build a strong future, and we are dedicated to seeking new and improved ways to provide relevant information and approaches to engagement with our members. Work is underway to create new forms of convening and communication that focus on just-in-time information and leverage the expertise among our staff, members, and business partners.
The long-term goals of our organization—and our members’ goals—are top of mind for us. We remain committed to helping our members achieve the economic vitality necessary to support the education, research, public service, and other missions of institutions of higher education.
In just a few short months, our lives have changed in ways that are nearly incomprehensible. Despite this new landscape, NACUBO looks forward to remaining a source of unmatched knowledge, a leading advocate for colleges and universities, and an indispensable membership association.