Partnerships can indeed be wonderful. We have all heard the concept of synergy: 1 + 1 = 3. Given the right partners and a strong execution, partnering with another association could give your association meeting a huge boost in attendance, prestige and revenue.
However, before you jump at the first partnership that comes along, keep this in mind: partnerships are often built out of weakness. As a result, partnerships are often not equal. The key is to make sure that your association is not left at a disadvantage. Therefore, before you enter a partnership for your association meeting, ask yourself these questions:
– Why does our association seek a partnership? Or seen from the other side, why does the other association seek this partnership? Is it out of weakness? Is it for convenience? Could our association achieve the same results ourselves simply by working harder in that area?
– Is there truly synergy in this association partnership? Do we have proof that the benefits for our association are real? If we could choose any partner in this particular area, would we choose this partner? If not, is this partner still an acceptable choice for our association?
If overall conclusion from the answers to these questions is “yes, we should proceed”, consider one last safeguard: make the partnership with your association temporary. If the partnership surpasses your association’s expectations, you can always negotiate a continuation of the relationship.
On the other hand, if the partnership with your association is problematic, a non-permanent situation will give you latitude for a quick exit. Association partnerships can be quite good. But partnerships are often built out of weakness and can be difficult to sustain. Therefore, it is important to be careful when considering a partnership for your association.
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