It’s very common for associations to run events in partnership with other associations. Any hay, why shouldn’t they? When it’s done right it can be a big success. The event I am still most proud of was an event that had several financial trade bodies involved. I believe it was a success because at the start we set out a few rules right at the start of the process, in fact before we even agreed to co-run the event.
Successful joint events happen when associations select the right partner and work well with them. When adding another voice (which may be representing many voices in the organisation) you have to be sure that the sum is more than the parts. As someone who’s run many joint events in the association sector I’ve learned from experience how to ensure that the event you jointly run works for all your stakeholders.
Top ten tips when running a joint event
1. Define your objectives BEFORE you agree to run an event. Your objectives have to be very clear.
2. Your objectives can be different from your partner and the event can still work. As long as they are not contradictory there should be room for a few objectives for your joint event.
3. Ask yourself what your prospective partner really brings to the table? Don’t run a joint event as a favour or on a whim. Make sure you have a clearly defined reason why the event will be more of a success as a joint event.
4. Clearly allocate roles and responsibilities at the start of the process and get your partner to sign off on those roles and responsibilities.
5. There should also be a ‘lead’ partner. Don’t try and split everything 50/50. Event management doesn’t work like that.
6. In terms of roles and responsibility you should both for definite market the event to your own database / contacts.
7. If you aren’t happy with how things are going then speak out!
8. Make sure you discuss who takes the financial risk. This should be reflected in some way in who gets the financial rewards.
9. Try to get to know the culture of the organisation. It’s important for so many reasons. You are in part organising an event for them so you have to understand the organisation.
10. Can this relationship be the start of something wonderful? What further partnerships can you run with this partner organisation? A good organiser should always be looking to enhance the more strategic aspects of the organisation and a joint event is an ideal way to do that.