The Four Ways Associations Can Unlock

The Four Ways Associations Can Unlock Growth Through Collaboration

The Four Ways Associations Can Unlock Growth Through Collaboration

A collaborative mindset, as opposed to a purely competitive mentality, can generate results greater than what each individual could achieve on their own.

Partnering with other associations, even if it’s temporary, can lead to new heights of growth by setting aside egos and pooling resources.

With this in mind, we’ve put together four ways associations can (and should) collaborate with others. Competition will always exist, whether it’s for attention, revenue, or sponsorships—so it’s important to take a step back and find synergies. Collaborating opens doors to a world of new possibilities.

Here are four approaches to help make that healthy collaboration happen:

1. Amplify Impact and Drive Change

All associations face challenges, and some of these common concerns may require collaboration on a larger scale.

When associations align efforts with others on such issues, their collective voice becomes a lot more considerable in the eyes of lawmakers, policymakers, and the public.

For example, imagine the combined advocacy power of medical associations advocating for increased health care access, or environmental associations pushing for sustainable prices.

In short, associations working together towards a large-scale concern increases their ability to drive actual, meaningful change.

This collaboration can take many forms. It includes but isn’t limited to:

  • Coalitions: Associations tackling similar challenges create a powerful advocacy group.
  • Joint lobbying efforts: Partnering on legislative initiatives that can negatively impact the partnering associations is helpful when pooling resources for lobbying activities that increase chances of success.
  • Research collaboration: Knowledge is power, and combining research sources and expertise leads to impactful results that benefit both associations.

2. Expand Reach and Resources

Collaboration allows associations to tap into new audiences and resources, offering benefits to both parties.

This is especially beneficial for smaller associations, allowing them to gain access to larger member bases and expertise. As for larger associations, such collaboration can diversify their offerings and perspectives, allowing for wider dissemination of knowledge.

Here’s how such collaboration can look like in action:

  • Joint conferences: Partnering with other associations to host larger and more diverse events, attracting a wider audience and reducing individual costs.
  • Member exchange programs: Exchanging members of similar roles between partnering associations is a fantastic approach to broadening the learning and networking opportunities of such members.

3. Share Best Practices and Innovate

Sharing successful business approaches between partnering associations promotes an environment of open exchange. This provides the opportunity for associations to learn from failed experiences without having to face these failures themselves.

Such collective learning accelerates innovation and helps both partners improve their programs, services, and internal operations.

Here are some examples for reference:

  • Establishing peer-learning networks: Creating regular forums for association leaders and staff members to share experiences, challenges, and solutions can hasten the success process.
  • Benchmarking programs: Such programs help in sharing performance metrics to identify areas of improvement, eventually promoting healthy competition among associations.

4. Strengthen the Sector and Build Community

Associations of the same field contribute to a stronger, more vibrant association sector. Sharing resources, expertise, and success stories fosters community spirit and encourages mutual support.

Such a sector can work more effectively toward common goals, benefiting members of partnering associations.  

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