It is common practice for businesses or organizations to team up to host an event, and it makes a lot of sense. Two non-profits join forces to raise money for multiple wonderful causes. A large for-profit partners with a non-profit or volunteer organization to help instate credibility for a valuable purpose. Two organizations with similar goals work together to increase awareness and person-power to acheive their goals. These partnerships are good for business and good for the soul. Moreover, they are excellent for event planning.
Both organizations find themselves with more volunteers, more event coordinators, more resources, and on and on. Developing these relationships takes some time and energy but it is well worth it in the long run if you take the time to establish and maintain an ongoing relationship for future event partnerships from annual events to informal regularity. These ideas will assist you in creating working relationships under the event coordination framework that will prove successful and continuous.
- Start Small: You don’t have to initiate the relationship with a massive fundraiser. Try something smaller to assess the dynamics and get to know one another. This will also give your community an opportunity to begin recognizing the partnership. Think about co-hosting a business mixer, supporting a local relay for life team, or presenting an event for employees and volunteers of your organizations only. Something where the risks aren’t too high and extra support is available. This will help you to understand your team of players.
- Assess strengths: Spend some time determining each partners strengths. Does one of the organizations have a better venue and event furniture equipment? Is one business tapped into the entertainment community? Can one of the partners better train and provide volunteers? Go through all of the essential portions of your event vision and determine who holds the resources for more likely success. Divide the tasks based on these strengths and come to written agreements regarding who is taking responsibility for each piece of the puzzle.
- Balancing buy-in with ownership: In any true relationship there is collaboration, compromise and responsibility. When working on your specific tasks be sure to include your counterparts of information and be open to suggestions. Be willing to re-work your ideas to be encompassing of the flavor and personality of those you are partnering with and don’t hesitate to offer the same feedback regarding the tasks they are handling. Try to find a healthy balance between this buy-in with taking ownership and executing the things you have established are your strengths. Ensure that you maintain your own expectations and deliver in a way that is still reflective of your event coordinating touch.
- Communicate early and often: From event inception to execution, communication is key. Copy one another on emails, send minutes of meetings, and have regularly scheduled check ins for progress reports. Once the event preparation and execution has started, consider linking yourselves by way of walkie talkie or cell phone. Everyone reacts differently under pressure and in problem solving situations and it is vital that you be in consistent communication as these situations arise so you can work together and rely on one another.
- Debrief immediately: Waiting a week to go over the event’s outcome will result in a lack of detail. De-brief within 48 hours and intimately cover the details in your evaluation process. This process will help you determine how successful the partnership is and if it is something you wish to continue.
- Maintain the relationship: Once you have decided to continue the partnership, stay in touch with your contacts. Join their monthly newsletter, send over highlights, meet for coffee just to connect. Don’t let the relationship wait until next year’s event to have a re-boot. A fantastic way to keep the event relationship intact is to attend other, similar events together to steal ideas and praise your own accomplishments
Two heads are better than one and two event coordinators can move a mountain. Take some time to build a relationship that can change the landscape of your organization’s event calendar. The rewards will be extremely valuable.