One option to consider is to invest in developing strategic alliances with partner organisations that can bring in specialist resources.
The benefits of developing alliances are that you can develop new services faster and they give you access to experts and specialists with skills or knowledge that you do not have, for example in IT, manufacturing or technology. Also new partners may be prepared to carry the financial risk of a new project or bring you instant credibility in an area where you do not yet have any presence or credibility.
I have worked with several associations in the UK that have formed alliances to publish their member magazine, organise exhibitions, run award schemes, organise events and training. Other areas where associations have been successful include raising sponsorship, undertaking research projects, setting up international operations, marketing, PR, developing on-line bookstore and setting up electronic ordering.
So next time you are asked to do the impossible, ask yourself could an alliance be a smart way forward? Alliances can help you extend your association’s reach and influence.
This article was published in Association Manager in March 2005