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The Keys to Successful Partnerships - Module Two

It is important to be prepared for a successful approach when forming good business with partnerships.  Advisors often tell their students to do their homework. It is equally important for advisors to be prepared by doing their homework when approaching a potential partner. 

Businesses want simplicity and efficiency and you need to remember this when approaching a potential business partner. Spend quality time with the partnership and remember the benefits of positive feedback, recognition and reward.  Focus on your initial meeting and emphasize the common purpose and the value-add for both HOSA and the business.

The Keys to a Successful partnership

HOSA chapter management would never be described as “easy.”  Rewarding?  Yes.  Essential?  Yes.  But never easy.

In order to navigate the role of advisor, you will want to remember two important principles of chapter management:

  • HOSA is a student-led organization.
  • You cannot do it alone.

Consider your last chapter activity.  Who worked harder – you or the chapter members?  The correct answer should be the HOSA members.  If that was not the case, you may want to think about how you empower chapter members to manage chapter activities.

And what do we mean by “you cannot do it alone?”  We mean that successful partnerships are essential to successful chapter management.

Before you can begin to establish partnerships, you need to answer three questions.

  1. What are the keys to a successful partnership?
  2. What do we have to offer our partners?
  3. What are our needs?

Key Factors

There are a number of factors to understand when you pursue partnerships for HOSA.  Before you begin, be sure you can articulate what your HOSA chapter is all about.  You need a clear vision of who you are before you can share your vision with others.

Never lose sight of the big picture of HOSA.  According to a June, 2005 research report in ePhilanthropy eZine, “Americans want companies to support issues that are relevant to their lives; education, health and the environment.”  HOSA is all about health and education.  Keep that in mind when you think about the value of HOSA.

The same research report states that “Preparing youth for careers is a top priority,” and lists four best practices for creating successful partnerships.  They include:

  1. Select a cause that aligns with your organization’s goals and resonates with your target stakeholders.
  2. First commit to a cause, then pick your partners.
  3. Put all your assets to work.
  4. Communicate through every possible channel.

In HOSA our "cause" or goal is to serve as the pipeline to the health professions and our most important asset is our HOSA chapter members. 

Perhaps the most important key to consider is that successful partnerships are mutually beneficial.  When a HOSA chapter approaches a potential partner, the chapter should be aware of what that chapter has to offer, and what the partner needs.

What do we have to offer?

As previously mentioned, your greatest asset is your chapter membership.  When you complete the “What Your HOSA Chapter Has to Offer” activity, you will analyze what you have that would interest a potential partner.  Commit those benefits to memory before you make your first partnership visit.  You will want to be just as concerned about what you have to offer a partner as you are with what the partner can provide to you.

What are our needs?

When making a partnership visit, you should also be prepared to answer the questions “What do you need?” and “How can we help?”   The “What are Our Needs?” activity should help you start your list.

Consider this one final thought before you identify potential partners.  Remember that we said a good partnership is mutually beneficial.  Keep in mind that while HOSA has a lot to gain from the partnership – so does the potential partner. 

Businesses in particular are always looking for ways to positively improve their productivity and profits.  There are advantages for businesses when they align themselves with HOSA.  Those benefits include:

  1. Enhancing their image and visibility in the community.
  2. An opportunity to observe how education is spending tax dollars to prepare future healthcare professionals.
  3. The personal satisfaction of current employees who assist in preparing productive citizens.
  4. The preparation of future employees.


HOSA Chapter Needs

Specific chapter needs will vary from one chapter to the next.  The following list is a sample result of a brainstorming session with the HOSA chapter advisor and chapter officers.

SAMPLE Brainstorming Session Results

Question:  What does our HOSA chapter need that potential business and organizational partners might provide?

Local Businesses

  • Items to sell for fundraising or in a raffle
  • Sponsor HOSA membership dues for low-income members
  • Printing

Medical/Healthcare Agencies

  • Sites for clinical rotations
  • Judges – to act as judges for local competitive events, and to help chapter members prepare for competition
  • Guest speakers for chapter meetings or the classroom
  • Equipment and supplies – could donate used equipment and supplies such as medical exam tables, autoclave machine, expired dressings and packs, etc.
  • Drug company giveaways – pens, post-it pads, posters or models of the human body, diseases and disorders
  • Field trip sites

Other Non-Profit Organizations

  • Collaborative activities to help the community
  • Information – print materials and videos about specific diseases, disorders, or health-specific behaviors
  • Grant $

Local Colleges

  • Guest speakers
  • Conference site
  • Educational opportunities for chapter members
  • Student mentors / tutors

Government Officials (Local, state and federal)

  • Grant $
  • Appoint us to committees/task forces addressing the healthcare workforce shortage
  • Look to us as the pipeline to the health professions

Developing a HOSA Chapter Budget

A budget is a calculated plan of expected expenses.  It often includes a record of what actually happened the previous year, and your best estimate of the financial needs of your HOSA chapter for the coming year.  You have already given thought to many of the basic questions to help you build a budget when you analyzed your chapter needs.

We believe the best place to start with developing a budget is to look at your local chapter Program-of-Work.  The Program-of-Work is a list of the activities that your chapter plans to accomplish for the year.  For example, a Program-of-Work might look something like this:




  • New member recruitment
  • New member initiation
  • Bloodmobile
  • Reading evening at the Nursing Care Center
  • Fall Leadership Workshop
  • Float in homecoming parade
  • Trick or Treat for UNICEF
  • Guest speaker:  Vision Specialists
  • Participate in HOSA Week
  • Food drive for community food bank
  • HOSA exhibit at the county fair
  • Publish fall chapter newsletter
  • Guest speaker:  Autism Speaks




  • Reading evening at the Nursing Care Center
  • Children’s gift drive with local Rescue Squad
  • Participate in Mall Health Fair
  • Publish winter newsletter
  • Guest speaker:  Animal care center
  • Regional HOSA Competitive Events
  • Hospice volunteer training class
  • Bloodmobile
  • Guest speaker:  Human Resources Director




  • Reading evening at the Nursing Care Center
  • Walk for Autism Speaks
  • HOSA State Leadership Conference
  • HOSA Golf Tournament
  • Publish spring newsletter with SLC results
  • Guest speaker:  Dr. Curtis Schultz
  • Fundraising:  Help parents with BBQ dinner
  • Day of recognition and thanks for HOSA partners



  • HOSA scholarship for graduating senior
  • HOSA National Leadership Conference


Convene a Budget Committee

Your budget should include expected income and expenses.  A budget committee should be formed and should include the chapter advisor, chapter officers, and, if possible, an accountant. 

A parent who is an accountant can help turn the budgeting experience into a learning experience for HOSA members, and provides fiscal accountability to the budget planning process.

It is very helpful for you to have the previous year’s financial records in hand when preparing a future budget.  This will help you get a realistic idea of the costs involved with your HOSA chapter, and will help assure you do not leave anything out.

Use your Program-of-Work to itemize your expenses.  Sometimes the very process of analyzing the Program-of-Work will help you determine some of your partnership needs.  For example:

New Member Initiation:  Can you get a partner to donate the food?
Bloodmobile:  Can a partner donate the refreshments for the donors?
Guest speakers:  Will handwritten thank-you’s or HOSA certificates serve to show your appreciation?
Fall newsletter:  Can it be published on the HOSA website, school website, and sent to stakeholders via e-mail?
HOSA conferences:  What percentage of the costs should be paid by the individuals attending, and what percentage by the HOSA chapter and HOSA partners?

Keep in mind that your first budget will be a learning process, but after the first year, it should be a simple and helpful process. 

Remember too that a detailed budget will help you project the cost of operating your HOSA chapter for one member or the entire chapter. 

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