Partnerships come in all shapes and sizes. For many HOSA chapters, partnerships already exist at different levels. The question usually does not involve starting with a clean slate, but rather improving our understanding of partnerships and how to make them work more effectively.
The goal is always to maximize partnership potential. To do that, the chapter advisor analyzes existing partnerships and develops a plan to expand the partnership experience, both by improving existing partnerships and beginning new ones.
In the previous module, you developed a PowerPoint presentation that you can use when talking to a group about a potential partnership with HOSA. The PowerPoint presentation will introduce the potential partners to the mission and goals of HOSA as well as the things that are unique about your HOSA chapter.
Unfortunately, not all partnership development lends itself to a PowerPoint presentation. Many of your partnership meetings and efforts may involve only one other person. They may be conducted in an office or out in the business world.
Because you need to be prepared to react to any and all partnership development opportunities, we recommend you create/order the following tools to use when approaching existing or potential partners.
If you don’t already have one, order or make a set of HOSA business cards. You can go to any office supply store and have them done in a day. If you have a good computer, card stock and a paper cutter, you can even do them yourself. Just remember that you will want to convey a professional appearance with your business card.
Be sure to use the HOSA logo on your business card. HOSA members can download the logo from http://www.hosa.org/natorg/pub.html
You will want to create a “leave-behind” packet that you can give to potential partners. Many chapters develop their own HOSA brochure and include that in an information packet. Other items could include:
The purpose of the “leave-behind” is to assure that the potential partnership is not forgotten when you leave the room. The items that you leave should provide logical, specific information. What you actually talk about during your partnership meeting will reflect your passion for HOSA and your belief in the value of developing future healthcare professionals. The leave-behind contains the details about HOSA, your school and your chapter, as well as sends a simple message to the partner that says “don’t forget us.”
A chapter newsletter is an excellent way to recognize existing partnerships, celebrate new partnerships, and keep partners informed of the needs and successes of your local chapter.
Of all the responsibilities in chapter student leadership, one of the most vital is the role of reporter. We recommend you set a goal of four (4) newsletters a year, and that the newsletter become a primary marketing and recognition focal point for your chapter.
In advising chapter members about the newsletter, help them think through what they want their newsletter to accomplish. Certainly, newsletters can recognize existing partners and welcome new partners. The chapter newsletter can be particularly useful in identifying chapter needs and successes.
The HOSA chapter newsletter competitive event is an essential tool in guiding the development of the newsletter. Use the rating sheet to help plan the newsletter articles. Delegate assignments so that the workload is shared. Set deadlines and encourage chapter members to complete their assignments If possible, make writing a newsletter article a graded classroom assignment.
All partnerships are NOT created equally. In truth, each partnership will be unique because each HOSA chapter will accomplish goals in different ways, and partners have different assets to contribute to the partnership.
Partnerships are also continuously changing. People come and go, and the partner you were working with one year may not be in the same company position the following year. The needs and goals of the partner may also change.
Every partnership is unique – and partnerships are often changing. Still, you are looking to make the most of every partnership by:
- Exploring opportunities for partnering.
- Improving existing partnerships.
- Nurturing successful partners.
In Module 1 we introduced you to three levels of partnerships that describe the degree of partnership commitment. We are going to add a fourth level for new partnerships. The new level is Exploration, for partnerships that you are trying to form.
It will come as no surprise that the goal for most partnerships is the Integration level. Partnerships at this level are comfortable, confident, and rewarding to the HOSA chapter and the partner.
One of your assignments for this module will be to a use this information to analyze current and potential partnerships, and select three partnerships to develop or bring to the next level.
The Partnership Development Plan
Before you approach a new or existing partner, you will need a plan. Taking the time to think through the plan and write down the important details will help assure your best chance for successful partnership development.
Things to consider when developing a plan:
What do you want from the partnership? As you consider your needs, also consider the direct connection between your chapter needs and HOSA’s goal of promoting career opportunities in healthcare.
At the same time, you need to be thinking about the partner’s needs. The best partnerships are complementary. Be sure you know how to address the partnership benefits for both parties involved.
|Who will attend?
||In most cases, we recommend you take a HOSA member with you to the partnership meeting. Use good judgment in selecting the HOSA member to go with you, and make sure that member is well-prepared for the meeting.
||As you think through your goals for the partnership, be sure you plan to bring supportive material to the meeting. This usually includes your “leave-behind,” but can also include specific event guidelines or other materials that can illustrate any points you plan to make. Don’t forget a camera!
|Set up a meeting
||If the meeting is with an existing partner, a phone call, e-mail or face-to-face request is appropriate. If this is a new partner, we recommend a letter of introduction followed by a phone call.
|At the meeting
First and foremost, share your vision for preparing future healthcare professionals. Make sure the partner understands the mission of HOSA. Then talk about how the mission of HOSA connects with the mission of the partner.
Once you establish your moral ground, how you proceed with the meeting depends upon the level of the partnership. Be sure at some point you have the opportunity to understand the partner’s needs and goals.
If this is a new partner, then you may not go deeply into your plans for the future and your needs, but simply use the opportunity to establish a common bond.
||All partnership meetings should conclude with a discussion of next steps on the part of both partners. Be sure you articulate who is going to do what, and by when, and then write it down. You do not want to forget what you promised.
As soon as you leave the meeting, write down a summary of the key points of the meeting. As you start working with different partners, you risk confusing one with another. By writing down your summary after your meeting, you will keep yourself organized and won’t lose sight of important meeting details.
The meeting summary should include next steps. What did you promise to do next? What did your partner promise to do? Did you decide on a follow-up plan?
||Always follow-up with a thank you. For the HOSA advisor, the thank you could be in the form of an e-mail that also includes a reminder of the next steps. For the HOSA chapter member, a handwritten thank you on behalf of the entire chapter is most appropriate.
|| In addition to thanking the partner and completing the written Partnership Development Plan, you can take your successes one step further by documenting the meeting, either in the form of a newsletter or newspaper article, or written follow-up to a principal, CTE administrator, or Health Science Advisory Board. Keep in mind that if you do something good, you need to share the good news with others.
Taking the right approach to partnership development involves respect for the partner and professional behavior on your part. When you know what to do and you do it well, you will find that partnerships create personal satisfaction for you and extraordinary benefits for your chapter members.