“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Success is comprised of many elements, but one component worth noting is collaboration. For your DECA chapter or association to thrive, it is valuable to find individuals or organizations that can help you achieve your mission and goals. Forming partnerships allows multiple groups to receive benefits while also contributing to the greater good of their respective markets.
Partnerships especially provide value to your members. When you’re recruiting and selling the benefits of DECA to your campus or community, show them that there is a whole interconnected network that they are joining when they join DECA!
Types of Partnerships
Partnerships come in all shapes and forms. Your local community has many opportunities that your chapter or association can work along with. The opportunities these entities can provide are limitless. Below are a few examples of the main groups that you can partner with:
Working with leaders within your community is one of the easiest ways to begin a partnership. These individuals can be guest speakers at your meetings, judges at your conferences or a bridge to businesses and organizations. Initiating this partnership can start with someone like your boss, mentor or even your professor.
Local businesses make partners. Developing a relationship with a business is helpful as they can potentially assist you with sponsorships, fundraising or be a source of jobs for your members. Don’t be afraid to reach out to businesses within your community to see if they’d be interested in collaborating with you. Or, consider asking your workplace if they want to be involved with DECA.
Groups and Organizations
There are many organizations that you can work alongside. These include local leadership associations or groups, non-profits, and clubs on your campus. Organizations such as these can be a source of sponsorships, events for your members to attend or projects for you to co-host with. They can also provide mentors to pair your members up with.
We’ve established that there is a multitude of opportunities out there, but how can you attain those?
This is the most important step to forming partnerships. Whether you are attending a professional event or connecting on LinkedIn, strive to develop meaningful relationships with people. Discuss what you do, what DECA does, learn about them and their goals, then suggest ways that you can work together to achieve things that matter to you both. Remember that there are always people and groups looking to form relationships with others - they may just not know exactly what they’re looking for yet. Even if they’re not interested in collaborating yet, they will know who to reach out to if an occasion arises.
Join Other Organizations
Being involved with other, like-minded organizations can be a start to a wonderful relationship. If you’re engaged with another group, then you will know whether DECA will be compatible with the organization. Establish yourself as a trustworthy member in both groups and initiate collaboration among the two organizations, from something as simple as inviting their members to your meetings to coordinating an event or fundraiser together.
You must remain open-minded to all of the opportunities available. Restricting yourself to the type of groups or individuals that you regularly encounter can prevent the formation of something valuable. Does one of your members volunteer with an organization that needs some extra help? If that group aligns with your own goals, consider promoting the event to your chapter. Has someone reached out to you that doesn’t sound like they work in a typical industry related to DECA? Listen to their story and consider how they can provide your members with another perspective.
The key to partnerships is recognizing that they are ultimately personal relationships that should be formed and treated as such. While you should seek out partners that are beneficial to you, consider how your DECA chapter or association will provide value to them as well.