New Money: Partnership Refresh
The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses’ revamped sponsorship program paid dividends when the pandemic hit.
The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses was in the process of changing its partnership program—shifting from platinum, gold, and silver sponsorship packages to a premiere partnership program—when the pandemic forced the world to close down.
“We launched it just before COVID,” says AMSN CEO Terri Hinkley, Ed.D., CAE. “It ended up being an opportunity.”
The groundwork laid before the pandemic allowed AMSN to secure medical technology company Medtronic as a new sponsor and build benefits for the company that wouldn’t be easily upended by the coronavirus.
Instead of standard sponsorship options, the premiere partner program is tailored. “The program is designed based on what their needs are,” Hinkley says. “We start with an exploratory call and whittle down from there how we can position their organization to achieve those goals with the many products and services [we offer].”
The program gives partners access to perks like focus groups and research that taps members for insights. “They have every opportunity for engagement with our members and stakeholders, and it’s exclusive to the folks in the premier partner program,” Hinkley says.
The program also helps AMSN beyond the nondues revenue it brings in. For example, the association conducted a survey for a sponsor on how the pandemic was impacting members.
“It helped us understand what their practice environment was looking like,” Hinkley says. “It informed how we could continue our messaging to members. We could say, ‘Don’t worry about your membership renewal. We’re not going to drop you during this period.’ It reinforced the necessity for what we were building and doing. It was definitely a win-win.”
Hinkley says changing a sponsor program to be more responsive “is not a short process” because it takes time to determine how to best serve the client, but she believes it’s well worth it.
“We were able to engage a brand-new sponsor in the middle of a pandemic, when so much was clearly being impacted,” Hinkley says. “For the first time, they felt like the organization was listening to them and we had clear ways to address their objective, and we demonstrated with them a level of service that they had never had before.”
Delivering that kind of value is critical now. “In today’s environment, when we’re all fighting for nondues revenue, we have to recognize that businesses are changing,” she says. “Businesses outside nonprofits are allowing for customizable experiences, and we in the association world can learn from the for-profit world.”