Diane Johnson Den Gardner Steve Drake – president of Drake & Company, an accredited AMC making dreams fly for 10 national associations, one of whom was the Ag Publishers Association when AMS was formed. APA has since morphed into the Agri Council of the American Business Media organization. So, like Diane, I was at the beginning of the process.
Steve: Warren Morse, one of the APA Board members first suggested that APA convince the other two groups to create an “All Print Event.” Warren – and the other publishers – felt that they were overshadowed by the much bigger National Association of Farm Broadcasters convention. Early in the process, the editors expressed “suspicion” about the publishers motives about a joint meeting. APA met individually with each of the groups. During the process, APA which did NOT have its own meeting, decided to be a partner but not to take an active role in overall leadership and NOT to take any profits from the joint meeting.
Steve – Issue is money. Phrase came from a dairy farmer client of me. How to split net income is a BIG issue for any groups seeking to come together. During the early planning sessions, APA made it clear it did NOT want to share any of the revenues even through they were footing some of the startup costs of the event. Among other options, we considered splitting net income based on percentage of attendees; eg. If 60% of the attendees were AAEA members, AAEA would receive 60% of the profits. Then, one planner said, “what do we do if an attendee is a member of both groups?” At that point, the planning committee reached consensus: split the net revenue equally between AAEA and LPC. Also: as a matter of AMS policy, we have built a reserve to protect us in the event of a bad year. We set a policy to have a reserve equal to 50% of the rolling 3-year average total expenses. In the last five years, we have reached our goal … now have $215,000 in reserve.
Steve – For the first three years, we operated as a lose collaborative event. As APA’s management company, DrakeCo was managing the finances and the bank accounts used our EIN number. My auditors were concerned about the liability of that! Once we decided the Summit was a great event and achieving its mission, we moved to create a Limited Liability Corporation. This gives everyone some legal and financial protection.
3 14 11 great ideas presentation
2011 Great Ideas Conference 1 > 3 10:45 am – 12:00 pm Monday, March 14 Hub Id: #ideas11 LD5 Steve Drake, MA Den Gardner, BS Diane Johnson, CMP
Objectives <ul><li>What do you do when your meeting is competing against others in the same market space? </li></ul><ul><li>Learn how three separate organizations in the same industry merged their conventions into a single, successful joint conference that added a record-breaking international component this past year. </li></ul><ul><li>Find out tips, techniques, and secrets to successful partnering, lessons learned, and join in discussions with other meetings professionals to see where similar opportunities might be awaiting your organization. </li></ul>
Coming Together <ul><li>Publishers surfaced the concept </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple planning meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Common mission </li></ul><ul><li>Moved from “3-year experiment” to LLC </li></ul><ul><li>Now in 13 th year </li></ul><ul><li>Record-breaking event in 2010 </li></ul>
#1 Differing Cultures: <ul><li>Each organization had its own conference. </li></ul><ul><li>Face-to-face planning meetings were essential to create trust and understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Adopted standards and policies that both organizations could accept </li></ul>Issue: Discussion: Solution:
#2 The Ca$h Box: <ul><li>Deciding how to split revenue, expenses and profits. </li></ul><ul><li>May be the biggest issue facing a collaborative partnership </li></ul><ul><li>Created a single budget and track actual revenue and expenses for the joint conference </li></ul>Issue: Discussion: Solution:
#3 Multiple Staffs <ul><li>Who does what? </li></ul><ul><li>How to avoid duplicating efforts. </li></ul><ul><li>Identified the key functions and “assigned” each to one staff. </li></ul>Issue: Discussion: Solution:
#4 Scheduling <ul><li>How to “merge” two conference programs into one? </li></ul><ul><li>Donut? Consolidated? Other formats? </li></ul><ul><li>We settled on a single, consolidated program open to all and integrating professional development, trade show, entertainment and association sessions. </li></ul>Issue: Discussion: Solution:
#5 Content and Speakers <ul><li>What topics? What speakers? </li></ul><ul><li>The 3 represented various, somewhat overlapping work functions. </li></ul><ul><li>Focused on professional development. Joint program committee. </li></ul>Issue: Discussion: Solution:
#6 Decision Making <ul><li>Who makes decisions? </li></ul><ul><li>Needed continuity + a system that fairly represented all the partners. </li></ul><ul><li>Created a 7 person Steering Committee. </li></ul>Issue: Discussion: Solution:
#7 Legal <ul><li>How provide legal protection? </li></ul><ul><li>Each had own. New entity didn’t have any initially. </li></ul><ul><li>Became an LLC the three entities own. </li></ul>Issue: Discussion: Solution:
A New Conference “ My dream of a joint meeting came true last week. Four organizations came together last week in Phoenix and it was a huge success. We had almost 800 people attend and it looks like we will do it again next year. “ It was great to celebrate manufacturing again!”
Contact Information Steve Drake, president Drake & Company 636/449-5050 • [email_address] • www.drakeco.com • Den Gardner, executive director American Agricultural Editors’ Association 952/758-6502 • firstname.lastname@example.org www.ageditors.com • Diane Johnson, CMP, executive director Livestock Publications Council 817/336-1130 • [email_address] • www.livestockpublications.com