Partner for major events! 
By Joel Fischer, Head of the Congress Department and Editor of the Yearbook of International Organizations at UIA and Judy Wickens, Volunteer at the UIA, Retired Secretary-General of T.I.C.
Together. Associations are formed for a great variety of reasons: people group together because they can achieve more by associating their efforts than alone, in pursuit of a cause or common purpose, or for mutual benefit. By finding partners, associations further increase their strength and effectiveness. Partnerships may be formal and strict or fleeting and flexible. Their value will become clear in the context of an issue or an operating environment, as an association can not exist independently of its world, however self-sufficient it may be.
Many of the 36,000 active international organizations listed in the UIA database describe long-term links which they maintain, such as consultative status to an intergovernmental body or membership of a broader federation. Associations which are international take advantage of strengths and knowledge of members in three or more countries, often they are active across the entire globe.
Cities providing support for the preparatory stages of a conference, locating and assisting with booking accommodation or venues, for instance, are operational partners in a practical sense and the medium term. Commercial relationships are of a different nature to those with which we are concerned here.
Associations which are active in similar fields can join forces on a temporary basis to organise a larger and more extensive conference rather than two smaller competing events, for their mutual benefit and enhanced participation. In a recent global survey by UIA, a quarter of respondents said they had partnered with other distinctly separate organizations for a major event on a unique occasion, and a quarter of replies said that such cooperation for an event was or would become a regular occurrence.
Co-operative arrangements can be short-term, limited to a specific issue or action and then dissolved; organisations should not be nervous that they will be tied permanently if this is not intended. Even sharing infrastructure such as office premises or staff for economy need not oblige two or more associations to compromise their individual functioning.
So be creative, exercise imagination and consider how partners could help your cause. For a single association or for a partnership of complementary organisations, the saying remains true: 'the whole is greater than the sum of its parts'