May, 2011When times are tough, funders start to think that mergers are a good idea for nonprofits. And sometimes nonprofits themselves agree, but don't know how to think about it or how to go about it. Here's a short article by merger consultant David La Piana, and a link to a free downloadable comprehensive booklet on nonprofit mergers.
Should your nonprofit be considering a merger or some other way to combine formally with another organization? Mergers, joint ventures, fiscal sponsorship arrangements, and virtual nonprofits are all examples of "strategic restructuring." This goes beyond collaboration to bring orgnaizations into formal, deeper forms of alliance. Nonprofits are viewing these options with increasing interest in an economic downturn.
You organization and your board might be interested in these intense partnerships:
For both the voluntary and paid leadership of nonprofits, strategic restructuring choices often come after years of building organizations, so such partnerships may threaten the organization's autonomy and identity. But if our true goals are to serve our communities (rather than our own organizations), shouldn't we be as willing to serve by partnering as we are willing to serve by building our own organizations?
David La Piana is principal of La Piana Associates, Inc., a consulting firm providing services to nonprofits and philanthropy on "strategic restructuring" and other strategic issues. For a longer report by the same author, see In Search of Strategic Solutions here.
See also in Blue Avocado: