Mergers and collaboration

No one would suggest that cooperation and collaboration in our sector is a bad idea, yet only the brave few are willing to actually explore what blending strengths with a complementary organization might look like. Ego, turf, branding and logistics are just a few of the challenges. Redundancy among nonprofits is a weakness from the perspective of the donors and funders on whom we rely, and yet, too many executives and boards cling to a “lone wolf” approach. Our challenging economy in recent years has forced some nonprofits to look at joint programming or outright mergers as a survival strategy, and the result is often a positive for fundraising and mission delivery.

RMA can help you:

  • Identify what you have to offer to, and should look for from, a partner
  • Help frame key questions that you may not be considering
  • See that there is a rich continuum of options, not just “to merge, or not”
  • Appreciate the specific components of your brand and image
  • Bring your board, key staff, and funders along so that stakeholders can be heard
  • Clarify your “non-negotiables” as well as areas where you are open to change
  • Overcome your hesitation and fear about losing your nonprofit’s identity or value
  • Map out the process and details–legal, financial, ongoing grants, media, etc.

Our recent experience includes the following collaboration or merger projects:

Helping the executives and boards of two like-minded nonprofits determine that while a full merger is not the right move this year, sharing space and equipment—as well as program expertise—is a great win-win

Guiding two executives through a checklist and inquiry process that uncovered a set of concerns that ultimately steered them away from the bargaining table, but protected their relationship and renewed focused on the strengths of each program for the future

Coaching an entrepreneurial executive through a year-long process that folded her small but well-regarded program into a much larger organization that will provide stability and capacity for growth while preserving the program’s unique spirit and value