Nonprofit A is a strong organization with a long history. Non-profit A is known for its talented professional staff, strong board of directors and a willingness to collaborate to launch and preserve programs that add value to the community. Nonprofit A’s strengths make it a frequently identified potential merger partner for organizations that are struggling. Nonprofit A is more willing than most to take the risks necessary to save key community programs. What follows is a series of case studies outlining Nonprofit A’s experience with a number of successful and not so successful collaborations.
Nonprofit A serves a particular demographic on the “continuum” of care. Nonprofit A is approached by Nonprofit B, a slightly smaller organization that is struggling to maintain its existing programs. Nonprofit B serves a different, but complementary, demographic and has been without a Chief Executive for months.
- Both Boards had their own strong reasons to merge.
- There was no feeling of “takeover” or acquisition among any of the Board members.
- Benefit to clients and the community always at the forefront of merger discussions.
- Early mutual agreement on staff and board structure.
- Merger discussions were solution-focused.
- Both organizations had independent legal representation.
- Staff Merger Team and ongoing communication with staff were key in early staff integration.
- A consultant served as a third party and helped staff think of questions and processes they might not have considered.
- A strong marketing plan was developed early to connect stakeholders and the community to the new organization.
- Executive Director of one agency was unhappy about the merger. Director’s negativity affected staff before, during, and after the merger. Board should have addressed this immediately.
- It was not clear until later that the two executive directors were not communicating to their staffs in the same way. A cohesive communication strategy that addressed each organization’s staff equally may have made staff at both organizations feel more informed and included.
- After the merger, more communication with staff regarding integration and changes in policy was needed.
- Joint Merger Committee was critical to success.
- Decision-making is easier with small group.
- Good balance between members of both boards.
- Both boards had representatives with key technical and strategic skills.
- Current board presidents did not serve on the JMC.
- JMC members developed an exceedingly strong mutual trust.
- JMC had full trust and support of both boards to make important decisions.
2. Physical separation at different locations made staff integration difficult.
3. Shift from small organization to a larger one required adjustments in management style and structure, communications strategy, relations among staff.