We all know that 2020 has been a brutal year for nonprofits. Unfortunately, we are starting to see more nonprofits struggle with sustainability. We have helped many organizations wind-down their operations over the years, and in most cases, there have been one or more core programs that could be salvaged. In many cases, a joint partner allowed the charity to continue its most viable programs in one form or another.
When considering acquiring another nonprofit, there are two types of acquisitions that are typically considered â€“ an asset purchase and a merger transaction. Several factors, including due diligence, payment of consideration, assumption of liability, assignment of contracts (including endowment agreements), existence of planned gifts, future operating goals and applicable state and federal laws, should be considered in determining the structure of the potential transaction.
Merger proposals are being prompted by reduction of funding sources, the tight economy, the need for succession planning and a desire to consolidate expenses and increase capacity. Also, many funders prefer to deal with fewer providers of the same programs or services and encourage mergers and other forms of collaboration to reduce overhead and increase capacity. There are special challenges for nonprofits considering a merger. Factors, such as increased capacity and cost savings, drive the deal. Because these benefits can be more difficult to quantify, a proposed merger can feel threatening to a nonprofit board who feels they may lose power and influence.
Sometimes no good deed goes unpunished. In this case, the board and staff of both nonprofits did a great job of putting their mission and beneficiaries first, only to be ambushed by their lack of stakeholder communication and buy-in.