These days, theological school board members regularly ask In Trust for advice on seminary mergers and other partnerships.

Merge signThe current issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy offers some analysis and reflections on the rise in mergers and partnerships among nonprofit organizations. Again and again, compatibility of mission and culture prove to be the most important factors for boards to consider. Of course, analyzing the cost savings is essential too.

The following three articles can be read in full by subscribers to the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Economic Woes Bring More Charities Together:
Nonprofit organizations look to mergers and collaborations as a way of surviving in tough financial times

An excerpt:

The turbulent economy is creating new incentives for charities to cooperate. More organizations are starting to share fund-raising and marketing ideas, while others are considering merging, combining "back offices" to handle administrative duties, or other formal alliances.

"Five years ago, if we did a training on restructuring and mergers, you wouldn't get a lot of people coming, and the people who came didn't want anyone else to know that they were going to be there," says Doug Sauer, chief executive of the New York Council of Nonprofits, in Albany, N.Y. Now, he says, "it's almost become trendy."

Surviving Under One Roof:
A merger between two Arizona domestic-violence shelters has brought numerous benefits -- and challenges

An excerpt:

"When I talk to funders, I'm able to say that we're the only provider of these services and we don't have duplication," says Sarah A. Jones, chief executive of the new charity, Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse. "I can feel very confident in stating the needs."

Joining Forces in the 'Back Office':
Collaborative effort by Minneapolis charities combines groups' administrative operations

An excerpt:

Five social-service groups in the Twin Cities joined forces in January 2007 to create MACC CommonWealth to share their "back office" operations.

The group, which is owned and operated by its member organizations, was formed by putting the administrative employees of the five charities together in one office. The result has been that each group can draw on the expertise of a staff of 20 employees.

Being able to provide administrative services at a larger scale has led to cost savings.

Expect to read more about mergers and partnerships in the Summer 2009 issue of In Trust


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