The 5 Ws of non-profit mergers

Vantage Point CEO Alison Brewin shares her thoughts in a post on the Charity Village blog on the five most important considerations to think about when two non-profits are exploring whether they should become one.

Brewin notes that everyone from government, funders and community members often wonder out loud why there are quite so many non-profit organizations that appear to be doing similar work. But the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the issue of merger and acquisition – to use the language of the business sector – to the forefront as never before.

“This is a moment that we, as a sector, need to seriously consider and move toward merging our organizations. This is a time when smaller organizations need respectful and equitable support from bigger, more resilient organizations,” writes Brewin.

“When mergers happen, most players focus on the How, the issues related to how to manage staff, how to merge boards, how to handle communications, etc. But before going there, success will be more likely to occur, and the How becomes clearer if both organizations have explored the 5 W’s first.”

Those five Ws, according to Brewin, are:

  • Why are you doing this?
  • What are your strengths and challenges?
  • Who are the key players?
  • Where is each organization located? (And she’s not really talking about geography)
  • When is it realistically possible to complete such a process?

Read her blog for more details on each of those points.