Eastside People’s round table discussions on mergers and partnerships in the charity sector enable charity leaders to learn from peers, share experiences and ask questions in a safe and confidential environment. They are therefore an ideal place for anyone wishing to understand more about the opportunities, risks and processes involved.
Our latest round table was hosted by Cara Evans, Head of Partnerships and Mergers at Eastside People (previously COO, of The Mix). Cara was joined by Liz Searle, CEO of Keech Hospice Care which recently completed a merger with Bedford Daycare Hospice.
Cara and Liz discussed the lessons they have learned from being part of charity merger projects and lead an in-depth question and answer session.
Held under Chatham House rules, no recording was made, but we have summarised below some of the key points related to the main merger topics discussed.
How do charity leaders feel about mergers?
The word cloud highlights some of the main thoughts and topics raised by the charity leaders attending the round table.
What are the main benefits of a merger?
There are quite a few benefits to merging charities, but the main one is the opportunity to deliver service improvements to beneficiaries.
- Service improvements for beneficiaries
- Greater profile and voice for campaigns
- Funding diversity
- Improved talent pool
- Economies of scale and back-office savings
- Geographical scale or reach
- Retaining/winning contracts
- Service innovation
- A good strategic option for growth and development.
Lessons learned from being part of a merger process
- Be positive
- Strong personalities are needed to effectively manage the transition to a new culture and brand
- Keep up constant staff communication – if you can’t say anything tell them when you can. Give them clear ‘Reasons to Believe’ and constantly reiterate them
- Don’t underestimate the legal and due diligence processes
- Make sure that you take everybody with you – Don’t assume that everyone is aligned and motivated
- The legal process can take a very long time
- Working with the Charity Commission can be time consuming
- Try to integrate as rapidly as possible – no-one likes things dragging on
- Something is bound to go wrong so don’t stress about it
- Keep focused after the merger to ensure a smooth completion – the process doesn’t stop on that day!
You can download Cara’s slides here.