More charities should merge to fulfil their mission

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A third sector think tank has said too many charities put survival ahead of mission 

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20th April 2018 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

More charities should merge in order to achieve their charitable purposes, a leading think tank has said.

A new report from New Philanthropy Capital suggests charities too often consider their own surivival ahead of their mission. 

Merging with other organisations is seen as negative when in reality its is a powerful tool to achieve organisations' social purposes, say the authors.

Responsible charity trustees and leaders should regularly think about merging with other charities says the report, Let's Talk Mission and Merger

It says charities that have merged, shared back office staff or used white labelling models (when a charity provides services under another charity banner) have achieved more for their service users.

The move has also made organisations more sustainable and improved their offer to service users.

NPC says the barriers to working together are people, finance and risk, and environment.

Dan Corry, chief executive of NPC, said: “NPC exists to try and improve the impact of the charity and non-profit sector. We do this by working with many charities and funders, to try to get them to focus on allocating their voluntary income and labour in the best way to achieve social good.

“Perhaps the hardest element of our efforts is to get charities to understand that mission should trump organisation, and that if their cause is what drives them, then sometimes the best solution is to work very closely with another charity, even to the extent of fully merging.”

The report also recommends more informal partnership models, such as that announced by two of Scotland’s biggest social care charities, Enable Scotland and Sense Scotland, earlier this month.

They announced they will share innovation, property and resources in an overarching group structure to enable them to reach more disabled people throughout Scotland.

In a joint statement, their chief executives Andy Kerr and Theresa Shearer said: “By bringing two strong charities together, we will accelerate change and improvement for disabled people, and for the dedicated staff who care for them.

“Ultimately, we are doing this to help share the cost of continuing to deliver quality care and support to those who need it in their own homes.”

NPC is calling on funders to support mergers more actively by, for example, not reducing funding to charities that merge.

It is also urging trustees to prioritise charity mission over organisational survival, and all third sector leaders to start to view mergers as a badge of honour, demonstrating a successful outcome of strategic thinking, rather than a failure.