The recent launch of Eastside Primetimer’s Good Merger Index for 2020-21, shines a light on the first year of the pandemic and how the social sector began to respond.
The rising number of smaller organisations involved in mergers would indicate that those with limited options for mitigating the effect of financial stress and rising demand, continue to seek safe harbour for their services and beneficiaries. Meanwhile, larger organisations, better able to weather the storm, appear to have stopped or deferred more complex merger activity.
What the GMI case studies and launch panel discussion clearly show is that with clear strategic focus and commitment, merger and wider partnership working remains a key route to improving sustainability and delivering impact for beneficiaries.
In a wide ranging and lively Q&A delegates discussed the culture of merger and how to take staff, volunteers and wider stakeholders on a journey that requires strategic vision and the ability to put beneficiary benefit at the heart of the everything we do. We discussed the crucial role of boards and questioned how often they formally consider merger and partnership as part of their strategic thinking and governance, or whether mission and commitment can create a ‘pride’ barrier. And then the practicalities of resourcing merger activity and whether funders could play a more structural role in collaboration in the sector.
Chris Wright, CEO of Catch22 perhaps summed it up when he said that “our sector doesn’t have a monopoly on compassion; the private sector on efficiency; or the public sector on integrity – together we can make a difference to peoples’ lives. So, if you start from the position of what’s right for beneficiaries, you end up with the right answer”.
Watch the webinar below: