A new research report, commissioned by Social Investment Business and written by Eastside Primetimers, examines mergers in the charity and social enterprise sector.
Over the past five years, detailed research into the sector by Eastside Primetimers with the Good Merger Index has provided a clear picture of a sector not yet able to harness the potential demonstrated by the rare mergers we have seen.
Our aim from the outset of this new work with SIB was to uncover what practical and knowledge-related barriers are preventing VCSEs from pursuing mergers with greater confidence. This is essential for understanding how support can best be structured to address their real needs.
The report features detailed research and engagement with Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) leaders, social investors and grant-making foundations to reveal a clear picture of a sector not yet able to harness the potential of mergers due to various constraints.
The research summary looks at key findings in the following areas:
- The various motivations for mergers
- The attitudinal and board-level barriers to merger that must be overcome before mergers can even be explored
- The financial barriers to successful mergers
- The types of support charity chief executives would find most useful and how a specific programme – if structured appropriately – could help organisations considering merger.
Finally, the report highlights the need for some kind of Pathfinder programme to overcome the obstacles to charity merger and draw attention to good practice around mergers and the potential of pursuing broader restructure and recovery work.