By Hayes Knight – 26 September 2012

Collaboration, co-ordination, co-operation, efficiency, effectiveness, consolidation, merging. These are concepts that have all been tossed around in the Not for Profit (NFP) sector over many years. But what do they actually mean, what is required to make it happen and why should this concept be a strategic issue right now for our sector?

In 2010/11 Bonnie Robinson had the privilege of leading a merger of two independent Alzheimers organisations in Auckland, Alzheimers Auckland (AA) and Alzheimers Counties Manukau (ACM). The Alzheimers experience of merging, although still quite new, has been, overall, very positive. Bonnie Robinson reports on the outcomes:

  • Stronger governance

With two Boards merging, we were able to get the best of both Boards and attract new people with skills required to the Board.

  • Increased number of service delivery staff

We were able to increase the number of front line staff by 5 – for the same total budget as previously.

  • Doubling of aspects of service delivery

When we merged and restructured roles, we were able to release capacity that more than doubled the number of carers education courses we were able to run. Merging doubled our service delivery – for the same overall budget.

  • Stronger management structure

Previously both organisations had management structure that they could afford – rather than one that made sense. With the merger we were able to look at what the organisation really needed.

  • Financially stronger

We were able, with same budget, to hire in a second fundraiser, and therefore increase our potential to raise funds, plus now that we were Auckland wide there were better opportunities for corporate sponsorship.

  • More robust organisation with greater potential to continue to grow

Generally Alzheimers became a stronger, and better able to manage any changes that might be coming.

So if merging is such good news why don’t we all merge? Alzheimers merger has been good news, but mergers or collaborations are not simple, easy or cost free process. However, the case study shows that they can be achieved, and what is required to do so. Download the full case study.

For more information on the merger please contact Bonnie Robinson on 09 538 0804.