There are many reasons why voluntary sector organisations decide to work together. It could be to achieve a similar aim, jointly working on a specific campaign, or to save costs.
You need to be aware of the potential advantages and risks associated with working with another organisation before you take any decisions. Each organisation should undertake their own risk assessment and seek professional advice before entering into an agreement with another. Outlined below are some of the issues to take into consideration:
- reduced costs for both organisations
- improved services, avoids duplication
- strength in numbers
- access to new and/or increased service users
- shared risk
- shared knowledge
- damage to your reputation
- confusing to users and other stakeholders
- wasted time and resources
- liability, if things go wrong
- decision making becomes more complicated
- resistance to change
Thinking about Merger?
The Institute for Voluntary Action Research have produced a guide Thinking about Merger during Covid 19 for senior staff and trustees of small and medium-sized voluntary organisations, bringing together the experiences of a wide variety of voluntary organisations and advisers that have contemplated or carried out merger to highlight different dimensions of ‘thinking about merger’. It covers: Reasons for thinking about merger, Stages in the merger process, What makes a successful merger? A collaboration spectrum.
Different methods of collaboration
Here are some of the main ways in which voluntary sector organisations can work together:
- separate organisations working together on activities or functions
- organisations with expertise or resources offering help to other organisations
- new organisation created to carry out joint work on activities or functions
- group structure, parent organisation governs subsidiary organisations
- merger into a completely new organisation.