Are you a leader of a nonprofit/social impact organization or thinking of starting one? If so, the following information will be of interest. While in the midst of a pandemic, many leaders had to quickly shift their thoughts to the devastating impact it has caused their organization.
What critical services must be provided and how?
What is our core mission and service to the community?
How can we keep our doors open?
Other social impact leaders have reevaluated the opportunity to develop collaborative partnerships with like-minded organizations others have considered the possibility of a merger. While these are tough decisions, here are words of wisdom that were shared with me - “make it about business and not personal.” When it is personal it is about you and your leadership. When it is a business decision, it is about expanding the visibility of your organization and the much needed serves that are provided to individuals and families who need a helping hand, and your community investors.
Take a deeper look and reimagine your organization (established or new) with these questions:
What services do you provide or want to provide?
What is your measurable impact?
Is another organization providing similar services that your organization is/will provide?
If so, can you collaborate to find ways to expand this service and make the impact even stronger?
Is it time to consider merging with another organization as a way to improve efficiencies and effectiveness.?
The possible increases in efficiencies and effectiveness would include but not limited to increased relevance and strengthening of your voice throughout the community, and if not immediate, over time receiving financial gains. In addition to the ability to increase the strength of your Board of Directors.
As you begin to give these thoughts room to germinate, surround yourself with the right resources which includes data and people.
Who are the key players that you need at the table: Staff, Board Members, Community Stakeholders, Major Donors, etc.
It is important to be open to rich conversation so you can consider the opportunities and obstacles. As you begin to move forward during these uncertain times to strengthen your organization, make sure your conversations are also richly data-driven.
What is the measurable impact of your program(s)?
What is the measurable impact if/when you move toward collaborative or merger conversations?
As tough as these conversations might be to consider, the flip-side perhaps could be even more devastating. The extreme outcome may cause you to close your organization, which impacts your team, the community, and that critical service(s) you provided to individuals in need. If you merge with another organization, your role could conceivably change but the life-changing impact you provided to so many will still be available!
As in the beginning, I want to leave you with words of encouragement: “Make it a business decision, not a personal decision”; do your research; have the right diversified individuals at the table and make it data rich! Best wishes and much success during these uncertain times.
Pam Bryant is a Senior Consultant with The Macfarlan Group. She recently served the United Way of Williamson County as the President and CEO.