Jo DeBolt, a partner at LaPiana Consulting, recently penned a blog post about nonprofit merger myths. I appreciated what she had to say partly because it touched on information I’ve collected over the past few years of the many ways that organizations who serve clients (people and animals) can find ways to be more effective and efficient.
Jo covers the topic well and reminds us that mergers are not a one-size-fits-all strategy. I’m going to use this space to share my knowledge—and random thoughts—gained through experience, observations and from others. As you will likely note, the concepts are not mutually exclusive. An idea listed for one segment may very well work for another.
Animal welfare groups could take advantage of price discounts for medical supplies, food, leashes, bowls, bedding and more.
Child-care centers could save funds through joint purchasing of food service, arts & crafts supplies, nap mats, books, audio tapes and playground equipment.
Performing arts organizations could benefit from ticket kiosks or a one-stop website for all ticketing.
Sports groups could benefit from a central location for all sporting facilities, events and tickets; bulk purchasing of bats, balls, uniforms, gloves, bases, footballs, tennis balls, tennis rackets, golf balls, etc.
Community-wide examples that could serve all sectors.
Education and awareness campaigns— for example, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Organizations in this space might consider jointly developing educational forums for awareness and outreach.
Marketing—small arts and culture organizations might consider joint marketing for greater visibility.
Volunteer Recruitment/Training/Appreciation—how many organizations take the time to adequately recruit, train and appreciate volunteers? Joint efforts here could greatly pay off.
Advocacy—this is gaining traction among human services organizations in my home town-- how about yours?
Data—develop and share same set of statistics. Unsexy, but oh so important. Here are a few examples of using data together:
- demand for spay/neuter services for feral populations
- demand/supply for individuals and families on the brink of homelessness
- determine population and sub-populations of homelessness and sharing the same software
- demographic trends over the next five years, highlighting impact sectors
Software - if organizations use specialized software (Raiser’s Edge , ticketing, etc.) there are opportunities for economies of scale. To further get the bang for the buck, consider sharing software training costs.
Joint Events (community-wide pet adoptions; domestic violence education forums, volunteer recruitment and training)
Would animal adoptions increase if those in that space coordinated their efforts? In what ways?
- same adopted procedures and forms
- community-wide adoption fairs
- coordinated spay/neuter for feral populations
- same or similar education materials
I know there are many good examples out there and hope readers contribute to the list. What are you seeing in terms of effectiveness and efficiencies?
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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