Merging Ahead, Increase Speed: A Pilot of Funder-Driven Nonprofit Restructuring

Robert L. Fischer, Diwakar Vadapalli, Claudia Coulton


Nonprofit agencies face increasing competition for scarce funding resources. Many agencies are considering ways to restructure themselves, often via mergers and acquisitions, as a way to become more effective and competitive. This case study examines a pilot initiative in Cleveland, Ohio, in which philanthropic funders invited and supported nonprofits in the pursuit of significant restructuring efforts. Health and human service nonprofits were recruited into a three-phase facilitated pilot that assisted the agency executive directors and boards in determining what type of restructuring was feasible and desirable. Overall, 75 nonprofits participated in some part of the pilot, 17 of which formally explored a restructuring opportunity within the pilot year, and eight of which ultimately consolidated. The study highlights key learnings from the initiative and the implications for the nonprofit sector in the promotion of restructuring discussions.


Merger; Nonprofit Restructuring

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