Nonprofit mergers: An economic necessity? [Updated]

Yesterday’s Boston Globe reports that, for nonprofits, mergers are an increasingly popular response to a contracting economy. After all, consolidation is such a dominant theme in other sectors, why should we be immune? And at very least, shouldn’t proposals for new nonprofits should be discouraged? And a recent Bridgespan study found that well planned (i.e., not borne out of a crisis) mergers help agencies serve more clients and reduce per-client costs.

So how the heck do we justify bringing a Springfield Institute into the world? Glad you asked.

  1. The Springfiled Institute is designed as a recession-busting consolidation strategy of sorts, providing a centralized resource for research and analysis, and precluding the need for individual community organizations to maintain as much internal capacity (see “About“).
  2. It’s a zero-sum proposition. The Springfield Institute is really a transformation of a nonprofit that already exists (Policy Development).
  3. There’s no obvious “competitor” in Springfield. 
  4. Boston Foundation president, Paul Grogan, who is quoted in the article explaining that the increase in the number of nonprofits “is cause for serious concern,” is also a Springfield Institute enthusiast. 

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