Navigation Begin
Content Begin

    Driving Trends:
    Mergers, Acquisitions and Strategic Alliances

    Fifty per cent of Directors of not-for-profit social services said in the past year they have discussed the possibility of a merger. About a quarter of these organisations are expecting a merger to happen within the next two years.
    (NFP Governance & Performance Survey, 2014. Australian Institute of Company Directors - AICD)

    About this page.

    The following lists are articles, resources and links to websites that may be of interest. Click on the heading to open link.WACOSS will keep updating this page as more resources become available.  If you have any suggestions, please send to  We are keen to add a wide range of views including more articles on why not to merge and perspectives from smaller organisations.

    Why mergers, acquisitions and strategic alliances? 

    Currently, there are a number of State and Commonwealth government reforms driving significant changes for not for profit community service organisations.  The most recent is the Commonwealth Government’s Productivity Commission Report where there is a move  towards an individualised funding model and the State Government’s Delivery of Community Sector Partnership Policy (DCSP) procurement reforms which is moving the community services sector into a competitive tendering process. In order for community services organisations to have future viability and sustainability, mergers, acquisition and/or a strategic alliances, may well be a necessary way forward.

    According to a survey of community services sector organisations around Australia, many community service organisations have merged, or are seriously considering or preparing for a merger (AICD, 2014).  Despite this, there are still many community service organisations  (especially small and medium sized ones) who have their 'head in the sand' about this topic, or who have significant and understandable reservations and concerns.  

    However, the wisdom by many experts and experienced leaders in the sector is that it is vital that community services organisations have seriously considered merging as a strategic option; are prepared for a request to merge or ready to ask another to merger; and are clear why merging or not merging, is in the best interest of their organisation and the community and people they serve.   There are many compelling reasons why merging may not be a good idea, however, it is always important that Boards have actually discussed the matter.  Alternatively a Strategic Alliance (where there is no significant restructure and relatively lower risk), should also be considered as a way of meeting strategic objectives and testing possibilities for a merger with another organisation with like-minded mission and values.

    Mergers and other forms of restructuring can be complex, daunting and at times risky.  However there are many examples of successful mergers in WA, Australia and Internationally, whose union has made a significant and exciting difference to their mission.

    It is therefore vital that both leaders and board members deepen their knowledge and understanding of what is involved in mergers or restructuring; identify the risks and benefits;  and are fully aware of what is involved in operationalising a merger successfully, so that the planning is adequate, well resourced and effective.  

    In December 2014, WACOSS began  discussions and knowledge sharing on this topic with its Breakfast Forum and Workshop (see below for more information).   WACOSS intends to continue to offer more learning opportunities and conversations on this topic in 2015.  So please come back to this page, or keep an eye on our WACOSS Training & Events for coming scheduled events on this topic. 

    A Workshop for Boards on M&A

    WACOSS offers a 3 hour In-house workshop on mergers and acquisitions and strategic alliances. This can be delivered at a time and place suitable for your Board.  This workshop provides an excellent opportunity to get your board thinking strategically about the options.  The session is delivered by an experienced consultant.  Many boards have already found this session to be extremely valuable. To ask for a quote or to discuss your needs, please contact WACOSS  on 9420 7222 or email


    Australian Resources & Links

    Driving Trends: Breakfast Forum & Workshop on Mergers, Acquisition and Strategic Alliances, Presentations
    Perth, 3rd December 2014. –A partnership between WACOSS and Jackson McDonald.

    Mergers, Alliances and Related Strategies – A Winston Churchill Study
    Written by Chris Hall, 2009

    Uniting The Mission – The story of the merger and creation of UnitingCare West
    Book by Marilyn Beresford - to purchase book click here.

    NFP Mergers, Amalgamations & Change Management  – Current State of NFP World  - April 15, 2014
    Michael Goldsworthy, Australian Strategic Services, Australia.

    NFP Governance and Performance Study – 2014, Aus
    (See Chapter 15: Collaboration and Mergers on the Agenda)
    Australian Institute of Company Directors. AICD

    Critical Issues for NFP Directors 2015 and Beyond
    Based on the NFP Governance and Performance Study - Sept 2014

    International Resources & Links 

    How to merge or link charities - tool kit  
    Charity Commission, United Kingdom, website, 2014
    Includes advantages & limitations, checklists, case study’s

    The Good Merger Guide – For charities and other civil society organisations, 2012, UK
    By Prospectus and East Side

    What place for mergers between charities? – UK, 2009

    By New Philanthropy Capital (NPC)

    Merging Wisely article
    Stanford Social Innovation Review website page
    By David La Pana, No: 8, 2010

    Nonprofit M&A: More Than a Tool for Tough Times – Feb 2009, USA

    By Alexander Cortez, William Foster and Katie Smith Milway.
    Bridgespan Group

    Mergers & Collaborations –Blog Posts & Case Studies - USA

    The Bridgespan Group – Nonprofit group – Collaborating to Accelerate Social Impact