SCNM at 25 - Enews

JULY 2012

Mergers, Strategic Alliances, and Collaborations: Six Ingredients for Success


Once a prohibited utterance in the nonprofit sector - The "M" word (Mergers), is not only becoming more common in conversation, but is also something we are learning more about. Groups such as the James Irvine Foundation, BoardSource, La Piana Consulting, and others have expanded on early experiences to understand more about strategic restructuring - including mergers, strategic alliances, and collaborations - to enable our sector to embrace options for change.


Why are we now more open to such conversation? An uncertain and volatile economy, the competitive funding environment, and dramatic cuts in government funding are upon us. The confluence of these trends are spurring a growing number of nonprofits to examine the potential of strategic alliances or mergers with other nonprofits to strengthen their organization's impact, to sustain critical services to their constituents, or sometimes in more dire circumstances, as the best means of survival!


Although new alliances are taking shape, the conditions for success are often not reviewed. Those who are helping with organizational assessment and restructuring (like the Support Center, La Piana Consulting, and others) know--from the nonprofits and funders we work with--that there are key predictors of success that go beyond the obvious criteria of a good fit between the two organizations' programming. Some of these ingredients include:

  1. Trust. There must be a high degree of trust among both organizations' leadership--if the leaders do not trust each other, the talks can fall apart quickly. Read more... 

Custom Training for Your Staff,
Board, or Grantees 

Custom Training at the Support Center brings our expertise to you, the way you want it. We offer a diverse selection of workshops customized to meet the unique needs of your staff, board, grantees or member agencies. Benefits include:

  • Team building. Training together can build consensus among teams or departments. Participants who learn together can support one another in problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Increased job satisfaction. Send a message to your staff that you are willing to invest in their success as nonprofit professionals and enhance the culture of your workplace.
  • Targeted outcomes. You get to work with the consultant in shaping the content of the workshop(s) to ensure that the outcomes match your goals.
  • More for your money. We can train up to 30 participants at a fraction of what it would cost to send them to public trainings. Read more... 
NOTES FROM THE FIELD                                                           A Summit Grows in Brooklyn
From Dart Westphal, Senior Associate at the Support Center

Dart WestphalThe Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce hosted its first-ever Nonprofit Summit just a few weeks ago in June. As an attendee and speaker, and as a supporter (that is, the Support Center as a supporter!), I was energized by the dynamic nonprofit professionals I met, the conversations in the halls, and sessions I participated in. Through those interactions, a few clear trending themes emerged:

  • The first is how eager nonprofit leaders are to learn with their peers. The organizers were originally hoping for 100 attendees for this inaugural effort, but three times that many people were there. The sessions on leadership, one that I was honored to be a part of, and the sessions on fundraising and partnership with boards were uniformly excellent (present company excluded of course). But beyond that, the attendees were clearly energized to be among friends and colleagues, away from the daily grind, but sill serving their organizations.  Read more... 


Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of NY's (NPCC) 2012 Employee Benefits Survey


If you've ever wondered what benefits to offer your employees or how you compare to other groups, you probably turned to NPCC's Employee Benefits survey results. NPCC's tri-annual survey of benefits offered to nonprofit employees is an incredibly important and useful tool for nonprofit executives. If your organization has paid employees, your participation in the 2012 survey will help accurately represent what benefits nonprofits offer their employees. Please help NPCC help your organization and all New York nonprofits by completing the survey here. Surveys must be sent by July 27th. Include your email address so that you will receive a copy when the survey is published.  If you have questions contact Dan Myers ( or Marcia Brown(


Venture Philanthropy Fund and Women's Sports Foundation 


Venture Philanthropy Fund

The NYC Venture Philanthropy Fund (VPF) is a giving circle of individuals who combine their professional skills and financial contributions to support local social entrepreneurs in New York City. In 2012 VPF members voted to support unique, innovative ideas that address the arts in New York City, and they invite arts organizations with budgets under $500,000 to submit proposals for funding consideration. The one-year grant for the 2013 calendar year includes a $6,000 operational cash grant, in-kind technical assistance from VPF members and partners, and access to professional networks including, but not limited to, consulting services, donors and funding, and expanded constituencies. The deadline for applications is August 31st, 2012. For more information, please click here.  


Women's Sports Foundation

The Women's Sports Foundation is seeking proposals for its GoGirlGO! program. GoGirlGo! grants provide funding for sports/physical activity programs for girls, particularly in underserved communities, ages 5-18 in New York City. Grants of between $1,000 - $5,000 will be provided to programs that combine athletic instruction with the delivery of the GoGirlGo! curriculum. The deadline for applications is July 31st, 2012. For more information, please  

click here.  

July Tweets

We have been doing a lot of reading this summer, and here are a few articles that stood out to us. Please let us know what you found interesting on our blog.

Changing Operating Culture Leads to Turnaround for Washington Organization 

Read about how new staff management practices and other innovative ideas were able to help turn around the Young Playwrights' Theater in DC.


What to Expect Now That the Supreme Court Has Upheld Obama's Health Care Law 

 An insightful article from Nonprofit Quarterly highlighting five ways the Supreme Court decision may affect nonprofit organizations.  


7 Must-Haves for Nonprofits Planning to Scale 

Building capacity to support scaling programs is essential to success. Nonprofit expert Geri Stengel discusses seven of the best ways nonprofits can build capacity while scaling their programs.


Nonprofits Need More Help Recruiting the Right Board Members 

Rick Moyers suggests that instead of mainly focusing on helping board members better understand their roles, organizations should first focus on finding the right board members.


Support Center for Nonprofit Management
New York : 305 Seventh Ave @ 27th Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001  |  Phone: 212-924-6744

New Jersey: 185 West State Street, New Jersey State Library
Trenton, NJ 08625  |  Phone: 609-278-0482
In This Issue
- Letter from Don Crocker
-Custom Training
-A Summit Grows in Brooklyn
-NPCC 2012 Employee Benefits Survey
-Tweets for Thought
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Attention Executive Directors: You cannot afford to miss being a part of the:

American Express/Support Center Trajectory Leadership Group

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New Strategies in Grantmaking Series:

New Jersey 
Grantmakers' Strategies in a Volatile Economy


Thursday, July 12

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*networking breakfast begins at 8:30 am   





50 Asks in 50 Weeks: How to Jumpstart Your Small Development Office

Thursday, July 26
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Eisenstein's book
'50 Asks in 50 Weeks!'


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