With the economy in turmoil, funders are increasingly pressuring nonprofits to merge. Yet mergers are not always the right path for nonprofits in financial distress. For a healthier nonprofit sector, funders should consider a wider variety of partnership options.

from The Stanford Social Innovation Review:

Merging Wisely

Now 2010 is upon us, and the urge to merge shows no signs of abating. Underlying this trend are two core beliefs: The nonprofit sector has too many organizations, and most nonprofits are too small and are therefore inefficient. Mergers, the thinking goes, would reduce the intense competition for scarce funding. Consolidating organizations would also introduce economies of scale to the sector, increasing efficiency and improving effectiveness.

Yet a closer look at the nonprofit sector suggests that this thinking is too simplistic. Mergers are risky business. They sometimes fail, although not so frequently as in the corporate world. They usually cost more than anticipated. They sometimes create more problems than they solve. And the problems that they allegedly solve – too many nonprofits, too small in size – may not be problems after all.